Tyler Strom
Managing Director, Illinois Agri-Food Alliance

Tyler Strom is managing director of the Illinois Agri-Food Alliance (ILAFA) and has been intimately involved with the organization since the development of the FARM Illinois RoadMap in 2014. Prior to his current role, Tyler was a fellow of global agriculture and food at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the leading foreign affairs institution in the Midwest committed to educating the public – and influencing public discourse – on global issues of the day. Tyler’s expertise is in agri-food systems, ecological sustainability, food supply chains, local/regional food systems, multi-stakeholder collaborations, and systems thinking. By leveraging his skills in strategy, communications, relationship development, and project design and implementation, his ambition is to forge strong alliances with diverse partners to chart a sustainable future for food and agriculture. Tyler serves on the advisory committee for the Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education, the Chicago Wilderness Agriculture Committee, and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor’s Equity and Food Insecurity Initiative. He is also a previous McCloy Fellow and Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. Tyler earned his BSc in agricultural business and economics from Iowa State University and an MSc in environmental studies and sustainability science from Lund University in Sweden. As a fourth-generation farmer, he operates a diversified direct-to-market specialty crop farm and apiary in his spare time in Campton Hills, IL.

Sam Bretz
Projects and Office Coordinator, Illinois Agri-Food Alliance

In her most recent role, Sam was a Sales Account Manager for Chicago-based Local Foods managing their over 50+ farm and food sales accounts to Chicagoland restaurants, colleges, caterers, stores, and consumers. Previously she was with The Roof Crop, LLC having started as a farm worker and quickly ascending to be their Sales and Operations Manager handling accounting, contracts, and logistics. She has personal experience in food and agriculture, ranging from restaurants and hospitality, to urban agriculture production, to food aggregation, marketing, and sales. She’s developed a strong business and relationship-focused approach to her work that elevates organizational operations, communications, and network engagements. Sam has a BASc in Business Management from Governors State University. As well as a culinary arts degree from Joliet Junior College.

Shanell Rainey – Jacob
Careers Coordinator, Illinois Agri-Food Alliance

Shanell is a seasoned workforce development professional with an impressive track record in career coaching, employment services, training and curriculum development, and program management. She was most recently the program manager of the Impact Culinary and Hatch-Made Meals program with The Hatchery Chicago/ICNC, working to connect young adults ages 16-24 to opportunities in culinary & hospitality via a 12-week training program. Her professional career has taken her across Chicagoland working with underserved youth and adults in all areas of the region (especially south and westside communities). She has extensive experience cultivating employer and school relationships, managing program budgets and expenses, as well as facilitating programs and resources for youth and adults around job readiness, student internships and on-the-job training opportunities, interview training, and more.