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Who We Are

Growing Healthy People (GHP) was founded in 2014 with a vision of growing healthy food, providing educational opportunities for students of all ages and introducing them to career opportunities in sustainable agriculture and new technologies in food production.

Today GHP reaches lives through creating community partnerships, developing growing spaces, teaching students, bringing health and nutrition to food insecure families and neighborhoods, all while caring for the planet and its resources


Why our work is needed

With a food insecure population of 49,570 in Lake County, IL alone (Feeding America, 2020),

  • Need to bring healthy food to our low-income communities where access to grocery stores is limited

  • Need to educate young people where their food comes from and the importance of eating nutritious food

  • Need to teach people how to grow their own healthy food

  • Need more farmers/food producers - our farmers are aging out. And there are new technologies that will allow us to feed more people using less resources

  • Need to train a workforce in these new technologies to meet the demand for the anticipated $9 billion industry in hydroponic farming.

Want to know more? Get in touch with us today on how you can make an impact!

Our Team

Since 2014 Growing Healthy People has been impacting lives in Lake County by growing food. Cheryl Besenjak and Kevin Westing have worked together to create unique growing spaces, both indoors and out, while providing educational opportunities to students of all ages. Cheryl is trained as a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener and brings her experience as an educator, communicator and community garden leader. Kevin brings his lifelong love of plants and fish to aquaponics, his ability to create gardens and his skills in construction and remodeling. Together they share their interest in urban, sustainable agriculture and new technologies for growing food. They believe this is the future for our food supply and desire to train up new food producers in these methods all while caring for our planet. And, they believe in the synergy of collaboration with community partners to make all this possible. Growing Healthy People is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

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Cheryl Besenjak

Executive Director 

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Kevin Westing

Board Member


Eugene "Bud" Gross


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