Volunteer Spotlight – September 2015 – Joel Maurer



September 2015 – Joel Maurer


At DCCG we cannot thank our volunteers enough for the sense of community and service they provide. Often times we have a volunteer who goes above and beyond for DCCG and exemplifies the true spirit of service of volunteerism. Joel Maurer, a volunteer who lends his time and knowledge all over DeKalb County, is one of those people.

Living by the best piece of advice he has ever received “Show some kindness to others, work hard, and finish your tasks.” Joel not only volunteers at DCCG but with the Network of Nations, Medevac, and the Sycamore Food Pantry as a director. Joel says he naturally gravitated towards volunteering at DCCG due to the garden’s vicinity to his home. He puts in a lot of hours in the garden on NIU’s Campus, aptly titled the Communiversity Garden. From weeding and spreading mulch, to troubleshooting the water access, to helping harvest fresh produce for the food pantries of DeKalb, Joel is aiding DCCG mission in countless ways. He says he enjoys seeing the goals come to fruition.

Joel’s start in garden work came from a childhood of farm work. However, he says it is not necessary to have gardening skills if you want to volunteer at DCCG. To this day his favorite thing about DCCG is working in the soil and doing hands on team projects. He enjoys growing food, helping other volunteers and helping international students at NIU feel at home. When Joel is not helping someone in the community time he spends his personal running, biking, and singing in a Gospel Quartet. We just want to say: Thank you Joel, for all that you do, not only at DCCG, but for the entire DeKalb Community!

DeKalb County Community Gardens’ Local Flavors Harvest Benefit

Sunday September 20th, at 4pm and 6:30pm will be DCCG’s Annual Local Flavors Harvest benefit at Tapa La Luna!

A unique event that people who have attended in the past look forward to each year. Enjoy the beautiful and community atmosphere of Tapa La Luna. Enjoy the wonderful music of Craig Mathey. Enjoy a creative, original, and delicious meal orchestrated by the amazing Chef Chad. He will be using ingredients grown locally by DCCG and area farmers. It is always one of the most talked about evenings of the year! Don’t miss out, get your tickets today, because seating is limited. Thanks to the great work of Alex with the Egyptian and www.dekalbcountytickets.com, you can purchase your tickets on line this year! follow the link:



Thank you to our lead sponsors for this event: Ken Spears Construction, Kish Health Systems, Dawn Equipment, Lehan’s Drug Stores, and Hy-Vee. Also thank you to our lead partners this growing season: NB&T, DeKalb/Sycamore Chevrolet, Doug and Lynn Roberts Family Foundation, DeKalb County Community Foundation, DeKalb County Farm Bureau, and Live Healthy DeKalb County. Thank you to all who have helped in the gardens this growing season. It has been another bountiful season, and made even better by all of the fantastic community support! Together we are making a lasting difference in the lives of so many.

Look forward to seeing you on the 20th.




DCCG Mums Are Ready!

mumsinrowsSOLD OUT! Thank you everyone!! Remember us in the spring for your bedding plant needs! And remember Walnut Grove Vocational Farm! Plants, vegetables, mums, berries, and more!! Help others while you help yourself! Thank You!!The mums are ready! Get your locally grown mums, purple fountain grass, and flowering kale for fall from the DeKalb County Community Gardens (DCCG). The mums are beautiful and filled with buds. Get beautiful fall color for your home and yard, and support the building of the Walnut Grove Vocational Farm for individuals with special needs. Visit the DeKalb County Community Gardens website now to learn about all they are doing.

mumsonracksPrint off the Mum order form here and mail it in. It’s an easy way to help close the food gap in DeKalb County and support great farm experiences for individuals with special needs. Help to provide them with the training they need to live a fuller and more meaningful life.

Volunteer Spotlight: Tracy Coyle

Tracy 1

“The part that I love is that even though I am one person, the amount of impact that I have is great. With any great cause, even if you are only one person, your efforts matter.”

Tracy Coyle, Malta Elementary School Librarian, grew up with a grandmother who had a passion for gardening. “She had flowers and vegetables everywhere, along every fence line, around the house [and] under the trees. She would give me bunches of flowers each time I visited and I loved it,” Tracy says. Her grandmother’s green thumb would inspire Tracy to continue that love of the outdoors through photographing nature, camping with family, and gardening and volunteering with the DeKalb Community Gardens.

Tracy has contributed to the garden’s by being a point person of the Malta Elementary School Community Garden. She says her favorite part has always been the children, “I love sharing my knowledge with the students. They are so eager to learn and to help. They love every part about the gardens from the digging in the dirt, to planting and harvesting. Our kids at Malta are very much involved with our gardens.” In fact, the students work with Tracy year round to keep Malta Community Gardens thriving. “The 5th graders start our seeds, the rest of the classes plant all our beds, and our Malta families sign up to take care of the gardens once school is done for the summer.”

She is able to keep families involved in the gardens by engaging their children, and creating organized sign-up sheets for families during the summer season. Tracy sees this as an easy way to plan for the year and in the long run, save time. “I don’t feel like I spend too much time,” she says, “so a little work in the beginning, makes the summer awesome”. However, Tracy attributes her main success to the support of the Malta community including the Malta elementary School Principal, PTO, and families.

Thank-you for supporting the DeKalb Community Gardens with your hard work and organization Tracy! We would not be the same without you.

Fun Facts!

  • Tracy has photographed over 90 birds as of June 2015
  • Tracy is celebrating her 20th year at the Kishwaukee Family YMCA this August! Congratulations!

Tracy Selfie

Facebook Buzz

DCCG is taking orders for installations of new raised gardens. If you would like to have a garden next spring, now is the time to order it from DCCG. DCCG is taking orders up to November 1st, 2015. So please pass the word and get your order in today. Visit: www.dekalbgardens.org and send us an email to start the process.. Remember by November 1st! Thanks, ... See MoreSee Less

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Students who signed up for Make a Difference Day helped to accomplish a lot at the NIU Communiversity Garden! ... See MoreSee Less

Make a Difference Day was a huge success! We got tons of much needed work done. THANK YOU to all who made it out!

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Harvest season, always a beautiful time. ... See MoreSee Less

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Tonight! DeKalb County Community Gardens will be represented as Dan Kenney talks about food insecurity in our county. You still have plenty of time to join the discussion! Wirtz Hall 101! ... See MoreSee Less

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Attention all volunteers interested in helping out at Farmers Markets! We need y…

Attention all volunteers interested in helping out at Farmers Markets! We need your help! This Saturday is St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s first Thrive Farmers Market from 11-2. If you’re interested in working the DCCG table, please e-mail Amy Stratton at astratton1@niu.edu! For more information on the Thrive Market, check out : http://www.thrivemarket.org/

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Over 300 mums started at Walnut Grove Vocational Farm this weekend. Pre-order yo…

Over 300 mums started at Walnut Grove Vocational Farm this weekend. Pre-order your mums for the fall! Enjoy beautiful mums and support a initiative to provide outdoor agriculture experiences for individuals with special needs. Mums are $8.95 each or three for $25. We have lavender, yellow, gold, and pink. If you want to order yours send us a message via FB or through our website: www.dekalbgardens.org. A big thank you to Heather Edwards for her guidance and for being our greenhouse manager. Some of you may remember Heather from Ozzie’s greenhouse on Hinckley Road. Thank you Heather for helping the Walnut Grove Project. And thank you to all who order their locally raised mums this year from Walnut Grove!

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Join us for our regular workdays! Mayor's Garden (Franklin and 5th) on Wednesda…

Join us for our regular workdays!
Mayor’s Garden (Franklin and 5th) on Wednesdays from 4-6

Outreach/Community Orchard (2500 N Annie Glidden Rd.) on Thursdays from 4:30-6:30

NIU Communiversity Gardens (520 Garden Rd.) on Tuesdays 4-6, Thursdays 2-4 and Sundays 2-4

And for those NATIVE plant lovers: Join us Walnut Grove’s Prairie Creation project on Tuesdays from 9-12!

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Hello. I (Nathan) am at Dolce Vita/Kish Health System Garden. I just need 2-3 pe…

Hello. I (Nathan) am at Dolce Vita/Kish Health System Garden. I just need 2-3 people to help me pick strawberries and peas. I’m going to pick for just over an hour, or until rain. No pressure. This is a short notice opportunity. I’m going to pick either way. If you feel like helping, you can take some home. The majority will be donated. Just 2-3 people at the most. Thank you.

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Great write up by Patty Ruback of the local food efforts here in DeKalb County!…

Great write up by Patty Ruback of the local food efforts here in DeKalb County! Local foods work is strong in DeKalb County and getting stronger!

Hyper-Local: The Good Food Scene in DeKalb, Illinois
Good Food on Every Table recently invited readers across the country to share their stories about the Good Food scene in their hometowns. We want to thank Patty Rubeck of DeKalb, Illinois — founder…

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Join the Totes of Hope Program! DCCG and NB&T are partnering to provide more hea…

Join the Totes of Hope Program! DCCG and NB&T are partnering to provide more healthy vegetables to neighbors in need this summer. Every week NB&T is sponsoring a tote bag of fresh vegetables grown by DCCG for 14 County food pantries. Also for every new checking or savings account opened at a NB&T branch between now and the end of October, NB&T will donate $5 to DCCG to help continue and support the access to fresh vegetables for all. Please spread the word, and as always, thank you for being part of the solution, if we all work together no one needs to experience food insecurity! Thank You!

Timeline Photos
We had a great time sharing our Fresh Totes of Hope for the 2015 Ladies Night Out in downtown Sycamore on Thursday! Thank you to everyone who donated to breast cancer research, and we hope those veggie scrubbers and seeds from DeKalb County Community Gardens come in handy this year!

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Progress is being made daily at Walnut Grove. We have worked with the Sycanore S…

Progress is being made daily at Walnut Grove. We have worked with the Sycanore School District LifevSchool program and Gracie Centet participants. Ron Cress has led the prairie restoration and Gene Heinsohn is leading the building effort. DCCG has been planting several 1,000s of feet of garden. Tomorrow Heather Edwards will lead the planting of mums to prepare for fall mum sales. There are many opportunities to get involved and volunteer. Every Tuesday morning Ron will lead the work for restoration of the 10 acre savannah prairie, starting this weekendcSteve Miller will be leading the work of building a chicken tractor and house. There is something to do every day at Walnut Grove, come out and be part of building this new opportunity for people with special needs. It is by working together that we make the biggest difference!

Visit the DCCG website: www.dekalbgardens.org

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