Jonathan Pereira, Executive Director
Pereira has been working in science and arts education for over 15 years, primarily in informal and non-traditional learning environments. Specializing in developing environmental education and youth development programs in urban areas, he has engaged youth in projects ranging from renewable energy to natural resource conservation. He most recently worked as the Youth Program Manager for Greencorps Chicago, which engaged 800 Chicago Public School students in bike maintenance and horticulture across the city.
Eric Weber, Aquaponic Production Coordinator
Eric joined Plant Chicago in 2012 as an aquaponics intern, and now manages the day-to-day running of the aquaponics farm. He makes sure the fish and plants are happy, fixes leaks (a full time job), and makes sure the farm runs smoothly. Previously Eric has worked in aquarium design, installation, and maintenance in the south suburbs, and currently owns a business building aquariums, terrariums, and custom furniture. His other interests include running, cycling, drawing, and painting.
Kassandra Hinrichsen, Education and Outreach Coordinator
Kassie has been involved with The Plant since December 2013. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Global Studies and Environmental Science she continued her education while traveling through South America, working on permaculture farms in Ecuador and Colombia. Upon returning to the States, Kassie coordinated an afterschool farming program at a bilingual elementary school Tucson, AZ. Since moving to Chicago, she has worked as a bike messenger, aquaponic farmer, taught self-esteem classes and played some amazing soccer games. She recently returned from a few months of teaching abroad in Costa Rica and is extremely excited to help The Plant become more involved in the Back of the Yards community, and hopes to engage as many students as possible.
Jessica Zeiger, Mushroom Production
Jessica joined The Plant’s Mycology program in 2015 and is thrilled to be working with mushrooms. She has been fascinated by fungus ever since inoculating logs with shiitake back in 2011 and would love to see mushrooms growing in more urban farms and gardens. Jessica is a graduate of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship urban agriculture training program. Her internship with the program included working with Christy Webber Landscapes to help install and maintain the edible displays at Millennium Park and Homestead Restaurant’s rooftop garden. She holds certifications in Permaculture Design from Colorado Mesa University and GAPS (Good Agricultural Practices) food safety training from University of Illinois Extension. Before her work in urban agriculture, she studied epidemiology and worked in the public health field.
Liz Lyon, Market Manager
Liz joined the Plant Chicago team in April 2015 after serving The Plant as a volunteer tour guide and general painter/deconstruction-helper for over a year. Liz has worked in outreach roles at several Chicago nonprofits, in addition to doing various farming and farmers market work on the south side. She is very excited to be working on health, food access, and sustainability issues through the new Farmers Market and Farmstand projects at The Plant!