Testimonials from Chicago

Voices from Chicago

Spotlight on the Big Green Chicago A-Board: Kelsey Thomas

Kelsey Thomas kills it on the Big Green Chicago A-Board. As VP of JPMorgan’s Investment Bank, she supports JPM’s asset-backed conduit business in Chicago. She’s worked there for the last 10 years! She supports the network of Learning Gardens in the Chicago region because of her conviction that the gardens provide students dynamic educational opportunities they may not learn inside a classroom or the typical urban landscape.

During her visit to a Chicago Learning Garden, she could see members of the school community beam with pride over their garden. “It’s that infectious energy that is beyond inspiring and conducive to building strong communities,” she says. She had never seen anyone get so excited by radishes, mint, and tomatoes, as when they were being harvested.

She believes we all have a lot to learn from gardening and that, by participating in the process of growing food, we can grow a deeper appreciation for what we eat while fostering a connection to the broader environment.

Her favorite meal is salmon with Brussel sprouts and cauliflower, and her favorite garden grown item is a cucumber!



“Often our students do not have consistent access to experiential learning or education about healthy food. We frequently see students who began the year with limited levels of participation in school increase their classroom participation and confidence by the year’s end through their use of the Learning Garden.”

Lauren Walsh
3rd Grade Teacher, Ward Elementary

“The students have shown such excitement and ownership in watching their school garden flourish. I thank them for providing such a great opportunity that might have been never explored if not for your team.”

Kamal Suga
Diverse Learning Teacher, Dett Elementary