Miss Cheryl is the Founder and Owner of Sugar Beet Schoolhouse. It’s her dream job.
To experience more meaningful connections to her local farmers and neighbors, she opened (along with hundreds of others) a cooperative grocery store in the Village of Oak Park, IL in July 2015 called Sugar Beet Food Co-op. The Co-op celebrates community and good food by providing a full service marketplace for local vendors and producers and greater access to local, organic food. Her passion for education and skill sharing motivated her to establish an educational organization which became Sugar Beet Schoolhouse. In 2016 Cheryl found a home for the Schoolhouse in a sweet little building in River Forest that includes a commercial kitchen for community chefs that she also manages (River Forest Kitchen) and greenhouse. Cheryl received the Golden Beet Award from the Illinois Stewardship Alliance for Community Food Development in 2015 and has twice been named to New City Chicago’s “Big Heat” list of Chicago’s “movers and shakers” in the Chicago food scene.
Cheryl enjoys planning community events, learning about food culture and progressive education and LOVES sharing her passion with others. Cheryl lives in Oak Park, IL with her little farmers, Cedar and Cora, and their critters.
Brianne Kellogg, MS, RDN
Brianne Kellogg, MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her areas of concern in the field of dietetics have primarily been family, childhood, and women's nutrition. Brianne's former consulting company, Nutrition Works for Women (which was based in Los Angeles) focused on assisting women and families meet their nutritional news through individual and group consultations. She has served on the Executive Board of the California Dietetics Association (now the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) and the California Dietetics Association Foundation. Now, the Oak Park-based mother of three enjoys working with the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry and the Sugar Beet Food Co-op to educate people of all backgrounds the importance of healthy, wholesome, and environmentally sound food choices.
Mary E O’Kiersey
Mary E O’Kiersey worked on the harvest from Cheney Mansion garden in the summer of 2015. Born in Oak Park; now retired, she looks forward to another, even better harvest from Cheney to be donated to OPFR Food Pantry. She has been a founding member and a major worker for the Community Garden for Mills Park Tower, a senior living community. She is a volunteer and board member of Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory. She learned much of her gardening while living near Springfield, Illinois where she was an active member of King Harvest Co-op. She has been an active member of Sugar Beet since January of 2013 and is a member of the media team.
A lifetime Oak Parker, Talia is a Senior at Oak Park River Forest High School. She is on the boards of two school-based clubs – Tau Gamma (a service club) and New ERA (a club that focuses on gender issues, equality, and empowerment). She is a competitive runner and avid cyclist, which also happen to be her main modes of transportation around town. Talia has developed a love of cooking and can often be found in the kitchen experimenting with her own recipes. But one of her favorite things to do is work with kids, which she has been doing for years at the Actor’s Garden (a local performing arts center). Talia is thrilled at the opportunity to combine so many of her interests at Sugar Beet.
Elizabeth is a long time Oak Park resident with a green thumb and a love for children and cooking. She spent many years working in insurance and now spends her days with her two adorable children. She is excited to work with others in the Sugar Beet community where she can put her skills to good use and continue to pursue her many passions. You can find Elizabeth working as an assistant at many of the events at the Sugar Beet School House.
Karen is an Indiana native, who landed in Chicago, then put her roots down in Oak Park. She has spent the last decade raising two awesome kids, who share her love of travel, art, and food. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago and now volunteers and serves on the board of the Economy Shop in Oak Park. She's looking forward to sharing her passion for learning and food with folks at the Schoolhouse!
Brekke is an experienced experiential and outdoor educator who has worked at several nature centers, non profits, and food cooperatives in the Chicagoland area. Over the past 6 years she has focused her education efforts largely on good food and gardening with the dream that everyone can be comfortable growing a small amount of their own food. Brekke holds a master degree in Sustainable Food Systems and is certified in permaculture design. Her hobbies include reading, playing outside, karaoke, and urban homesteading on her small Chicago lot.