Third Cohort Alumni

Maya-Camille Broussard

Maya-Camille Broussard
Justice of the Pies

Bakery
Chicago, Illinois

Justice of the Pies is a bakery that specializes in sweet and savory pies, quiches and tarts. Maya-Camille Broussard established Justice of the Pies in 2014 in honor of her late father, Stephen J. Broussard, a criminal defense attorney with a passion for baking and eating anything made with a crust! Justice of the Pies is committed to delivering amazing pies, quiches and tarts while positively impacting the lives of those who work for the company. Read Maya’s bio and check out http://www.justiceofthepies.com.

Jordan Buckner and Issac Lozano

Jordan Buckner and Isaac Lozano
Skyline Kitchen Inc.

Consumer Packaged Goods
Chicago, Illinois

Jordan Buckner, Isaac Lozano, Adi Malik, and Alex Stomp are co-founders of TeaSquares, a snack with a purpose to give people the fuel to achieve their passions, and a social mission to fuel economic development in urban centers. TeaSquares are infused with naturally occurring caffeine from organic tea grown without the use of artificial ingredients or preservatives. Each bite-size square is light and airy, packed with wholesome puffed millet, crunchy almonds, and flavorful fruits. The TeaSquares team plans to grow their business while simultaneously empowering the community in which it’s based. Read the bios of the team, and visit www.myteasquares.com.

Michele Gazzolo and Beth Denton

Michele Gazzolo and Beth Denton
Fruitbelt LLC

Consumer Packaged Goods
Sawyer, Michigan

In 2012, friends Michele Gazzolo and Beth Denton began a quest for a refreshing and unequivocally healthy alternative to sugary soda. Four years later, Fruitbelt became the world’s first sparkling fruit tonic: festive and unabashedly tart, blending the juice from pressed apples and other varietals with honey and proprietary bitters, allowing the taste of unvarnished fruit to come alive. Read Michele’s full bio, and check out www.fruitbelt.com.

Art Jackson

Art Jackson
Pleasant House Bakery

Consumer Packaged Goods
Chicago, Illinois

Husband and wife Art and Chelsea Jackson opened Pleasant House Bakery in 2011, and quickly became a household name in Chicago, known for their distinctive British-inspired, locally sourced menu, with savory meat and vegetarian Royal PiesTM as the centerpiece. They currently operate Pleasant House Bread out of The Plant in the Back of the Yards neighborhood and Pleasant House Pub in Pilsen. Read Art and Chelsea’s full bio, and check out www.pleasanthousebakery.com/

Megan Klein

Megan Klein
MadeHere

Consumer Packaged Goods
Bedford, Illinois

MadeHere makes salad dressings and other value-added products using produce from FarmedHere, an organically-certified indoor vertical hydroponic farm in Bedford Park, IL. MadeHere is committed to growing communities by creating locally-made and locally-sourced products and making them available to everyone every day. Read Megan’s bio and visit www.farmedhere.com.

Daniel Sikorski

Daniel Sikorski
The Eating Well

Consumer Packaged Goods
Chicago, Illinois

Led by Chef Daniel Sikorski, The Eating Well is a specialty food company that prioritizes good food first. Dedicated to local sourcing and clean ingredients, The Eating Well makes paleo, vegan and gluten Free meals and snacks including 4 varieties of gluten free, vegan vegetable burgers. Read Daniel’s bio and visit www.eatingwellonline.com.

Colin Tomkins-Bergh

Colin Tomkins-Bergh
Simply Native

Consumer Packaged Goods
River Falls, Wisconsin

Simply Native fuels adventures and healthy lifestyles with the simplest and most nutritious ingredients. They exclusively use plants indigenous to North America to make Ancient Foods for Modern Times™. All of their products are highly nutritious, Non-GMO, Certified Gluten Free, vegan, quick cooking and versatile. Colin is working to scale up distribution of Simply Native’s Quick Cooking Wild Rice Cereal, while developing future products utilizing plants indigenous to North America. Read Colin’s full bio, and check out www.simplynativefoods.com.

Alison Velazquez

Alison Velazquez
Skinny Souping

Consumer Packaged Goods
Chicago, Illinois

Skinny Souping is a health benefit driven soup company featuring preservative-free sippable soups. Wellness expert and author, Alison Velazquez, started Skinny Souping in 2014 with a mission to create high quality, innovative health benefit driven products which enable people to conveniently eat healthy on the go. Read Alison’s full bio, and visit www.skinnysouping.com.

Mitch Wasserman

Mitch Wasserman
Full Belly Foods

Consumer Packaged Goods
Chicago, Illinois

Full Belly Foods provides all natural, never cooked or processed, healthy, delicious and unique artisan pickles and pickled vegetables: clean food just as nature intended! Check out www.fullbellypickles.com, and read Mitch’s full bio.

Second Cohort Alumni

Rachel Bernier-Green

Rachel Bernier-Green
Laine’s Bake Shop

Consumer Packaged Goods
Chicago, Illinois

Rachel launched her company in 2013. She is the owner and head baker at her full service bakery withcatering, online, and brick and mortar retail components. ‘Laine’s provides delicious treats with a conscience. Says Rachel, “Our goal is to impact the people around us by investing in our neighborhood, sourcing ingredients responsibly, hiring locally, and giving back to worthy causes.” She’s working to increase production and distribute on a larger scale. Read Rachel’s full bio, and check out www.lainesbakeshop.com.

Deirdre Birmingham and John Biondi

Deirdre Birmingham and John Biondi
The Cider Farm

Organic Orchard
Mineral Point, Wisconsin

The Cider Farm is the project of Deirdre Birmingham and John Biondi. Their 166 acre, certified organic orchard produces true cider apples—apples bred for the production of alcoholic beverages.The Cider Farm’s products are faithful to the traditions of the masters who make Europe’s finest brandy and ciders. Read Deirde and John’s full bio, and check out
www.theciderfarm.com.

Daniel Caballero

Daniel Caballero
Sofrito Foods

Consumer Packaged Goods
Chicago, Illinois

Dan seeks to build a clean label Hispanic food brand that uses transparently sourced ingredients. Sofrito Foods LLC is currently working to produce a line of heat-and-eat seasoned, organic bean products based on traditional Latin American recipes. Dan describes his sofrito as, “ Made the traditional way, sautéing fresh whole ingredients to create a traditional product with superior flavor.” Read Dan’s full bio, and check out www.cocinadefillo.kitchen.

Susan Fink

Susan Fink
Karma Kombucha

Consumer Packaged Goods
Mundelein, Illinois

Kombucha is a fermented health beverage dating back to 220 BC China. Susan brews her unique brand of Kombucha in Vernon Hills, IL, using ingredients that are certified organic and sourced from Fair Trade producers, without added flavors or juices. She seeks to scale up production and widen distribution into retail grocery channels. Read Susan’s full bio, and check out www.karmaboocha.com.

Anthony and Liz Fiorenza

Anthony and Liz Fiorenza
Wind Ridge Herb Farm

Herb Farm
Caledonia, Illinois

This Caledonia, Illinois farm, founded in 2000, is a thriving grower of more than 400 varieties of culinary and medicinal herbs, and 100 varieties of heirloom vegetable plants. Many uncommon varieties of their fresh herbs are sold in grocery stores throughout Chicagoland, and Tony and Liz are currently working on further refining their product line and scaling up distribution and operations. Their daughter Margaret is an integral part of the operation,
sharing responsibility for the greenhouse operation, product development and production. Read Tony and Liz’s full bio, and check out www.windridgeherbfarm.com.

Javier Haro and Juan Saldana

Javier Haro and Juan Saldana
Food He.ro

Food Business Service
Chicago, Illinois

Food He.ro is developing a non-traditional, blended educational workforce development platform that will provide instructor lead trainings and online courses at the workplace. The Food He.ro digital training platform will enable restaurants to develop sustainable & smarter workforce practices. Read Javier and Juan’s full bio, and check out www.foodhe.ro.

Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones
Gotta B Crepes

Food Service
Chicago, Illinois

Ryan and his wife, Kathia, offer a menu of sweet and savory crepes to patrons at six farmer’s markets in the Chicagoland area, and source all of their ingredients at those markets. Ryan Jones believes in spinning crepes the way it’s Gotta B: Using local, seasonal, and prepared-from-scratch ingredients. He is working to growing this seasonal business into a year-round venture. Read Ryan’s full bio, and check out www.gottabcrepes.com.

Josh Katt

Josh Katt
Kitchfix

Consumer Packaged Goods
Chicago, Illinois

Kitchfix’s mission is to deliver crave-able flavor, exceptional quality, time-saving convenience, and far-reaching benefits for our bodies, community, and Earth. All Kitchfix’s products are chef-crafted, made from scratch, sourced as locally as possible and approved by an in-house registered dietitian. Josh is working to scale up distribution of his granola and build out his product line, and he is currently developing new plant-
based CPG products. Read Josh’s full bio, and check out www.kitchfix.com.

Adriana Saldaña-Meadath

Adriana Saldaña-Meadath
Flùr

Gluten-Free Baked Goods
Riverside, Illinois

Adriana is trained in the classic French tradition of L’Art de la Pâtisserie. Flùr’s mission is to ensure that people suffering from Celiac disease or gluten intolerance can enjoy the same high quality baked goods as those who are not affected by gluten; Adriana is working to scale up production to sell into retail grocery chains. Read Adriana’s full bio, and check out www.flurflavorfirst.com.

 

First Cohort Alumni

Rowida Assalimy
Ro’s Beverages

Consumer Packaged Goods
Chicago, Illinois (5 miles from downtown Chicago)

Rowida’s company — founded in 2010 and located on Chicago’s North Side — produces a wellness beverage that originates from Yemen, called Kishr. Though made from a part of the coffee plant, Rowida describes Kishr as “like tea, but better”. It resembles tea, but its main ingredient is a little-known, nutritious superfruit.Read Rowida’s full bio and check out kishr.com

Harry Carr
Mint Creek Farm
Ranch/Meat Processor
Cabery, Illinois (85 miles from downtown Chicago)

Harry and his wife Gwen founded Mint Creek Farm in 1992, qualifying them as pioneers in the now fast-growing market for grass-fed, pasture-raised livestock. Their daughter and son now work in business operations on their ranch, located about 25 miles southwest of Kankakee near the southern edge of metropolitan Chicago.Read Harry’s full bio and check out mintcreekfarm.com

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Shane Christensen
dailyServing
Consumer Packaged Goods
Chicago, Illinois (1 mile from downtown Chicago)

Shane is utilizing his past experience in entrepreneurial ventures, including clothing, entertainment, and children’s products, in building the dailyServing company. The start-up company, which launched in April 2014, makes a variety of healthy products — based on dried fruits and vegetables, cold-pressed juices, nuts, and other functional foods — that address the busy lives of many consumers.Read Shane’s full bio and check out mydailyserving.com

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Thomas Frierson
Spark of the Heart
Consumer Packaged Goods
Chicago, Illinois (8 miles from downtown Chicago)

Thomas is vice president of Spark of the Heart, which he co-founded with his wife, company president Cynthia Zeki, Ph.D. Spark of the Heart produces delicious dried bean-based soup mixes, bean salads, and beans and rice side dishes on Chicago’s North Side.Read Thomas’ full bio and check out sparkoftheheart.com

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Nik Jakobs
Jakobs Brothers Farms
Farm/Ranch
Sterling, Illinois (121 miles from downtown Chicago)

Nik is a third-generation cattle feeder at his family’s ranch. Located in rural northwest Illinois, almost due west of Chicago and northeast of the Quad Cities, the livestock and grain farming operation was started in 1949 by his grandfather Norbert, who had emigrated from Europe to escape the Holocaust. The farm is now run by his father, David Jakobs, and his brothers Ricky and Alex have joined him in the operation.Read Nik’s full bio and check out jakobsbrosfarms.com

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Riana Lynn
Food Trace
Food Business Services
Chicago, Illinois (3 miles from downtown Chicago)

Farmers, wholesalers, and buyers need to readily connect with each other to make the deal that will grow the local and sustainable food market in the Chicago region. Riana offers FoodTrace as a high-tech solution to facilitating business relationships across the supply chain with innovative ways to share more traceable information with consumers.Read Riana’s full bio and check out thefoodtrace.com

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Alberto Rincón
Urban Canopy
Urban Farming
Chicago, Illinois (8 miles from downtown Chicago)

Alberto is an engineer, a musician, and — through his work with The Urban Canopy — an active participant in efforts to expand the supply of sustainably produced food grown in Chicago’s city environs, including some of its most underserved South Side neighborhoods.
Read Alberto’s full bio and check out theurbancanopy.org

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Mark Schneider
Living Water Farms
Greenhouse Farm
Strawn, Illinois (112 miles from downtown Chicago)

Mark is a former firefighter who turned full-time grower after he helped his in-laws, Kevin and Denise Kilgus, convert their truck farming operation into Living Water Farms (LWF) in 2008. He is now President and CEO of Living Water Farms, which grows specialty salad greens, microgreens, herbs and edible flowers year-round in a greenhouse located a couple of hours southwest of Chicago, not far from Bloomington and Champaign.Read Mark’s full bio and check out livingwaterfarms.com

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Jenny Yang
Phoenix Soy, LLC
Consumer Packaged Goods
Chicago, Illinois (9 miles from downtown Chicago)

Jenny, a native of Taiwan, left a career in corporate finance when an opportunity to buy into the existing Phoenix Bean tofu-making company arose in 2006. She and her team have steadily built Phoenix Bean into a significant presence on the Chicago food scene, selling its fresh and prepared tofu products and soy milk to leading restaurants, as well as to general consumers through wholesale and retail markets.Read Jenny’s full bio and check out phoenixbean.com