Zack is a Local Foods and Small Farms Extension Educator housed in Cook County, Unit 6. He joined Extension in 2015 to focus on urban agriculture production programming for a diverse group of stakeholders. Zack educates, conducts research, and provides technical assistance in small scale intensive and urban ag food production systems in the Chicagoland region and beyond; primarily delivered through a variety of platforms and experiential training, including the Master Urban Farmer Training Program. He is also currently conducting ongoing demonstration and applied research into urban agriculture production at the quarter acre South Suburban Cook Urban Agriculture demonstration and research site known as SoSuCo. His main digital presence includes the Urban Ag Connect Vlog Series which he curates on the state Local Food System and Small Farm YouTube channel.
Zack holds a B.S. in Agribusiness-Horticulture from Illinois State University and an M.S in Horticulture from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He has been involved in small scale intensive farming for over 20 years as an apprentice, employee, manager, and owner. Most recently, from 2008-2015 he was the manager and director of the Sustainable Student Farm at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, a working intensive vegetable farm laboratory located on the university fruit research farm. He currently resides and owns a 20-acre farm in Kankakee County where he is developing various small farm enterprises.