Windy City Harvest

Britt Calendo

Britt Calendo

Program Director, Windy City Harvest             
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Britt Calendo is the program director for Windy City Harvest. In this role she oversees our Apprenticeship, Corps, and Youth Farm programs. Calendo joined the Chicago Botanic Garden in 2014, working at Rodeo Farm as a Harvest Corps crew leader. From 2014 to 2018, Calendo worked as the PCC Austin Farm coordinator, where she helped to build out and run a community farm in collaboration with PCC Community Wellness. Britt was the manager for the VeggieRx program, Windy City Harvest's prescription produce program from 2018 to 2021. Calendo has a master’s degree in social work and is excited about combining her background in social work and public health with sustainable urban agriculture. She loves to see so many of our program graduates working in the field of urban agriculture and coming back to join our Windy City Harvest team on staff.

Sam Cline

Sam Cline

Apprenticeship Instructor, Windy City Harvest             
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Sam Cline, Apprenticeship instructor, oversees all aspects of the sustainable urban agriculture apprenticeship program offered in partnership with City Colleges of Chicago. Sam provides hands-on instruction and mentorship to apprentices to support students in developing job skills to succeed in urban agriculture. Sam has a bachelor’s of science degree in water resources and soil science from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. He has a diverse background working on a family-owned CSA farm—La Casa Verde in Northern Michigan, and for the University of Wisconsin agronomy department conducting organic vegetable variety research. Sam started with Windy City Harvest in 2021, when he began as a grower for the Washington Park farm site. He went on to work with a program alumni farmer, Chicago Urban Farm Solutions, before becoming instructor of the apprenticeship program.

Samantha Creightney

Samantha Creightney

Community Education Manager, Windy City Harvest             
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Samantha Creightney was inspired to pursue a career in sustainable urban agriculture in after reading an article on food deserts and food insecurity. While completing her training at the Green Corps Chicago in 2007, Samantha wanted to teach youth how to grow food. She joined the community gardening department of the Chicago Botanic Garden in 2008. Samantha was hired as the growing assistant and moved into the role of coordinator of the Green Youth Farm (Windy City Harvest Youth Farm), where she worked until 2011. As lifelong Chicagoan, helping her community has been a her passion, through her work as an artist. Samantha has continued to work with youth and young adults in the Austin community on Chicago's west side. In 2022, Samantha re-joined the Garden as the community education manager for Windy City Harvest.

Dantrell Dehart

Dantrell Dehart

PCC Austin and Kenneth Farm Grower             
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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.

Reynaldo Engram

Reynaldo Engram

Food Hub Coordinator             
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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.

Riley Finnegan

Riley Finnegan

McCormick Place Rooftop Farm Coordinator             
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Riley Finnegan is the McCormick Place Rooftop Coordinator, a role she has enjoyed since 2019. From a young age, Riley had a passion for plants and nature. This passion was fueled by her studies at the renowned Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences. Upon graduation, Riley knew there was only one path for her and that was urban agriculture. After much research, Riley applied and was accepted into the WCH Apprenticeship Program class of 2018. Her internship was spent at Rodeo, where she discovered an interest in beekeeping. After graduation, Riley gained microgreen experience working at Closed Loop before returning to WCH as the McCormick Place Coordinator. Today, Riley is one of the WCH in-house experts on rooftop farming, microgreen production, and beekeeping. She continues to advance her education and stay up to date on best practices by reading, training, and attending conferences. She enjoys teaching the next generation of urban farmers and baking bread. Riley lives on the South Side of Chicago with her boyfriend and cats.

Iririan Fransico

Iririan Francisco

VeggieRx Coordinator             
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Iririan Francisco is a resident of La Villita, right around the corner from Farm on Ogden. She started her journey through Windy City Harvest as part of the North Lawndale Youth Farm from 2013 to 2016. Francisco returned in 2021 as the North Lawndale coordinator and currently is the VeggieRx coordinator.

Alicia Green

Alicia Green, HTR

Horticultural Therapist, Buehler Enabling Garden Coordinator             
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Alicia is a registered horticultural therapist and the coordinator of the Buehler Enabling Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden. She delivers on-site therapeutic horticulture programs, maintains the Enabling Garden, and oversees the Veteran Internship Program. She has a B.A. from the University of Illinois and an M.A. in counseling from Northeastern Illinois University. Green received her horticulture therapy training through the Chicago Botanic Garden Certificate Program.

Ketaurah James

Ketaurah James

VeggieRx Manager             
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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. James now works as the VeggieRx manager, helping to distribute fresh vegetables to communities like her own, which have experienced disinvestment in food access. James takes pride in being a part of a stepping-stone for participants changing their eating habits. She hopes to continue to help people reach their goals for themselves and their community.

Raymond Gardner

Raymond Gardner 

Windy City Harvest Corps Coordinator          
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Raymond Gardner was born and raised in Chicago. Chicago has always been a place where everybody helps one another. Raymond fell in love with nature as a young man going fishing with his grandad. He remembers playing with the worms and the soil and feeling a sense of joy. That passion lead him into landscaping for extra money and began his interest in entrepreneurship. Raymond worked at Growing Home, a USDA-certified farm for two seasons. He worked there as a production assistant and a crew leader gaining ServSafe and OSHA training work safety certifications. He became familiar with urban agriculture and his love for the field continued to grow. This led to him two seasons as a crew leader at Windy City Harvest, where he led the Corps crew and developed a love for leadership and team-building. He worked for Justice Grow for a year in the cannabis industry. Eventually, he found his way back to Windy City Harvest, where he now serves as the Harvest Corps coordinator, recruiting for the Corps program and crew leaders, job placements, and serving as a strong mentor for the Corps crews and crew leaders throughout the seasons. He also stays in touch with our Corps alumni, while developing his expertise working with transitional jobs and workforce development programs.

 

 

Andy McGhee

Andy McGhee

Aquaponic Specialist, Windy City Harvest             
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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.

Joe O'Meara

Joe O’Meara

Farm Business Manager             
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Joe O’Meara joined Windy City Harvest in 2023 as the Farm Business manager. He brings more than a decade of growing experience in a variety of settings.  Joe’s passion has always been food-related, with his first career in the restaurant world. After attending Kendall College for the culinary arts, he discovered an appreciation of locally grown produce while running the event kitchens at Frontera and Topolobampo. He transitioned from chef to farmer, starting at City Farm, then spending a few years at Tempel Farm Organics as the assistant farm manager and Radical Root as the tractor operator. As their first farm coordinator,  Joe designed and implemented a garden for people with special needs at Opportunity Knocks, a nonprofit in Maywood.  At Council Oaks Montessori School in Blue Island,  Joe pioneered a farm-to-table program, managed the school kitchen, and developed a school learning garden and orchard. While launching and operating his own project, BIOS Farm,  Joe ran a two-acre urban farm in Blue Island for five years, with a successful CSA model and thriving market sales. He is passionate about growing food, native plants, and insects, and is excited to share his expertise with Windy City Harvest programs.

Laquieasha Reed

LaQuieasha Reed

Market Coordinator, Farm on Ogden             
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LaQuieasha Reed joined the Windy City Harvest team in 2020. She first went through the 13-week Corps program and then joined the Apprenticeship program in 2021. During her time at WCH, she has helped with different programs including VeggieRx. Reed is a ServSafe food handler, and holds a mental health first aid certificate. In the fall of 2021, she joined the sales team as the sales coordinator and eventually became the market coordinator. She is dedicated to providing an abundance of fresh and local foods to the Farm on Ogden. Reed was raised in the North Lawndale community and enjoys interacting with community members. Customers can come in and listen to one of her awesome playlists and enjoy a unique shopping experience.

Tiffany Simons Chan, Ph.D.

Tiffany Simons Chan, Ph.D.

Interim AVP Community Engagement & Data Strategist             
tchan@chicagobotanic.org 

Tiffany Simons Chan, Ph.D., is a learning scientist and strategist with a focus on leveraging data to drive toward social and environmental justice. In 2022, she joined the Chicago Botanic Garden and Windy City Harvest as data strategist, where she guides the team in building out data-driven decision-making and dynamic reporting processes. Prior to joining the Garden, she worked for six years as a systems analyst at Northwestern University, first with the Kellogg School of Management and then with central IT. She has also spent many years advocating for sustainable food systems and environmental education in the Chicago area, having served as a volunteer in the demonstration garden at Garfield Park Conservatory, farm camp educator at Prairie Crossing Learning Farm, and education coordinator and executive leader at Eden Place Nature Center. She earned her doctorate in learning sciences from the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, and her bachelor of science degree in cognitive science from the University of California at San Diego. She is thrilled to be working with Windy City Harvest, where she can act out her passions for plants, community, and data.

Dominique Stevens

Dominique Stevens

Senior Manager of Health and Wellness, Windy City Harvest             
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Dominique Stevens is the senior manager of health and wellness for Windy City Harvest. She has been with the Chicago Botanic Garden since 2021. Prior to Windy City Harvest, Stevens worked as an executive assistant. Stevens is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. She graduated with distinction from DePaul University with a bachelor of science in health sciences with a concentration in public health and healthcare policy and practice. Stevens lives on the west side of Chicago with her husband, two sons, and two cats.

Zachary Harmon

Zachary Harmon

Aquaponics Coordinator             
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Zach joined our team in 2021 and maintains our 60,000-gallon aquaponic greenhouse growing year-round produce with the help of our tilapia and koi. He works alongside our transitional job trainees and apprentices through seeding, transplant, and harvest of our lettuce and herbs using a fraction of the water and space needed for traditional agriculture. Zach has a bachelor’s degree in sustainability studies with a focus on natural resource management from the University of Texas. He spent some time working in the solar energy sector while working with farms on the weekends. In order to focus on sustainable agriculture full-time, he followed an opportunity to work on a farm in southern Chile constructing an aquaponics system. Chicago’s urban agriculture community has renewed his hope for sustainable living in modern life. He appreciates Windy City Harvest’s ability to bring fresh produce, job opportunities, green space, and life to the community.

Dominique Stevens

Fred Daniels

Rodeo Farm Coordinator             
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Fred Daniels was raised on the south side of Chicago and was first introduced to farming at a young age by his grandmother. She always had a home garden in her backyard, where he spent numerous hours learning about different vegetables alongside her. In 2007, Fred received his culinary arts certificate from Illinois Central College with hopes of becoming America’s next top chef. A few years later, Fred discovered his passion for growing food at Growing Home, a job-readiness organization focused on incorporating workforce development skill-building while getting healthy, nutritious food into underserved and underprivileged communities. Fred began as an intern and worked his way up to becoming farm director, overseeing urban farm production across several acres. Over the course of ten seasons at Growing Home, he was responsible for market operations, growing site development, training and mentoring of production assistants, crop planning, season extension, beekeeping, annual Midwest Organic Services Association certification, marketing, and sales. Fred has extensive knowledge working with returning citizens, facilitating an evidence-based social emotional curriculum aimed at psychological self-sufficiency and conflict resolution using Restorative Justice Training-Kingian principles of nonviolence. Fred also builds relationships within community organizations such as Grow Greater Englewood and Teamwork Englewood by sharing his expertise on urban agriculture projects. Fred recently joined Wind City Harvest as the Rodeo Farm Coordinator and looks forward to building long-lasting relationships in the North Lawndale community.

Kenya Vera headshot

Kenya Vera-Sample 

Urban Agriculture Educator for the North Lawndale Youth Farm 

Kenya’s affinity for nature began at a very early age, with countless fishing and hiking excursions with her dad and gardening with her grandfather.  She began her career in urban agriculture in 2008 in the historic black farming community of Pembroke Illinois. Kenya’s love for the environment, community, wellness, and enterprise has advanced her work with organizations such as  Grow Great Englewood, Englewood Village Farms, Urban Growers Collective, and Black Oaks. She is on the Chicago Food Policy Action Council as co-chair of “Produce in Protest.”  She is an owner and operator of Du Sable City Winery and Vineyards, specializing in an agroforestry enterprise that specializes in the cultivation of elderberry. The vineyard is a part of a 100-year plan in Englewood. 

Dominique Stevens

Paola Ramirez 

Urban Agriculture Educator for the Farm on Ogden 

Paola joined Windy City Harvest in 2023 as an Urban Agriculture Educator based at Farm on Ogden. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign with a B.S. in natural resources and environmental science and a concentration in fish, wildlife, conservation biology.  At the University of Illinois, she worked in the Plant Sciences Laboratories and the Illinois Natural History Survey in the plant biology department of mycology. Her journey with the Chicago Botanic Garden began in 2013 when she participated in the Science/College First youth programs. These programs influenced her research opportunities in Thailand and Sweden to continue her interests in ecology and climate change. Since 2021, Paola has led science programs and community workshops for After School Matters, Chicago Public Schools, and the Chicago Botanic Garden. She believes all youth in Chicago deserve a proper introduction to science and agricultural practices. Paola is excited to be a part of the Chicago Botanic Garden once again with Windy City Harvest to not only teach, but to learn.

 

Stop by or give us a call

Headquarters: Farm On Ogden 
Address: 3555 W. Ogden Avenue, Chicago IL | Phone: (847) 835-6807