The Conservation Foundation seeks to be good stewards of the environment

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Since its founding in 1972 and through the support of more than 6,000 members, The Conservation Foundation works to improve the health of communities by preserving and restoring land, growing healthy, organic food for the community, protecting rivers and watersheds, and promoting stewardship of the environment through community outreach and education. 

The Conservation Foundation’s McDonald Farm, nestled in the subdivisions of southeast Naperville, hosts youth camps and is home to its certified organic farming operation, Green Earth Harvest. TCF has educated more than 20,000 children with hands-on learning through environmental education and grown local, nutritious food for over 15,000 community members.

Every year, the Naperville community can participate in “Waking Up the Farm”

Official “Wake Up Day” happens in April, when volunteers and staff begin to prepare Lenore’s Backyard Children’s Garden for campers. Registration for their outdoor educational programs, including week-long summer camps and after-school programs, is now open and filling up quickly!

Waking up the rest of the 49 acres at McDonald Farm is in the hands of the nine-person Green Earth Harvest farm crew. Beginning in early April, they will actively work to sustainably grow over 85 varieties of vegetables and herbs for food pantries and Community Supported Agriculture program subscribers. Fresh from the farm, certified organic produce, UPick days, and farm events are all a part of their farmshare subscription program, which kicks off in mid-May. There’s still space to secure a share of the seasonal harvest! 

What’s new at The Conservation Foundation in 2024

Green Earth Harvest is working to strengthen our local food system and provide hard-to-find fresh, nutritious produce to food pantries in the area. They are looking for funding to support their Farm to Pantry program, which grows for the pantries’ specific produce needs, guaranteeing their patrons have fresh, nutritious food options. Contact Jennifer Hammer (, V.P. of Land and Watershed, to learn more about the program and how you can support the Farm to Pantry project. 

Their Youth Education Program is excited to have received DuPage County grants enabling expanded programming to teen and adult groups focusing on mindfulness and wellness practices. Hiring two new bilingual educators will also enable TCF to reach more children in the Spanish-speaking community through their Mighty Acorns program in schools.

How to get involved with community happenings at the Naperville farm

There are numerous volunteer opportunities on and off the farm, including Wednesday Weeders, Corporate Work Days, and River Sweeps. TCF’s annual native plant and organic veggie and herb seedling Plant Sale is on Saturday, May 11, and, back by popular demand, is their free, monthly Music on the Farm series beginning on June 9. Visit their website to learn more about the farm, their programs, and opportunities to get involved and have fun on Naperville’s own organic farm