About The Farm
In 2015 Wild Beet Farm was started through the support of the University of Illinois' New Illinois Farmers Program and grew on 1/4 acre of their St. Charles IL incubator space. In January 2016 we bought a house on 2 acres in the northwest suburb of Indian Creek, Illinois and are grateful to be growing there for the foreseeable future. Currently we cultivate 1/2 acre of our space and grow over 70 varieties of vegetables and focus on colorful, unique varieties.
Working in partnership with nature is essential for the success of our crops and the vitality of the land we grow on. This year our vegetables are Certified Naturally Grown. We protect our crops by surrounding them with a variety of flowers to attract beneficial insects. There are no synthetic pesticides and we use hand tools are used to control weeds. We value and offer for sale highly nutritious edible "weeds" including lambs quarters, amaranth, and purslane. We incorporate low-till practices and promote plant growth and vitality with OMRI-approved (approved for certified organic agriculture) fertilizers. Compost is used to amend the soil and promote the growth of beneficial microbes which nurture healthy plants.
Emily Daniels-Lake, Co-Founder & Farmer
Jen Daniels-Lake, Co-Founder & Farmer's Wife
Logan McFadden, Farm Apprentice 2016
Shout out to our worker shares who put in a lot of sweat to help our veggies grow!
About The Farmer
Emily Daniels-Lake (pn they/them) first discovered insects and how they affect the environment and each other in their childhood backyard in Evanston, IL. They would pick up rock after rock to make friends with worms, roly-polys, centipedes, and the occasional beetle. Their mother's garden was their playground. Emily has fond memories of eating all the raspberries, raw green beans and tomatoes they were supposed to bring in for dinner.
Emily rediscovered gardening in college where they became an intern for Urban Habitat Chicago. As a result, they been an urban farmer for most of the past ten years. Emily honed their green thumb with the aid of Mike Repkin, Executive Director of Urban Habitat Chicago and a valuable mentor, and has worked on a number of urban farms. They added mentoring to their own qualifications at After School Matters where they taught farming and landscaping to high schoolers. Over the years, they have planted and maintained over 30 different edible landscapes for Smart Gardener Backyard and Greenlawn Landscaping before moving onto full-scale farming. They worked as crew leader at Heritage Prairie Farm in Elburn IL, then moved on to be crew lead at Radical Root Farm in Libertyville, IL for the 2016 season. Now their main focus is to grow Wild Beet Farm from 1/2 acre to a full acre and plant lots of fruit trees, brambles (raspberries and blackberries), and strawberries, to add to our offerings!
About the Farmer's Wife
Jen Daniels-Lake (pn she/her) became the Farmer's Wife in June 2014. She may not be an experienced farmer, but she is a willing and able farm hand having financed multiple European vacations by volunteering as a WWOOFer on organic farms in Italy, Greece, Ireland, and Scotland. She earns her keep as a non-profit professional and recently graduated with a masters in Non-Profit Management at Spertus Institute. When she's not in the fields, you can find her in Chicago's west loop at the Literacenter as the Membership Manager for the Chicago Literacy Alliance or writing for her blog.