DeKalb County Community Gardens

Free Tax Help Available Throughout Northern Illinois

Feb 11, 2021
Genoa Area Community Food Hub

It's income tax season and the DeKalb County Community Gardens is one of several organizations offering free tax prep help.

The nonprofit is partnering with AARP and the IRS to provide free tax assistance to anyone, especially those who are:

A 'Toddler Garden' Is Coming To DeKalb

Dec 21, 2020
Jenna Dooley

The DeKalb County Community Gardens isn't just about food. They also have a hand in a new collaboration called The Basics Toddler Garden Project. Spokesperson Jackie DiNatale said the garden in Welsh Park will be for kids up to age five -- and their caregivers -- and fits in with the overall DCCG mission.

DeKalb County Community Gardens

On the afternoon of August 10, a tornado ripped through Walnut Grove Vocational Farm in Kirkland. It took down trees, destroyed crops and demolished one of the farm's greenhouses.

"It looks a little strange out there," said Jacki DiNatale. She's the communications director for DeKalb County Community Gardens. "It's kind of like, you know, something was there, but you can't quite put your finger on it right away."

But a new greenhouse has been ordered and DiNatale said it should arrive within three weeks.

Dana Chaplin of Preservation Heart Photography

A DeKalb chef is partnering with a nonprofit to supply residents with warm meals.  

The DeKalb County Community Gardens started serving “Pay-As-You’re-Able” meals at the Genoa Area Community Food Hub back in January.

The plan was for this to take place monthly but COVID-19 changed that.

Heather Edwards is the associate director of DCCG. She said the organization has worked with personal chef Rudy Galindo before.

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco

COVID-19 has caused disruptions in how families get their food. That’s one reason why more people are growing their own. 

The concept of a victory garden dates to the Second World War. Food was in high demand, and canned food was rationed for the war effort. Sarah Vogel is an educator at the University of Illinois Extension. She said the federal government encouraged citizens to grow their own food and provided lots of information on how to do so.

Photo provided by DCCG

DeKalb County Community Gardens is a nonprofit organization dedicated to getting fresh produce to people who are experiencing food insecurity. According to the DCCG, 20% of children and 14% of adults in the county deal with it and the numbers are going up because of the pandemic. But the DCCG is using extra resources such as the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program to make sure everyone has access to healthy food.

Counting Crime In DeKalb's Largest Apartments

Jul 26, 2019
Sarah Jesmer

This piece is part three in a series about housing conditions in DeKalb. Tune in Friday, August 2, for the last update in this series.

Last week, we took a look at the controversial history between the city of DeKalb and Hunter Properties, a large local rental property owner. A network of DeKalb community efforts are addressing crimes reported at apartments, which have recently been under the microscope.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Whether it's Steve Jobs building a computer in his garage or Hector Boyardee cooking pasta at the Plaza Hotel, many American brands and businesses start from humble origins.  Current start-ups seek to replicate that success, but they don't do it alone.

In this Friday Forum, WNIJ's Chase Cavanaugh discusses the groups that help northern Illinois small businesses get started.


Several choirs from the DeKalb community and Northern Illinois University will raise their voices to raise money for the nonprofit DeKalb County Community Gardens in the third annual "Make Our Garden Grow" concert Sunday in NIU’s Boutell Concert Hall.

Eric Johnson, director of Choral Activities at NIU, says he started the concerts with two visions in mind.

Austin Cliffe

Bees, bats, and other animals that perform the critical job of pollinating plants are in the spotlight this week. We observe National Pollinators Week by donning our beekeeping veil and joining Lynnea Laskowski as she takes care of her hives. She’s a volunteer beekeeper with DeKalb County Community Gardens -- she and her bees spoke with WNIJ's Susan Stephens.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

Area efforts to combat hunger are the focus of a concert this weekend at NIU. 

“Make Our Garden Grow” will feature NIU, high school and community choruses.  NIU Choral Director Eric Johnson is the man behind the event.  WNIJ’s Guy Stephens asked him what he was hoping to accomplish.

Jacquilyn Stephens / WNIJ

A new DeKalb-area group is looking into ways to connect small farms with a big regional market.

Restaurants, stores, and even schools say they want more locally raised food. A growing number of farmers say they want to supply it. The trick is getting them together -- and at a price that works for everyone. That’s where a regional food hub could help.

Dan Kenney convened the first meeting on the idea Thursday in DeKalb. He sees it as an economic engine that could include commercial kitchens, a distribution center, and great training opportunities.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The "ramen noodle diet" may once have been a badge of honor for the college student on a strict budget. But now, with changing demographics and skyrocketing education costs, “food insecurity” is being seen as a serious problem on campuses across the nation.