Johari Cole Kweli
Johari Cole-Kweli is a passionate driver of 21st Century STEM, environmental education, and stewardship. For over 25 years, she has co-operated her family owned farm, Iyabo Farms, founded in 1994 and located in Pembroke Township. She has dedicated her life to organic farming and local food access issues, specifically in low-income communities and communities of color. Iyabo Farms host on-farm research, internships, Ag and Eco-Tourism, and environmental engineering camps for next-gen scientists, environmentalists, and farmers.
Johari has a BS in Microbiology/Genetics from Michigan State University and an MBA in Sustainability Management from Keller University. She serves as the Chair for the Rehoboth Blueberry Farm Advisory Board, she is the Vice President of the University of Illinois Extension Council, and a Member of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals. She is also a doctoral candidate in STEM Education.
Local Land Owner
Diane McDonald is the co-owner of B.S.R.R. Youth Center and Academy/Farm, located in Pembroke Township and established in 1977. She provides youth training in sustainable agriculture, arts and crafts, cooking, canning and entrepreneurship. She has been a member of Pembroke Farming Family since 2013 and has participated in over 100 farmer market venues within the surrounding area including Chicago.
In 2015, she established a Youth Center Kids Garden, in which the children created, landscaped, planted, maintained and marketed. She was nominated for the 2016 & 2017 Beginning Farmer of The Year Award at The Good Food Festival sponsored by The Route2Farm.Org., Angelic Organics Learning Center for her presentation of that endeavor.
Education & Youth Program Specialist
Christine Foster is a middle school teacher at Lorenzo R. Smith School in Pembroke Township IL. 2020 is her 7th year teaching at Lorenzo R. Smith, and her 4th year teaching in the middle school as the math teacher. She attended Eastern Illinois University, where she received a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education, with a Middle School Endorsement with a concentration in math and science in 2013. In March of 2018 she received the Alumni Rising Star Award from the EIU College of Education.
Helen is a natural Healer, pinister, Parliamentarian, institutional developer, public speaker,
author, radio host, counselor, and nonviolent practitioner. As a parliamentarian, Helen has chaired many meetings to achieve their goals. She has served as a paid proxy chair for public officials.Myeka has founded the following nonviolent institutions: The Human & Community Development Institute, Memphis, TN 1979; The Organo Farms Project, Cleveland/Hiram, Ohio 1981; The G. W. Carver Agricultural Marketing Project (C.A.M.P.), Chicago 1983; The Mother’s Food Production Co-op in Chicago, 1985; S/HE Culture/Evolving & Maturing
Females & Their Sons in Chicago, 1995.
Owasha Williams was raised in Detroit, Michigan, but moved to Hopkins Park, Illinois when she was young. She attended Columbia College in Chicago, earning several credits towards a major in Television News Announcing. She then relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. She began working as a Customer Service Supervisor, involving fifty employees for Intermodal Transportation Services in College Park, Georgia. During that time, she fulfilled her requests, involving her creative skills in writing plays, organizing church programs and open mic poetry. Several years later, she relocated back to Illinois, where she attended Kankakee Community College, earning several credits towards Social Work. She also worked as a Circuit Clerk for the Kankakee County Circuit Clerk office in Kankakee, Illinois. She then relocated to Pembroke Township, Illinois, where she spends most of her time volunteering, assisting the community with resumes and processing child support/visitation modifications. Owasha also produces and writes community plays for Kankakee County. She also organizes programs at her church home, The Free Christian Center in Kankakee, Illinois. Owasha hopes to bring a breath of fresh air to Pembroke Township, by bringing the community together with public events, allocating new jobs to enter the area and providing a more positive view through social media.