Inside Naperville’s McDonald Farm

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In 1992, Lenore Clow McDonald donated her 60-acre farm to The Conservation Foundation with a vision that would stand that test of time.

“Lenore did not want to see her farm growing houses, she wanted to keep it a farm. So she donated the farm to The Conservation Foundation with the restrictions that we keep it on some form of agriculture, that we do lots of education with kids, and we protect it for conservation objectives,” said Brook McDonald, President & CEO of The Conservation Foundation.

Today that wish has been granted, and it all takes place at the McDonald Farm, located on Knoch Knolls Road in Naperville.

The Conservation Foundation, along with the Green Earth Institute and the Resiliency Institute all work together here in pursuit of education and stewardship of land.

“We’re just trying to demonstrate in as many ways as we can and give people examples of what they can do at home or at work of how to be good stewards of the environment. So when they come to McDonald Farm we want to them leave with at least one good idea that they feel they can implement at home or at work,” added McDonald.

Those ideas come from programs put on by The Conservation Foundation and the Resiliency Institute at their education center.

“Even if it’s as simple as putting a rain barrel on their downspout, we sell rain barrels here. It can be as simple as that, or it can be more complicated as putting in a permeable driveway or solar panels,” said McDonald.

The Green Earth Institute also welcomes visitors to be part of their community supported agriculture co-op that sells organically grown vegetables to shareholders.

Providing a multitude of resources to help further their mission.

“People understand that the environment needs a little helps, so we’re sort of past the stage of trying to convince people that the environment needs help. What people need to know is what can I do? And we try to provide simple and complex answers to that question,” said McDonald.

Though the McDonald farm is private land, it is open to visitors Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.