Suburban Edible Forest Garden

Whole Foods Market Edible Forest Garden

The Conservation Foundation's McDonald Farm, 10S404 Knoch Knolls Road, Naperville, IL 60565

A permaculture demonstration for how suburban yards can be transformed into edible forest gardens

The installation of the FIRST edible forest garden in Naperville began on The Conservation Foundation’s McDonald Farm in 2013. McDonald farm is a 60-acre farm surrounded by suburban development, preserved for conservation, education, and agriculture.  Over 8,000 people visit the farm annually to participate in activities and learn about renewable energy, water conservation techniques, native landscaping, green roofing, organic farming, and now, how to transform a suburban lawn into an edible forest garden. The Conservation Foundation, a 41-year-old non-profit land and watershed protection organization, owns the farm and granted us the space to develop this project.

The Whole Foods Market Edible Forest Garden (135’x50’) was designed to demonstrate how a suburban lawn can be transitioned into an edible forest garden. The design incorporated existing trees, re-purposed on-site materials, and re-routed the water from the farm's vegetable washing station to irrigate the site through a connected swale/berm system. The garden is now home to 12 trees, 73 shrubs, 14 vines, countless herbaceous and ground cover plants, bridges, a rock garden, rain gardens, raised bed, herb spiral, bean tepee, buckthorn arbors, and a materials depot with kiwi and hop vines. It is a demonstration and educational programming tool for how we can transform suburban lawns, grow food security, and have beautiful, self-maintaining landscapes. Whole Foods Market Naperville has generously sponsored $5,014 toward this forest garden project.

Please VOLUNTEER to be a Forest Garden Friend to help us manage & maintain this edible forest garden. This is an opportunity to learn about permaculture, nourish yourself with fresh air and time in nature, perform a community service, and be rewarded with foraged food!

Learn about our other projects and register for our Permaculture Forest Gardener Series to learn how you can design edible forest gardens for  personal and community resilience.