Windy City Harvest Staff
Associate Vice President, Community Engagement, and Senior Director, Windy City Harvest
In more than 12 years with the Chicago Botanic Garden, Angela Mason has grown the urban farming/Windy City Harvest program from one site to 13 throughout Cook and Lake Counties. She has managed Windy City Harvest from its second year through the development of the certificate program with the City Colleges of Chicago, developed a transitional jobs program and a partnership with the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, and developed the incubator farm program, supported by the USDA. Mason administers the sustainable urban agriculture training and production programs, manages federal and state funding for these programs, and directs a staff of 15 full-time and 64 seasonal and part-time employees, including interns and justice-involved youth participants. She regularly evaluates and enhances programs, adapts curricula, pursues expanded partnerships, develops job opportunities, investigates new marketing and business opportunities, and works with allies in urban agriculture to address food security issues within Chicago and beyond. Mason is a certified National Foundation for Teaching Young Entrepreneurs instructor and has served as an adjunct faculty member at Harold Washington College. She has been honored as an Environmental Hero by the lieutenant governor of Illinois. Mason serves on the board of OAI, Inc., and was recently appointed by the governor to the Illinois Workforce Investment Board. Mason graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelor of science in plant and soil science and a master of science in plant, soil, and general agriculture.
Health and Special Contracts Director
Eliza Fournier has served the Chicago Botanic Garden in the Windy City Harvest department for 20 years. Every year, she helps more than 500 people connect with plants through the food they eat. As Health and Special Contracts Director, she oversees the Veggie Rx program, along with representing the Chicago Botanic Garden in local and national efforts to promote urban agriculture. Fournier earned her bachelor's degree in environmental studies from Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois, and her master's degree in public affairs from Indiana University, where she concentrated in urban management.
Director of Operations
Kelly Larsen joined the Windy City Harvest team in 2008 as a Windy City Harvest Corps crew leader. She currently oversees eight acres of production and operations at 12 farm sites, as well as the Windy City Harvest Corps transitional jobs and Farmer Incubator programs. She has a degree in environmental studies from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago and is a certified Roots of Success Environmental Literacy instructor and TreeKeeper. Larsen is a produce safety alliance and GAPS-certified grower, and ServSafe manager. She is a member of the Chicago Jobs Council, National Incubator Farmer Training Initiative, and National Food Hub Network. Previously, Larsen worked with The Talking Farm and Gethsemane Garden Center. Larsen is honored to be a part of creating access to sustainable food-system employment and seeing the amazing work Windy City Harvest graduates continue to do after completing their programs.
Maria Anderson joined the Windy City Harvest family in 2019 as a volunteer for Corp Job Club and is now the Kitchen Coordinator at Farm On Ogden. Her experience as an entrepreneur and graduate of Le Cordon Bleu help her maintain the shared use kitchen space, train teammates in kitchen use and kitchen skills and create value added products for the market at Farm On Ogden. Outside of this role, Maria runs her business, Thee Chef Maria educating families on easy ways to take control of their diets and mental health through cooking demonstrations, plant forward meals and classes. She is a Certified Food Protection Manager trained in HACCP preparation as well as a member of the United States Personal Chef Association and The American Culinary Federation. Maria also partnered with the Chicago Inclusive Growth Coalition and Small Business Majority to develop the Inclusive Growth Toolkit for Business Service Organizations: Standard Outcomes and Recommended Metrics to support equitable small business growth in Chicago. When she’s not working you can find her enjoying life off screen with her family, reading a book, tending to her small garden and practicing Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.
Rafael Arredondo completed the Apprenticeship program in 2010; previously, he had worked in the steel industry. Arredondo officially joined the team as a staff member in 2011 to install the Kraft Corporate Campus garden, which he coordinated for three years. He then went on to run the Rodeo Farm for two years. Currently, he can be found checking in on production at any of the 13 farm sites, turning compost, and whistling at early hours in the greenhouse to classic rock. He also runs his own business called Frances' Edible Landscaping.
Melanie Bromberek is a graduate of the 2015 Apprenticeship and has been working alongside Windy City Harvest ever since. As a Sales Coordinator, she handles accounting and reporting for the department, harvests at the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden, and oversees kitchen operations at Farm on Ogden. Before joining the Windy City Harvest staff in 2017, she was an incubator farmer and owner of Petrichor Culinary Garden. She has certificates in Urban Agriculture, Season Extension, Business & Entrepreneurship for Local Foods, and Value Added Products from Windy City Harvest, and a degree in secondary education from DePaul University. She is also a Produce Safety Alliance Certified Grower, a University of Illinois Extension GAP Certified Grower, ServSafe Manager and is a Quickbooks Online Certified ProAdvisor.
Veggie Rx Manager
Britt Calendo is the VeggieRx manager for Windy City Harvest. VeggieRx is Windy City Harvest's prescription produce program. In this role, she helps to organize and run VeggieRx distributions with Lawndale Christian Health Center, Loyola Medicine, and PCC Community Wellness.
Calendo joined the Chicago Botanic Garden in 2014, working at Rodeo Farm as a Harvest Corps crew leader. From 2014 – 18, Calendo worked as the PCC Austin Farm coordinator, where she helped to build out and run a farm in collaboration with PCC Community Wellness. PCC Austin Farm's goal is to increase access to affordable and naturally grown produce in Austin through a weekly farm stand, health education, and an allotment garden. Calendo has a master’s degree in social work and is excited about mixing her background in social work and public health with sustainable urban agriculture.
PCC Austin and Kenneth Farm Grower
Dantrell Dehart grew up in the North Lawndale community and has worked in urban agriculture for more than five years, including work with Gotham Greens, Herban Produce, and Urban Growers Collective. He is a 2016 graduate of the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship program and currently is the grower for the PCC Austin and Kenneth Farms. He is passing along his growing talents to his daughter, who comes with him to farm at least once a week.
Food Hub Assistant
Reynaldo Engram is a lifelong Lawndale resident who is passionate about raising self-awareness. He enjoys meeting new people and mentoring in the neighborhood. He is a Windy City Harvest 2016 Corps and 2017 Apprenticeship graduate, and certified in sustainable agriculture. He loves to help others, grow food, and represent Windy City Harvest. Engram is certified in Good Agricultural Practices (Illinois Extension), ServSafe handling, and CPR. He was previously the Hilton Grower, managing a rooftop farm for farm-to-table niche vegetable and edible flower production. He currently oversees the day-to-day operations for the Farm on Ogden retail space, greenhouse, living wall, aquaponics production, and building maintenance, ensuring that everything is running smoothly.
Windy City Harvest
Riley Finnegan has always loved plants and has a great passion for houseplants. She grew up in the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood of Chicago and attended the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. After graduation, she enrolled in the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship program, where she honed her growing skills. For the past two seasons, she has been the lead grower for the rooftop farm on McCormick Place, where she grows hundreds of pounds of vegetables and keeps honey bees while overlooking the Chicago skyline.
Youth Farm Manager
Kate Gannon joined Windy City Harvest in September 2012 as a candidate for a master’s degree in social work from Loyola University, Chicago. Kate is a licensed social worker and certified Roots of Success instructor. During her time at Windy City Harvest, she has worked across many of our educational programs. In her current role as Youth Farm manager, Kate supports our staff and student-farmers in Waukegan, North Lawndale, Washington Park, and downtown Chicago.
Lake County Youth Farm Coordinator
Marina Garcia has been with the Chicago Botanic Garden since 2012, wearing different hats throughout her tenure. Marina started in Windy City Harvest as a student at the Green Youth Farm in Lake County. There she was a crew member for two years, and a crew leader for two years. She earned her associate’s degree in sustainable agriculture at the College of Lake County. Marina has worked with Science First in Lake County and at the Green Youth Farm in Lake County as an intern. She coordinated the Junior Green Youth Farm at the Roberti Community House, worked in grounds and horticulture at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and is now serving as the coordinator of the Green Youth Farm in Lake County. She is ecstatic to teach youth, and has a special place in her heart for the program that changed her life completely. She spends time reading up on food systems, has become a bird-watcher, loves to write poetry about nature, and loves kayaking.
Ketaurah James started her journey with Windy City Harvest in the Youth Farm program in 2009. During her time at the North Lawndale Youth Farm she learned the value of urban agriculture, and how food access directly affects her and her neighborhood. Early on, she knew that this was something she was very passionate about and wanted to promote a healthier lifestyle for everyone. Ketaurah now works as the VeggieRx Coordinator, helping to distribute fresh vegetables to communities like her own, which have experienced disinvestment in food access. Ketaurah takes pride in being a part of a small stepping-stone for participants changing their eating habits. She hopes to continue to help people reach their goals for themselves and their community.
Paul Krysik is a Chicago native. While working on a bachelor's degree in law and environmental studies at Oberlin College, he became involved in local food policy and practice. He began organic farming in Ohio and then moved on to a two-year fellowship at the Allegheny Mountain Institute. In early 2015, Paul joined the Windy City Harvest team as a Harvest Corps crew leader for two years. Then he coordinated and managed the Legends South Beginning Farmer Incubator Farm and Program. Now in his tenth season of agricultural study and practice, he instructs the Apprenticeship Program, a nine-month college accredited course for aspiring beginning farmers and local food advocates. Paul is certified as a Roots of Success instructor, G.A.P. Handler, FSMA-compliant, ServSafe Food Handler, in O.S.H.A Fall Protection, and in Windy City Harvest’s aquaponics. Paul also is on the executive board for the Chicago-based organization Advocates for Urban Agriculture.
Sales Manager, Windy City Harvest
Rosario Maldonado directly manages produce sales, distribution logistics and aggregation of harvests for all of the Windy City Harvest farm sites and participating incubator farmers from 8 acres across the South and West sides of Chicago. She is responsible for quality control and food-safety training for all staff and program participants. Her amazing sales team oversees the growing operations at Farm on Ogden, markets, plant sales, kitchen operations and internal accounting for Windy City Harvest. Maldonado holds a certificate in Sustainable Agriculture from the Chicago Botanic Garden, certificate in Good Agricultural Practices from Illinois Extension, and certificate in Local Foods and Entrepreneurship from Windy City Harvest. She is a Produce Safety Alliance Certified Grower, ServSafe Manager and Windy City Harvest Incubator Farm Program Graduate. She feels the most passionate about produce distribution through our VeggieRx program and the Food as Medicine movement.
Aquaponic Specialist, Windy City Harvest
Andy McGhee had retired before joining Windy City Harvest as a volunteer in late 2011. With a lifelong interest in biology and natural systems, and an interest in alternative uses of resources within the modern urban environment, he now focuses on alternative and experimental growing technologies that may be adapted to future urban agriculture enterprises. He designs and builds aquaponics systems for the Windy City Harvest program, and manages the daily operation of the program’s aquaponics system. McGhee teaches one-day seminars in the theory, design, and practical management of aquaponics systems as well as instructing the Windy City Harvest industry-specific certificate course in Aquaponic Production, with sessions offered in spring and fall.
Farm on Ogden Grower
Mark Osgood joined Windy City Harvest as part of the 2020 apprenticeship class. As the grower at the Farm on Ogden he makes sure the produce in our aquaponics system and on the North Lawndale Youth Farm grow big and beautiful. Mark comes to Windy City Harvest with a passion for food that started during his work in fine dining where he worked as a cook and chef for ten years. He also brings a passion for community building, labor rights, and food justice and is proud to work with an organization that is committed to these ideals.
Lawrence Riley is passionate about community-based local food system growth in Chicago. He graduated from the Windy City Harvest Corps program in 2017. He stayed on the team to graduate from the Apprenticeship program in sustainable agriculture in 2018. He also holds certifications in season extension, CPR First Aid, ServSafe handling, and is a Produce Safety Alliance certified grower. Lawrence coordinates our two-and-a-half-acre Legends South incubator farm and allotment garden program in Bronzeville. He works one-on-one with all incubator farm business owners, transitional job crew members, and apprentices on the farm, growing on a ¼-acre for wholesale and community markets. Outside of this role, he is the farm operations manager with Just Roots, a nonprofit CSA and food depository farm in Englewood. He also serves as a council member for IMAN Community Health Center in Englewood. Lawrence will be starting a partnership farm business in 2021.
Carmella holds a certificate from the Chicago Botanic Garden in Sustainable Agriculture, class of 2011. Carmella is well versed in food safety, certified in Good Agricultural Practices from Illinois Extension and as a ServSafe Manager. She currently manages the Market at Farm on Ogden. The market serves to bring access to healthy, fresh, and community driven foods in Lawndale. Carmella loves interacting with community residents and has regular customers who help drive the selections offered. Carmella is a member of the Illinois Farmers Market association and trains participants in farm stand and retail setup. When she’s not slinging vegetables at the market, you can find her admiring nature, spending time with family and going on long adventures with her dog.
Robin Whaley Smith
With more than 15 years’ experience in building relationships and managing accounts, Robin Whaley Smith serves as the Windy City Harvest Corps manager. Her experience ranges from advertising and marketing to education and the transitional jobs-training programs. Before joining the team, she worked for Johnson Publishing Company as its Central/West Coast sales manager; and as a workforce development officer at Baltimore City Community College and Arbor Education & Training LLC job programs. She leverages partnerships and collaborates with industry partners. As a member of the Chicago Job Council and NLCCC Workforce Development Council; she is eager to share her talents and resources and is most fulfilled when working with and helping others in need. She earned a bachelor's of science degree in public affairs management with a dual major in communications from Michigan State University. She enjoys cooking, gardening, spending quality time with her family and friends, traveling, attending sporting events, and being an active parent at her kid’s school.