About Metropolitan Farms

Industry defining in design and operation. Metropolitan Farms’ mission is to grow fresh food in the city where it is eaten. We believe this will result in a healthier, more secure and environmentally sustainable food system.

Meet The Team

Benjamin Elliot Kant


He is a dreamer and doer who relishes building Metropolitan Farms, turning vision into reality. Metro Farms solves problems, and also demonstrates how biological technologies can bring the natural world closer to the urban one. Benjamin has a deep affinity for aquatic creatures and plants. He also has a background in finance and management with degrees from the University of Illinois in Chicago (UIC), the University of St. Andrews, Brandeis University and is a LEED AP.

Eugene Shockey Funke


A master problem solver with a unique skill set, Shockey is the heart of Metropolitan Farms’ operations. He is the architect of the aquaponic system, oversees the greenhouse and conducts research and development on an ongoing basis. A graduate of Colorado College, Shockey is ServeSafe Manager certified and has completed advanced training in aquaponics at Nelson and Pade in Wisconsin. His experience includes managing a gourmet food shop, guiding hiking teams through the Alaskan wilderness and lifesaving work as a ski service emergency medical technician.

Ashley Luciani

Greenhouse Manager

Back in 2008, Ashley decided to take an adventure! She hopped on The California Zephyr which would eventually take her to the city she would fall in love with, Chicago. After learning about finely crafted cheeses and the importance of knowing your food’s origin at Pastoral Artisan Cheese Bread & Wine, she knew she wanted to get her hands dirty with local food production. Since then, she has interned with rooftop farms like Verdura and Uncommon Ground, facilitated Peterson Garden Project’s “Grow to Give” donation beds at the Vedgewater Community Garden, and received training through the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener program in order to continue to provide gardening education throughout Chicago. Ashley is excited to be a part of Metropolitan Farms team as the Greenhouse Manager, and hopes to empower and educate others about sustainable farming practices in the years to come.

Andrea Raftery

Marketing & Administration Manager

Greenhouse Grower

Andrea’s idealistic quest to save the world begins with feeding it. She studies human culture and believes that it starts with and revolves around food. Andrea’s journey to local food production began when she was working at a cafe that cared about sourcing their supplies locally. This inspired her to grow her own herbs and vegetables, because it really doesn’t get more local than right outside your front door. After volunteering at community gardens, Chicago Market, The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Openlands, and Peterson Garden Project, she heard of an internship opportunity at a new farm that was built right in her neighborhood. She feels elated watching plants grow, and digs the challenges of understanding connections in an aquaponic system which sustainably grows food and provides a realistic approach to improving the way we eat.