Windy City Harvest Staff
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.
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.
Program Director, Windy City Harvest
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 mixing 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.
Aniki Coates, HTC, MUF
Horticultural Therapist, Therapeutic Horticulture Coordinator
Aniki Coates is a professional, certified horticultural therapist from the Chicago Botanic Garden Horticultural Therapy program and a certified urban farmer. She oversees and maintains Windy City Harvest partner allotment gardens and leads therapeutic horticulture sessions for many service locations, including children’s hospitals, senior centers, and schools. She infuses nature as a healing modality into creating effective, holistic programming and methodologies that uproot any notion of lack or incapability for participants of all ages and abilities. She is a certified beekeeper and environmental literacy educator. She is also a professional chef and culinary nutritionist through Washburne Culinary Institute with a focus on plant-based cuisine and food literacy. Coates holds Master Urban Farmer certification through the University of Illinois Extension; certificates in sustainable agriculture and horticulture from the Chicago Botanic Garden | Sustainable Urban Agriculture from City Colleges of Chicago; a certificate in Good Agricultural Practices from Illinois Extension; and is a Produce Safety Alliance Certified Grower. She is a member of the Chicago Food Policy Action Council among many other supporting food producers and grower-centric organizations. Coates is currently pursuing her graduate degree in clinical mental health counseling. “We all came here as a gift, a solution, as an answer. When we learn to void the internal distractions that try to block this truth, we more readily receive guidance and empowerment to do and become. The world is groaning for us to become.”
Community Education Manager, Windy City Harvest
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.
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 Coordinator
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.
McCormick Place Rooftop Farm Coordinator
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 the 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 Francisco is a resident of La Villita, right around the corner from Farm on Ogden. She started her journey through Windy City Harvest by being part of 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, HTR
Horticultural Therapist, Buehler Enabling Garden Coordinator
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 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 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 small stepping-stone for participants changing their eating habits. She hopes to continue to help people reach their goals for themselves and their community.
VeggieRx Sales Coordinator
Violet Jordan joined Windy City Harvest in early 2021 when they became an apprentice. They stayed on the team assisting VeggieRx with deliveries until landing at her current role as the sales coordinator. She has previously worked in all corners of food distribution between cooking lunches for schools, delivering produce, and supervising produce subscription box production with Imperfect Foods. They are passionate about maintaining and building systems for equitable food distribution.
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Windy City Harvest
Paul Krysik is a Chicago native from the Southwest side and a Curie Highschool graduate. While working on a bachelor's degree in Law and Environmental Studies at Oberlin College, he discovered local food policy and practice. In 2011, he began working on an organic farm in Ohio for two years and then moved on to a two-year fellowship at the Allegheny Mountain Institute in Virginia. In early 2015, Paul moved back home and joined the Windy City Harvest team as a Harvest Corps crew leader working with justice-involved individuals. Then 2017, he moved on to coordinate and manage the Legends South Beginning Farmer Incubator Farm and Program. After Legends in 2019, Paul became the instructor of the Apprenticeship Program, a nine-month Chicago City College accredited course for aspiring beginning farmers and local food advocates. In 2022, Paul became the Director of Strategic Initiatives and works with the VeggieRx, Therapeutic Horticulture/Contracts, and Sales teams at Windy City Harvest. Paul lives in North Lawndale with his partner, a Special Education Teacher with Chicago Public Schools.
Operations Director, Windy City Harvest
Rosario Maldonado manages the small farm business incubator program for Windy City Harvest, working closely with farm business owners to mentor them in efficient farm production practices, access to market channels and building partnerships for business opportunities through Windy City Harvest and beyond. Maldonado holds a certificate in sustainable agriculture from the Chicago Botanic Garden, Sustainable Urban Agriculture from City Colleges of Chicago, 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. Maldonado shares her urban agriculture expertise gained from growing for eight seasons in Chicago with the current seven incubator businesses, apprenticeship alumni, Windy City Harvest crew members, and local residents. Find her in the field running a ¼-acre demonstration production farm at Legends South and a ¼-acre production at Washington Park Youth Farm.
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.
Culinary Nutrition Coordinator
Kate Pinkston joined Windy City Harvest in 2022 as the culinary nutrition coordinator. She works with the VeggieRx program, the retail team, and the dietetic interns, and she maintains the commercial kitchen at the Farm on Ogden. Pinkston is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a passion for sustainability and connecting people with food, nutrition education, and resources to help improve health and overall well-being. Through a lens of growth and sustainability, she aspires to expand the nutrition and culinary education provided through Windy City Harvest.
Market Coordinator, Farm on Ogden
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.
Data Strategist, Learning and Engagement
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.
Senior Manager of Health and Wellness, Windy City Harvest
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.