brad kemp, President
Brad joined the Farmers Rising board in early 2021 after spending much of 2020 cooking at home with the CSA boxes from Angelic Organics. While he has always been a passionate home cook and interested in local food, the pandemic really fertilized (pun intended) this part of his life and drove him to join the board. Brad owns and operates Second Bedroom Studio where he works as music composer and producer in Chicago. He has collaborated on projects with notable artists such as Yvie Oddly (RuPaul's Drag Race Season 11 winner), Shea Couleé (RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 5 winner), and Chris Redd [SNL, Disjointed]. He currently composes music for podcasts with iHeartRadio and has written original music for over 20 musicals that have been produced in New York, Los Angeles and of course, Chicago. Brad is also a member of comedy hip hop trio Handsome Naked (NBC's Bring The Funny, Billboard Comedy top 10, #2 iTunes comedy chart). He loves the Green Bay Packers, his dog Frankie, and his incredible, supporting wife.
Jamie zimmerman, Vice President
Jamie is obsessed about the food we eat for our health and how we grow our food for the wellbeing of our families and the planet. She is passionate about learning and serving by assisting families and local farmers grow and provide healthy, sustainable food for our community. Jamie is a CPA and has her Masters in Business Administration and works with a local engineering firm. She is also an educator in the accounting field teaching at various colleges and universities. Jamie and her family have 5 acres of property where they experiment, grow and share their food sources utilizing and learning as much as possible about regenerative farming.
Part of their land is also registered as a natural pollinator habitat through the Xerces Society of Invertebrate Conservation. Any extra time she devotes to being out in nature with family, gardening, reading and trying to master the perfect loaf of sourdough bread.
andrew larson, treasurer
Andy is a Farm Outreach Specialist for the Food Finance Institute and SBDC at University of Wisconsin. Andy works with entrepreneurial farm businesses in Wisconsin to build farm financial management capacity and access the capital they need to grow. Andy has expertise in farm business and marketing, agricultural lending, and grantsmanship. Prior to joining FFI, Andy worked as an Agriculture and Commercial Loan Officer at a community bank, providing commercial credit to family farms and small businesses in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. His portfolio included crop farms, dairy farms, and a wide variety of local food farms. Before that, Andy worked in university extension in both Iowa and Illinois, providing programming on the business and marketing side of small farms, local foods, and sustainable agriculture. Andy earned undergraduate degrees from the University of Notre Dame, a master’s degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois, and a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University. Andy grew up on a dairy farm, and now lives with his wife and three daughters on a small-scale poultry farm just down the road, where they produce free-range brown eggs for local restaurants, retail stores, and farmers markets.
Rebecca was first introduced to community gardens in her youth. Seven years ago she rediscovered her love for gardening with a small balcony garden. About 5 years ago she started maintaining a spot in her local community garden, so she really understands how needed and useful these gardens can be. She believes there is a vital connection between the food we eat & our overall health. Rebecca earned her MBA from Florida A&M University and is a proud Rattler. When she is not working, she loves helping the community & participates in many service projects with her sorority and other community organizations.
Charles Johannsen grew up working in his family’s greenhouse business and, later, spent a few years doing organic gardening and farming. His love of plants, the natural world, and good farming runs deep. He has been a small-scale filmmaker for 50 years, putting together numerous pieces about conservation and education subjects. Beginning in 2007, he made a number of videos for Farmers Rising. He has a B.A. from Stanford University and an MA in Teaching from Rockford University.
Cliff joined the Farmers Rising board in July 2014. He is the founder and head farmer at All Grass Farms LLC, a regenerative livestock farm producing grass fed beef, raw Guernsey milk, and pasture-raised pork, chicken, turkeys, and ducks on approximately 560 organic acres with farm locations in Dundee, Illinois and Elkhorn, Wisconsin. He is passionate about rebuilding a local food system that prioritizes nutrient-dense, chemical free foods, grown in healthy soils, and produced in a manner that respects the community, the environment, and the animals that feed us. Prior to starting his transition to farming in 2011, he worked in the insurance industry in Chicago for over 20 years.
Gina Polito Jahn
Gina Polito Jahn grew up in the area and lives just a few miles from the Farmers Rising campus with her husband, two daughters and two Labradors. She first discovered Farmers Rising when she was looking for a summer camp for her girls and has been a big fan ever since! Gina has a MS in outdoor education and has worked at several environmental education centers. She was part of a team at the Field Museum in Chicago that developed the Underground Adventure exhibit on the diverse and interconnected life found in the soil. She then moved into higher education as a community college biology and environmental science instructor and earned an MS in biology. From there she transitioned to a career in university research administration and grant writing. Currently Gina works at a non-profit in Wisconsin which provides research development and grant support to the UW system campuses. Gina spends her free time shuttling kids to and from their activities and trying to maintain a small herb garden. She is excited and honored to be able to contribute to the local gem that is Farmers Rising.