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Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship 2018 Students

Mehera Baugher

Mehera Baugher
Community Area: Bridgeport
Internship placement: McCormick Place Rooftop and Patchwork Farms

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
I was looking to change careers. Growing vegetables on my roof and in my backyard had started as a hobby and became a passion. The experience of planting seeds, watching them grow, tending the plants ,and then harvesting was transformative. Growing my own food and sharing it with friends, family, and neighbors has changed how I look at life and my own ability to do something authentic for people and the environment. The apprenticeship offered a mix of classroom instruction and hands-on training, plus an introduction to a huge network of urban farmers and organizations in Chicago.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I hope to go on working in the urban agriculture field. One day I hope to have my own business.

Sarah Bender

Sarah Bender
Community Area: Boystown
Internship placement: City Farm

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
 I caught the farming bug by helping a friend start her small organic farm in rural Indiana. The apprenticeship program would help me build my growing skills and give me knowledge relevant to a career in sustainable agriculture here in Chicago. The city is a big place and can be overwhelming!

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I hope to secure sustainable employment in the field, perhaps first in a production/business capacity, then once I’ve gained more farming experience, in education and workforce development. I’ve been a cook and nutrition advocate for many years and look forward to being a resource in all aspects of sustainable food production.

Eric Boughton

Eric Boughton
Community Area: Washington Park
Internship placement: Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Renewable Living

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
I wanted to pursue a career in horticulture and Windy City Harvest was the ideal program.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I want to run my own business and be able to give something back to the community that surrounds the area I’m living in.

Chef Mel Carter

Chef Mel Carter
Community Area: Bronzeville
Internship placement: Patchwork Farm

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
I want to have an influence on changing the food map in my community and getting my community healthier. Living in a “food desert”, there are few options for fresh produce and other healthy food choices. My hope is to turn the “food desert” into a “food oasis.” I’d like to know that I was the influence that changed lifestyles, encouraged people to grow their own food, and impacted my community in a positive way.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I hope to teach children gardening and show them how to use the food that is grown in cooking or recipes that I create. I also want to enroll in the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Horticultural Therapy Certificate course and focus specifically on my fellow veterans who are disabled/suffering from PTSD.

Riley_Finnegan Carrion

Riley Finnegan-Carrion
Community Area: Mt. Greenwood
Internship placement: Rodeo Farm

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
I didn’t want to go to college, but wanted to learn about farming and have a hands-on experience.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I hope to one day have my own farm and possibly my own restaurant in Oregon.

Aniki Coates

Aniki Coates
Community Area: Oak Park
Internship placement: Legends Farm

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
I applied to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship to become the change that I desired to see. I look at obtaining my certification in sustainable urban agriculture as receiving very intentional weapons training. It is part of my arsenal to claim war against the effects of poverty. My heart is for helping disparaged, low-income communities to fight against the ailments of poverty: preventable diseases, lack of healthy food, resources, jobs, industry, and, truly, a growing lack of hope and answers. It was important to me to have proper training in methodologies, systems, and practices that would allow me to be effective, knowledgeable, and prepared to manage a sustainable urban farm. I needed careful study, long-term investigation under the tutelage of subject-matter experts through a complete farming season. Windy City Harvest is well-respected in the urban ag community, nation-wide, and has invested in attaining staff and resources to ensure that it strategically cultivates and builds the capacity of its graduates.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I intend to continue my studies through Windy City Harvest in business and entrepreneurship to create a workforce development program for youth and adults focused on environmental literacy and stewardship, urban agriculture, social entrepreneurship, and agribusiness. It is also my intention to continue to teach culinary arts and food literacy, as a chef, and urban agriculture, as a beginning farmer, with an emphasis on closing the gap between food available and food required as it pertains to the disparities in impoverished neighborhoods experiencing food apartheid/insecurity.

Leonel Gutierrez

Leonel Gutierrez
Community Area: Irving Park/Albany Park
Internship placement: Rodeo Farm

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
Because I believe the dreams we cultivate today will be the reality for future generations to harvest.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I want to help advocate for those who have limited access to nutrient-dense food, while continuing the progress of the mission of sustainable urban agriculture in Chicago.

Julia Helms

Julia Helms
Community Area: West Town
Internship placement: Legends Farm

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
I wanted to follow my dream of becoming a farmer! I have always had a passion for growing good and wanted to transform a hobby into a career.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I hope to have a career in sustainable agriculture that positively impacts the environment as well as addresses and works to end food insecurity. I also wish to one day own my own farm!

Olivia Helms

Olivia Helms
Community Area: Avondale
Internship placement: Growing Home

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
I applied so I could further my education about Chicago agriculture and gain more skills both with farm training and community development, as well as networking for a career in this field.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I hope to help restore local food systems and be a tool for marginalized Chicago communities.

Kimberly Jones

Kimberly Jones
Community Area: Austin
Internship placement: North Lawndale Youth Farm

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
I applied to the Windy City Harvest program because I have always had an interested in learning to grow my own food. After volunteering at the PCC Garden, I knew the Apprenticeship was the right move for me.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I hope to be able to return to my teaching career and start a gardening program at my school.

Amanda Kritt

Amanda Kritt
Community Area: West Town
Internship placement: Washington Park Youth Farm

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
As a registered dietician, many conversations we have with clients or community members are negative, because people don’t like to talk about eating healthy or changing eating habits. In order to make that conversation more positive and fun, I want to help clients and community members connect with their food and take part in growing fresh, local produce. In order to do this, I need to gain more knowledge about urban agriculture and learn to farm.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
Work in or run my own youth farm and/or expand the farm to school programs.

Shanquell London

Shanquell London
Community Area: South Loop
Internship placement: Arturo Velasquez Institute

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
I applied to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship program to expand my knowledge in sustainable urban agriculture.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I hope to use my Windy City Harvest education to gather more experience and spread the awareness of growing what you eat.

Sheena Richardson

Sheena Richardson
Community Area: Greater Grand Crossing

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
I enjoy farming and witnessed firsthand the impact growing local, safe produce was having in my life and the lives of those we market to and wanted to further my education in urban agriculture.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I would love to start a foundation for underprivileged youth.

Lawrence Riley

Lawrence Riley
Community Area: Gresham/Englewood
Internship placement: McCormick Place

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
To learn how to grow sustainable plants properly.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I plan to start an incubator and grow sustainable agriculture. My goal is to own land and farm on it for the rest of my life. I want to network with my fellow apprentices; there’s strength in numbers.

Vincent E Wilmes

Vincent E Wilmes
Community Area: Near West Side
Internship placement: Arturo Velasquez Institute

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
There are so many reasons. I interned at the Chicago Botanic Garden last summer. I was a participant in the pilot for the Veteran Internship Program. As a veteran who was struggling professionally, the Garden gave me an opportunity that was unavailable to me before I met Nancy Luck and Alicia Green. I left that internship with the desire to get my hands in the ground, soil, and dirt. I consider myself a public servant, and I ultimately applied to grow veggies for my friends, family, and neighbors so I can cultivate health for my community.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I want to master fundamental production gardening skills. I want to master fundamental business skills. I want to gain these skills in order to grow my entrepreneurial career, to build wealth, and to teach entrepreneurship by production gardening to my fellow citizens.

Ramon Vivas

Ramon Vivas
Community Area: Ravenswood

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
I applied for the program to embark on a new career path in sustainable farming and horticulture. It is very important to know where and how our fruits and vegetables are grown and we (our community) need healthier choices. I am also interested in seeking solutions in horticultural research to enhance health and quality of life for my family and community. I am also interested in the gardening/landscaping mixture of herbal flowers, trees, and native plants to enhance common areas in my community for people to visit, unplug from daily routines, and connect with nature.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I hope that going through this program will prepare me for a variety of careers. I would love to be working at a native conservatory, botanic garden, arboretum, or place with flowers. There are many opportunities to work in Chicago and the surrounding neighborhoods. Additionally, I will continue my education goals in the field and obtain a degree or more certificates for future employment.

Joseph Wortell

Joseph Wortell
Community Area: Austin
Internship placement: PCC Wellness Farm

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship program?
I applied to the Windy City Harvest program to demystify the process of growing healthy, natural food. I think that all humans should know where food comes from and how it is grown. I felt Windy City Harvest was the opportunity to learn this.

What do you hope to do with your WCH Education in the future?
I’m still seeing where this all will take me. I have loose plans to turn three lots I purchased into a farm and farm-stand/CSA, but right now I’m just focusing on learning and being in the moment.

Alonzo Zollicoffer

Alonzo Zollicoffer
Community Area: Garfield Park
Internship placement: Heartland Alliance, Chicago Farmworks

Why did you apply to the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship Program?
I needed a job and I wanted to learn about farming.

What do you hope to do with your Windy City Harvest education in the future?
I want to take my farming skills and get a job in urban agriculture.