10S404 Knoch Knolls Road
Naperville, IL 60565
Steve Tiwald started the Green Earth Institute Organic Farm in 2002. Steve and his son, Nathan (24), work the 50-acre farm with the help of three interns and several volunteers. Steve’s wife, Karen, has an off-farm job, but provides support in many ways. Mara (28), Steve and Karen’s daughter, also has an off-farm job, but helps out with bookkeeping and other behind-the-scenes chores.
The Tiwald family grows over 40 different vegetables and herbs. Their harvest includes, but is not limited to, lettuce, spinach, carrots, basil, beets, bok choi, cilantro, cauliflower, snap peas, rutabaga, summer and winter squash, kale, dill, sweet and hot peppers, cabbage, tomatoes, radishes, brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, tetragonia, potatoes, kohlrabi, and much more!
The farm would not be complete without the help of Sanford-Nathan’s dog who likes to chase rabbits that occasionally sample the lettuce crop. There is an array of wildlife on the farm including a family of great horned owls and a family of red-tailed hawks. Steve talks about how enjoyable it is to be working outside, close to nature, and observing “the variety of critters.”
Why is growing organic a priority for your family?
We believe that good nutrition is the foundation for sound physical and mental health. Not only do we want to decrease the amount of pesticides and other foreign chemicals we eat, but organic produce has been proven to have more nutrients than conventionally-grown produce.
What is your favorite part of being an organic farmer?
Seeing new life emerge from the soil-I think about how that plant, sprouting from a tiny seed, grows large and produces food for us to eat. This is amazing! As an organic farmer it is very fulfilling to work with the processes of nature, not against them.
What’s your least favorite part?
The paperwork and bookkeeping.
Why should people buy organic products instead of other options?
To protect and enhance their personal health-protect through decreasing the amount of pesticides and other foreign chemicals they eat, and enhance because laboratory tests show that fresh organic produce has more nutrients than conventionally grown produce.
What makes your farm special?
Our farm stands out because of its location-surrounded by homes in the suburbs. It is accessible for people to visit the farm, to pick up their CSA share directly at the farm, even to participate in growing their own food! In addition, we have educational programs for all ages which teach about where food comes from and why it is so important to be good stewards of the earth.
Where do you want your business to be in the next year? Five years? Ten years?
We will be increasing the amount of acreage devoted to vegetables in order to expand the number of families we can serve through our CSA. Also, we will develop additional educational programs so that more people may get in touch with farming and nature right here in suburbia.
For more information about the Green Earth Institute Farm, and information about CSA shares, visit www.GreenEarthInstitute.org or call Steve at 630-664-5681.