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Walnut Grove Vocational Farm Greenhouse 'Demolished' By Storm

DeKalb County Community Gardens

The Walnut Grove Vocational Farm is part of DeKalb County Community Gardens. The facility, located outside Kirkland, grows fresh produce for free distribution to food insecure neighborhoods in northern Illinois. Jackie DiNatale is the communications director for DCCG and she said the Monday storm looked like a black wall of debris as it tore a path through the farm. 

Credit DeKalb County Community Gardens

"So as it traveled on the south side of the house, it veered a little bit behind the house where we had two greenhouses," she said. "And Greenhouse One has pretty much been demolished."

Clean-up is underway at the farm, but the damage to the property is estimated at $50,000. Trees are down and the farm is currently without electricity.

"One of the things that's hindering us a little bit is that we have no power and we are running a little bit on the generator," she said. "We just use that generator to hook ourselves up to that water well."

DiNatale said water is "vital" to the farm and their ability to grow and harvest produce but right now they are working with a limited water supply. Still, she was optimistic.

"Once we get full power back, we'll be ready to go, but right now we're making do with what we have."

Though optimistic, DiNatale is realistic. The farm is not able to sell plants out of their greenhouses and they have had to shift their programming.

"Walnut Grove programming includes the vocational farm which is a program for young adults with developmental disabilities," she said. "Right now they can't come to the farm to learn agricultural and horticultural skills."

Credit DeKalb County Community Gardens

She said these setbacks are temporary, but they need donations and volunteers. 

"We welcome donations and 'in kind' services like tree removal and help rebuilding the greenhouses."

To donate, visit the DeKalb County Community Gardens website. To volunteer, click here