It is not difficult to feel a connection with such an organization as The Sunny Patch Farms. The Farms are located in Darien in an abandoned tennis court behind a school, in a church yard, among the child-size traffic signs in Safety Village and more scattered throughout the village where Sunny Patch can find a welcoming site.
Sunny Patch is a small, Non-Profit organization founded by Cynthia McGann in 2015 to raise awareness about the troubling food gaps in our community and the many families struggling to access food, especially garden-fresh foods on a regular basis.
Cynthia was named the first recipient of the Heart of Darien award. The Heart of Darien Award seeks to honor and show its appreciation for the effort made by individuals within our community who through their efforts have improved our overall living environment and have enhanced our ability to make Darien “a nice place to live”.
“Our main location is on the property of Eisenhower Junior High School in Darien, Illinois. Other places are in Darien and surrounding areas. Our organization cooperates with other groups, also, such as local churches”, Cynthia explains during our conversation.
I had a chance to visit The Farm last Summer. One sunny day, my friend, Gloria, and I went to Sunny Patch Farm to help them. My first experience at The Farm was very nice. I was welcomed by the chickens’ smooth “Ko-ko-ko, ko-ko-ko” walking toward the outside of their hen-house. What a kind welcome from my new feathered friends! These pretty hens were living in a beautiful house, made by Cynthia. The hen house is shaped like a typical birdhouse but much larger! It’s around 6 feet high and around. Like a hen condominium.
The chickens had the run of the first floor and also the two rooms on the second floor. Guess what I saw on the second floor? …… eggs nestled in hay sitting in a shaft of sunlight. The roof was made of frames of wood filled with soil. And these pockets were filled with flowers, herbs and a scattering of strawberries. Hanging from the door of the henhouse is a small birdhouse which is a replica of the larger henhouse. The henhouse is surrounded by beautiful sunflowers. While admiring this unique and rare composition, I reflected that this Kingdom of Hens was created by someone taking advantage of Nature and Life’s Design! I was happy to see the small replica of the hen house fixed outside the main bird house because this was a joint project done by Gloria and I. My painted flowers and Gloria’s painted hens decorated the bird house all around. The finished project is beautiful and looks awesome on the actual large hen house.
The Farm includes many plant containers. In fact, the majority of the plantings are done in containers. These needed a lot of water so we helped water the plants. We also helped to thin out plants and dig in the soil while other volunteers were doing other duties. “There’s lots of gardening work to be done, especially in the Summer”, says Cynthia.
And now, just past Thanksgiving, we give thanks to God for this bounty of food that we can share with our neighbors. And also, to give thanks and appreciation for the people from the Sunny Patch Farm, who do hard work, and provide and prepare natural food to the needy, including the students’ families.
The Farm is the private mission of one dedicated person, Cynthia McGann working with a few friends like MaryBeth and a very small group of dedicated volunteers. What an amazing organization! These wonderful helpers deserve honor and encouragement. In my mind, together we are stronger and can do more! Helping those in need is to be admired. Thanks to God for such awesome and dedicated people! For contact or future help for this Non-Profit organization, please call The Sunny Patch Farm.
Call (630) 272-0915 or visit http://www.goodworxinc.org. Cynthia says “We need many volunteers to help us take care of all our plantings.”
I have strong feelings for this wonderful group of people and their volunteer work on behalf of their neighbors in Darien. The Sunny Patch people deserve the most respect and honor for their efforts.
Written by: Gosia. Photos: Gosia & others