We are a coalition of urban farms, community and school gardens, individuals and businesses working to support and expand sustainable agriculture in the Chicago region. Formed in 2002, AUA’s community includes more than 2,300 members throughout the Chicago area and beyond.
We educate and train agriculture practitioners throughout the Chicago area.
We endorse best practices for growing operations of all types and sizes in an urban landscape.
We connect growers, consumers, and resources through an active network.
We are committed to our diverse community and advocate for urban agriculture policy at all levels.
Laura joined AUA as Executive Director in the summer of 2017. She brings more than 10 years experience in the sustainable agriculture field. Laura has farmed on various operations throughout the country, most recently with the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest program for eight seasons. There, she trained hundreds of youth and adult program participants in agricultural practices and managed the business operations of the program. Laura is also a founding board member of the Illinois Farmers Market Association and appointed member of the Illinois Farmers Market Task Force. She graduated from Bradley University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. She also holds a certificate in food hub management from the University of Vermont. Laura dreams of running her own garlic farm one day.
Nick is an avid community gardener and has been passionate about the impact of urban agriculture to transform lives and communities since beginning his career in workforce development for homeless job seekers. His multi-disciplinary experience spans working in rural farming communities overseas while teaching English, to public health field work addressing the same legacy industrial toxins urban soils are so often challenged to address. In addition to being an AUA member and now staff for years, Nick is a licensed commercial pilot and certified Scuba diver.
Viviana Gentry Fernandez-Pellon
Training Programs Manager
Viviana Gentry Fernández-Pellón is a farmer rooted in Chicago’s south side. She is passionate about food and medicine sovereignty, reduction of soil and water toxicity, and generative economics. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and History from Oberlin College and has furthered her agricultural education by farming throughout North and Central America. She co-founded the community garden and 501(c)3 Cooperation Operation and The Chicago Mushroom Company, LLC. She grounds her work in a deep love for Chicago’s land, water, and people.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Board Vice President
Robert Nevel Architects
Chicago Botanic Garden (Retired)
Angelic Organics Learning Center
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Schurz Food Science Lab
Garfield Produce Company
Bailey & Glasser, LLP
Garfield Park Community Council
Environmental Law and Policy Center
Logans Square Farmers Market and Gardeneers
Nanci Garoon Leigner
Human Resources Director
Phoenix Bean, LLC
Windy City Harvest
Urban Growers Collective
Supply Chain, Sustainability
Seven Generations Ahead
Seven Generations Ahead
Hines VA Hospital
Farmer and Florist
J.R. Albert Foundation Inc., Walter S. Mander Foundation, The Lumpkin Family Foundation, CHIditarod Foundation,
The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust & Illinois State Treasurer Charitable Trust