Dr. Shemuel Israel, President

Shemuel Israel. D.C.

Shemuel Israel. D.C.

Dr. Shemuel Israel has practiced chiropractic for 28 years. He specializes in biological health care and uses chiropractic, functional diagnostic medicine, nutrition, lifestyle, and life design. He applies or refers to various supportive techniques to help people restore healing energy relationships and free themselves from physical and emotional pain without using drugs or medicines.  As a leading scribe with the Righteous Branch of African Hebrews, Dr. Israel has given many presentations on spiritual related topics; he is a former Judo instructor; and, he has served as a lodge monitor for the Black Gnostic Studies (Ida B. Wells Grand Lodge) in the Midwest region. He has also served on the Board of Advisors for Uraeus: The Journal of Unconscious Life.  Dr. Israel served as associate editor forHistory, the Bible, and the Black Man magazine (1978-1985), publisher and editor of Return to the Sourcenewsletter and magazine (1981 to 1985), freelance writer in the Chicago Defender and the Atlanta Voice, and as a health columnist in the North Lawndale Community News (2000 – 2003).  Dr. Israel joined the North Lawndale Greening Committee in 2000 while serving as communication committee chairman of Small Grants, a neighborhood re-granting and improvement organization. He interviewed members of the greening committee and wrote articles about their gardens in the North Lawndale Community News.  Dr. Israel was an active member of the Millennium Team which partnered with the North Lawndale Greening Committee, Sinai Community Institute, and the Illinois Department of Public Health to bring a healthy eating and physical activity program to North Lawndale. The Millennium Team later became the Center for Health Promotion and Enhancement and created the Millennium Garden. As president of the Center for Health Promotion and Enhancement, Dr. Israel developed a “Youth Health Ambassador” program to teach young teenagers to become peer-educators. In 2009, he became president of the North Lawndale Greening Committee.  Dr. Israel is a former board member of the North Lawndale Small Grants Human Development Corporation and the North Lawndale Planning and Development Council. He currently serves on the three other boards: the Chicago Honey Co-op, NeighborSpace, and the Empowered Citizens of North Lawndale.  Dr. Israel is actively engaged in promoting health through the growth and ingestion of quality food and is a member of the Bionutrient Food Association.

Fred Mitchell, Vice President

Fred Mitchell

Fred Mitchell


After retiring in 1989 from the Veterans Administration, Fred became a Community Activist. Fred participated in the Chicago Police CAPS and EAV-I programs. Working with the North Lawndale Community News and numerous other community nonprofit organizations, Fred found his niche with the North Lawndale Greening Committee where he became Vice-President in 2009. He was also an active member of the Millennium Team for healthy eating and physical activity which later became the Center for Health Promotion and Enhancement. Fred has received numerous awards and accolades from many community nonprofit organizations such as HICA, Strategic Human Services, Helping Hand, and Homan Square Community Advisory Council.

Annamaria Leon, Director, Education and Outreach

Annamaria León completed her Permaculture Design Course Certification under the tutelage of Peter Bane, Keith Johnson, and Rhonda Baird in Bloomington, IN in Fall 2011. Upon completion of the course she assisted in the redesign of the gardens at Inspiration Kitchens (2011-2012), the public landscaping along East Garfield Park’s business corridor at Lake and Kedzie, the Martin Luther King Peace Path in North Lawndale, and was instrumental in bringing the Ten Thousand Ripples Peace Project to various North Lawndale sites.  Besides being a permaculture designer and teacher, Annamaria is also an edible landscaper, Traditional Chinese Feng Shui consultant, and received training as a Master Gardener and Master Composter through UIC – Extension.  Wishing to understand the principles behind Urban Agriculture’s approach to production and farming in the city, she completed the Certificate in Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Horticulture and a Certificate in Environmental Literacy – Roots of Success – UC Berkeley at the Arturo Velasquez Institute and Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest Program in October 2013. During her training she interned at the Vocational Rehabilitation Impact Center (VRIC), a division of Cook County Sheriff’s Department where she assisted the Head Grower in all areas of food production and post harvest processing, maintained an integrated aquaculture system, and installed ornamental, native, and meditation gardens. Part of the internship was to interface with non-violent inmates and engage them in proper gardening procedures and horticulture therapy.  Current projects include collaborating with Lawndale Christian Development Corporation in the ongoing Greening of 16th Street between Kedzie and Pulaski, installing an educational permaculture-based planting design in Millennium park with Christy Webber Landscapes,  assisting Christy Webber Landscapes with the development of their Edible Landscaping Division,  assisting with the development of a Chicago Chapter of the Bionutrient Food Association to promote high nutrient dense food production, and assisting Pacific Garden Mission with the development of their greenhouse operations and fruit orchard.  Annamaria integrates beauty, bounty, ecological peace and harmony in all her planting designs.

Charles Banks, Farm Manager

Charles Banks retired from Peoples Energy after 31 years of employment. It was then that he decided to pursue his passion and joined several garden committees. During his childhood, Banks work with his father. They raised vegetables and picked cotton to support his family. Banks joined the North Lawndale Greening Committee in 2001.

Doretha Penn, Secretary

Mrs. Penn has been a resident of North Lawndale since 1958.  She completed the Greencorp course in 1997 along with other members of her block. Mrs. Penn is one of the original members of the North Lawndale Greening Committee and serves as secretary. A longtime community activist, Penn serves on several boards in the community and is the past block club president of the 3800 W. Polk Street block. She has also received numerous awards including the Friends of the Park award.

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