Meet the Team: Chicago

Amina Bahloul
Garden Educator, Chicago

Amina hails from Michigan, where she grew up cheering on the Spartans, Go Green! Prior to Big Green, Amina worked as the Head Kitchen Teacher at Edible Schoolyard NYC’s Harlem Campus. Earlier in her career, Amina served as a FoodCorps member in the Bronx, a Nutrition and Garden Educator through the Michigan Fitness Foundation, and also served as Healthy Lifestyles Project Coordinator with the Capital Area Health Alliance. Amina brings to her work a degree in Nutrition, a love of trying new things, and a passion for connecting kids to real food.

Sam Koentopp
Program Manager, Chicago

Sam Koentopp is a gardener, and teacher from Chicago.

Sam Koentopp is the Chicago Program Manager. He has been with Big Green since 2013 and has helped build most of the organization's Learning Gardens currently installed in Chicago schools. Sam is a father of 2 girls and outside of his work with Big Green he enjoys being with his family, cooking, eating, and playing music. Sam is proud to be a part of the Chicago urban agriculture community and believes deeply that we can accomplish the most when we work in cooperation and collaboration with our communities.

Laura Mueller
Development Manager, Chicago

A Chicago native, Laura Mueller comes to Big Green after a decade fundraising in the Chicago Public School system and for other local non-profit organizations in the food space, including Purple Asparagus and Common Pantry. Laura holds two MS degrees from Northwestern University, in Integrated Marketing Communication and Journalism and a BS University of Colorado at Boulder. Prior to her nonprofit career, she was the Corporate Marketing Director of a national hospitality company. As a life-long vegetarian and passionate home cook, Laura is thrilled to work at Big Green to engage young children in the joy of growing and eating real food, especially their vegetables. Outside the office, Laura enjoys hitting the farmers' markets with her Australian Shepherd, Ingo, skiing, hiking, yoga, and cooking creatively with her family.