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Meet the Farmer Training Initiative Team!


Danica Hoehn, Program Director

Danica loves the spaces in between people, community, food, and the natural world. She holds a M.S. in Environmental Education, a B.A. in Sociology, Anthropology, and Psychology, has owned/operated a small direct-market produce farm, and directed our Rockford Roots & Wings Program from 2009-2017. She began working with Farmer Training in spring 2017. Danica brings extensive experience with group facilitation, environmental education, bio-intensive farming, and addressing social justice through food system issues.




Shelbie Blank, Program Manager

Shelbie hails from Kalamazoo, Michigan, a place which instilled her deep appreciation for Lake Michigan and craft beers. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Western Michigan University where she double majored in Biology and Environmental Studies and found her calling in the local food movement. When she’s not helping farmers at the Learning Center, Shelbie enjoys listening to tunes (which includes attending lots of concerts), traveling, cooking, baking, spending time with friends, and hanging out in nature — especially with her dog Murdoc. Fun Fact: Shelbie has worked with the farmer training team since 2013!








Michelle Brady, Program Assistant

Michelle graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Photography. During her undergraduate education she worked two seasons harvesting vegetables for Angelic Organics. In 2018 she obtained her Master of Fine Arts degree in Photography from The Academy of Art University. She has a deep love of spending time outdoors and tries to take hikes daily while photographing the beauty of nature. She has three house rabbits they are named Clover, Pip, and Meeko all of which are named after Disney characters.