Mission: DeKalb County Community Gardens empowers Dekalb County residents to access healthy, sustainable foods through community education and participation.
DCCG manages over 15 acres of growing space. Since 2012, DCCG has produced over 200,000 pounds of food for local food pantries, day care centers, schools, community meal locations, senior citizen centers and housing units, as well as to the Meals on Wheels program.
DCCG has gardens all over the county, with over 200 raised beds as well as large acreages. The organization has created working partnerships with neighborhoods, schools, non-profit organizations, municipalities, County government, park districts, forest preserve district, businesses, hospitals, family health centers, foundations, and churches. DCCG is also working with Northern Illinois University, Northwestern Medicine, Live Healthy DeKalb County and local businesses and corporations; DCCG has over 70 partnerships and sponsors. DCCG is also creating a community orchard and a food forest. DCCG is working with partners to create a Community Food and Education Hub. DCCG has set up seed libraries with local public libraries. Local Flavors dinners are also sponsored by DCCG; dinners that connect local chefs with local growers, to promote healthy local eating. In 2020, DCCG launched the newly-minted Genoa Area Community Food Hub, which will serve the local and outlying areas and the 5,000+ residents who live there.
DCCG reaches hundreds in the County through the school and community programs, food donated, educational programs, seed saving and seed swapping events, local flavors dinners, and more. DCCG is a unique organization that brings together people who care about the environment, health and nutrition, education, economic development, and building stronger sustainable communities together in the gardens. DCCG is providing an alternative to the usual why of addressing hunger with emergency relief, instead DCCG is about providing access so everyone can be in control of their own food and reach a sustainable way to healthy food for themselves and their families.
DCCG is made up of several programs that serve the varied needs of the community, including:
Community Gardens: has established 58 gardens, to date, throughout DeKalb County for people to volunteer, learn and access fresh food, plus gardens in DeKalb, Genoa and Sycamore with rental plots for people to have their own private garden. Food grown in the community gardens not only feeds local volunteers and residents but is additionally a source for food pantries and the Grown Mobile Program.
Walnut Grove Vocational Farm and Prairie: provides innovative work opportunities and career options for adults with developmental disabilities by providing agricultural training and employment in integrated settings.
Grow Mobile: launched with a “seed grant” from the American Public Health Association, AETNA Insurance, and the Association of Counties, the Grow Mobile delivers produce and other healthy food options to both rural and urban food deserts of DeKalb County.
Box of Hope: a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program providing wholesome, fresh, local sustainably-grown vegetables for individuals and families over the 20-week growing season.
Community Growers: provides training and employment for individuals who are low income, homeless, and/ or live with developmental disabilities.
Education Programs: works in partnership with Northwestern Medicine and public schools, to provide educational programming related to gardening and nutritional health, delivered in these settings as well as regionally at public libraries and other public events.
Board of Directors
Board President: Jackie DiNatale
Board Treasurer: Ellingsworth Webb
Board Secretary: Emily McKee
Elizabeth Garcia Ramirez