WHO WE ARE
We're neighbors, families, friends, young, mature, artists, professionals, explorers, advocates, and yes, sometimes goofballs
MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP TEAM
The energetic and committed team at Health Food Store care about good food and good service. We’re always happy to talk about food, hard-to-find ingredients or our latest recipes. Stop in to meet us in person.
Founder and Executive Director
Stephanie is an experienced urban farmer focused on food production and accesibility for food insecure communities. She's managed a 10,000 lb production on just shy of an acre on urban real estate for five years, and coupled that with experience in logistics, delivery, food safety, processing, and sustainable packaging.
She is an advocate for disability rights and inclusion of women in positions of leadership in the sustainability field.
As a licensed general contractor, she brings construction and landscaping experience and is able to design and build small and large-scale infrastructure and farm projects and manage all the moving parts of coordinating materials, staff, and contractors, while meeting fast-paced construction goals.
Currently she manages the social media, web design, marketing, partnerships, program development, hiring, and product development, grant applications and foundation relationships for Star Farm. She is a Back fo the Yards resident and mother of two.
Rocio Vargas is culinary chef with 8 years experience catering private events. She manages the Star Farm CSA food safety protocal, quality control, packing, and delivery logistics. When she's not harvesting edible flowers for salad toppings, providing excellent customer service for CSA inquiries, staffing farmers markets, she also provides menu development for the Star Farm dinners and oversees our packing and delivery staff. Rocio is driven to bringing local, organic products and produce to low income communities on the Southside.
Farm and Production Manager
Rachel (she/they) brings four years of small scale food production and over a decade of youth development to our team. For 6 years, Rachel developed hands-on educational programming for people of all ages at art and science museums and outdoor science education centers. She followed the call to work more intentionally with plants and people in food justice capacities in 2017, when she joined the Chicago Botanic Garden's urban agriculture initiative Windy City Harvest, blending her skills as an educator and budding grower as a Youth Farm Coordinator. Wanting to deepen her relationship with plants and further develop her skills as a farmer, she joined Star Farm in January 2021 as our Farm Manager, where she oversees the greenhouse, all on-farm plant needs, harvests, and mentors our beginner incubator farmers at the Farm on Laflin. She is passionate about sharing the transformative power of growing with everyone, and works to improve access to nutritious, neighborhood-grown food. She is currently a 2021 National Young Farmers Coalition Food Safety Fellows. Rachel is probably already messy from her work in her own garden at home, her neighborhood gardening association, the kitchen, or the woods.
Meet our talented and dedicated team here, or at a farmers market!
CORNELIUS HODGES JR
Farmer and Landscaping Associate
Farmer and Farmstand Staff
Construction and Infrastrucutre
Farmer and Landscaping Associate
Landscaping and Construction
DONORS AND SUPPORTERS
Meet the folks and foundations helping make our work possible
As a 501c3 nonprofit, it's essential that we partner with philanthropists, investors, corporations, and public and private foundations. Creating a resilient, sustainable food system within the Back of the Yards and greater Chicago area requires these partnerships.
Thank you to the donors listed below for their faith, expertise, generosity, and advocacy.
The Walter Mander Foundation
The J.R. Albert Foundation
The Fresh Food from Farmers of Color Grant
The David and Reva Logan Foundation
The Chicago Region Food System Fund
The Illinois Stewardship Alliance
The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund
The Chicago Community Trust
The Chiditarod Foundation
The Lumpkin Foundation
FOR DONOR AND PARTNER INQUIRIES
Let's change the food system together and build equity and opportunity