Rachel Berry is the founder and CEO of the Illinois Hemp Growers Association, a women-led benefit corporation and grassroots organization representing over 700 members. Her hemp industry experience includes:

Rachel Berry's Biography

Rachel on WTTW.jpg
  • ​Secretary on the board of directors for the U.S. Hemp Building Association

  • Client relations / superintendent on a 25,000 plant startup grow in 2019

  • Frequent speaker/panelist at Illinois Extension, Farm Bureau, SBDC, and many other hemp industry and community events

Rachel is a first-generation regenerative farmer raising poultry, growing heirloom vegetables, native medicinal plants, and industrial hemp with her family on their 13 acre homestead. Her work is dedicated to building the resources and relationships necessary to grow a sustainable and equitable Illinois hemp industry.

 

Rachel represented the Illinois Hemp Growers Association in an interview with Phil Ponce, host of WTTW's Chicago Tonight. She has also been featured on the Lancaster Farming Industrial Hemp Podcast, in Grow Greater Englewood's Grow Your Own Series, on the Mike Nowak Show, on NPR's The 21st, and in many more media appearances.

 

In addition to being the CEO of a grassroots hemp organization and regenerative farmer, Rachel is a community organizer, educator and dedicated volunteer. She serves on the board of directors for the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. She believes local food matters and that hemp should be a part of local food systems in the future. Rachel is also experienced in hemp-lime construction.

"Hemp is not just a commodity crop, it's a community crop."

 

Chris Berry's Biography

Chris at Freeport from news article.jpg

Chris Berry is the Chief Operating Officer of the Illinois Hemp Growers Association, a grassroots membership organization specializing in providing industrial hemp educational resources, research and consulting to its members. His hemp industry experience includes:

  • Consulting with first year hemp businesses in Illinois in 2019 & 2020

  • Lead consultant / project manager on a 25,000 plant startup grow in 2019

  • Frequent speaker/panelist for Illinois Extension, Farm Bureau, SBDC and other hemp industry and community events

  • Design / implementation of the Illinois Hemp Growers Association website which serves 700+ members

  • Facilitating hemp-related transactions between growers, processors, and retailers in 2019 & 2020

Before starting his role as COO at the IHGA, Chris spent 10 years working accident-free as a union millwright for customers including Amazon, ArcelorMittal, BASF, Best Buy, Clorox, FCA Group, Ford, General Mills, Mars, Mondelez International, NRG Energy, Unilever, USPS, U.S. Steel and Wrigley Company. He is currently employed as a product engineering specialist by Ocado Group.

 

Chris writes a blog for the Illinois Hemp Growers Association website. He covers hemp-related news, events, politics, education, culture and volunteerism with a focus on local impact. He has also been featured on the Midwest Hemp Council Podcast, and in interviews by Peoria Public Radio and The Center Square.

 

Chris lives on a 13 acre farm in Princeton, IL with his wife Rachel and their two children.

 

In addition to being an industrial hemp consultant and millwright, Chris has practiced regenerative farming and permaculture on his farm over the last 8 years. His style of agriculture is focused on minimizing labor and creating sustainable closed-loop systems of production on a market farm scale. Chris is also a hemp history buff. He has experience with hemp-lime construction and has built models demonstrating this style of construction.

 

"Regulations should be strictly for the purpose of promoting public safety. Anything else perpetuates illegal markets and will not put an end to the social problems caused by prohibition."

Chris Bio Photo Latest.jpg