Who is Urban Farmer?

It all started way back in 1948…

…back when we had an honest-to-goodness working farm on the outskirts of the bustling metropolis of Chicago. As one of the largest specialty vegetable farms in the Midwest, we worked the land, bringing fresh produce to market. And even though we’ve grown out of that first urban farm, we haven’t forgotten what it means to be an Urban Farmer. It means working with honesty, integrity and a dedication to providing the freshest products.

About the Team…


John M. Keigher

Prior to his role as CEO, John was an Owner and Director at Midwest Transit Equipment, Inc., the largest bus distributor in North America.
He retired after 25 years at the company.

John has 25+ years of relevant senior management experience with strong emphasis on sales, operations and culture & team building through innovative leadership.

John earned his Bachelor of Computer Science Degree from Governors State University; he has served on the Computer Advisory Committee for Kankakee Community College, where he has taught computer programming courses.

He served on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including the United Way of Kankakee and Iroquois County, Harbor House Kankakee County Coalition against Domestic Violence, Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce and the Kankakee Community College Foundation Board.

John was honored as co-volunteer of the year in 2013 for his work with the United Way of Kankakee and Iroquois County.


Brad Castongia

Brad Castongia has been in the food manufacturing business for 25 years spending 18+ years with Del Monte Fresh Produce.

With a passion for maintenance and engineering he worked his way up through the ranks gaining experience in all aspects of the business and managing the local facility for 5+ years before becoming the Sr. Director of Operations overseeing 11 facilities and building 2 new sites.

Brad is a hands on manager who seeks operational excellence with a teamwork approach.


Sonia Nakhasi

Prior to joining Urban Farmer, Sonia held the role of FSQA Manager at Aryzta’s largest bakery in the USA. Sonia has over 30 years of experience in Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory, serving in various management positions in food companies that include Givaudan, Heartland Harvest and Bunge Foods. Sonia has a Master’s Degree in Food Science from the University of Maryland and a Bachelors degree in Food Engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She is a professional member of the Institute of Food Technologists.


Dawn Africano

Previously, Dawn served as Materials Manager at Dole Fresh Vegetable and held the titles of Quality Assurance Manager, Procurement Manager and District Sales Manager at Del Monte Fresh Produce. She also worked in quality assurance and food processing roles at Handi-Pak Foods.


Jason Hutchison

Prior to coming to Urban Farmer, Jason was a Quality Supervisor at Little Lady Foods, and served as Quality Assurance Manager at Bay Valley Foods. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from DePauw University in Mathematics and Biology.


Cynthia Jacobson

Cynthia Jacobson came to Urban Farmer from Riverside Medical Center where she was the Finance Manager. Prior to that, she was the senior accountant for Midwest Transit Equipment, the largest bus dealership in the United States. Cindy has worked in the private and public sector as a payroll supervisor, senior accountant and auditor. She has worked in the farm industry for over 20 years as a financial record specialist for Farm Business Farm Management. Cindy has also supervised the accounting functions for farm enterprises, an investment company, insurance agency and real estate development company. Cindy earned a Business degree from Kankakee Community College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Governors State University.

Director of Maintenance

Steve Vaughn

Before joining the Urban Farmer team Steve was Maintenance Manager for Del Monte Fresh Produce.

Steve has been in Industrial Maintenance for more than 25 years and 13 of them for food manufacturing companies.

Working his way up from a technician to managing departments for companies such as Unocal 76, Rohm and Haas, Del Monte Fresh Produce, RVR recycling.

Steve has a hands on approach for team management, equipment repairs and production up time.

Steve studied Electrical/Electronic design at ITT Technical Institute.

Reach out to see how we can help you.
Call us at 815-468-7200 to get started.