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Tim Magner

directs Nature's Farm Camp to get kids out of the city and connected to the natural world in a novel and challenging environment. He looks at the big picture and believes in the magic of camp. While visiting schools as a children's book author and running Truck Farm Chicago he studied the food system and learned about what's possible. Tim also taught skiing to kids in Colorado, golf in North Carolina and was a camp counselor in Georgia. He's tutored and served on school boards and will never forget Camp Highlands (where he won Camper of the Year, a long time ago).

Cooking Program

We've been fortunate to have a number of talented instructors in the kitchen over the lScreen Shot 2017-09-17 at 1.22.28 PMast three years, none more talented than Valerie Holze. She joined us for the last 1.5 weeks this past summer. Valerie's chock full of skills and experience - from working in great Chicago restaurants to running a personal chef business, but none more important than engaging kids in the kitchen around food. For 2018, our aim is for even more camper involvement in the kitchen.

Sarita & Champ are back for 2018!

Sarah Dougherty & Champoy Lim: Sarita is the former co-creator of an Art and Nature Camp in Los Angeles. She developed & implemented engaging garden and plant-focused activities to connect youth to nature and has extensive experience sharing the homesteading skills she uses on a daily basis. She’s also a professional artist, exploring the interaction between nature, cities, and cultures. Champ works as a woodworking teacher, but he's also talented teaching comics and puppetry. 

Dustin Thacker Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 1.55.30 PM 

grew up on a farm in central Illinois.  He loves challenging people to think bigger and to be curious.  As the director of Tinkering School Chicago, he has made a career out playing in the woods and helping children engage in big open ended building projects that spark their imagination. Dustin will help run camp the 2nd, 3rd and 5th weeks of 2018.

Vicki Agee

is our Head Counselor. For the last four-and-one-half years, Vicki has been working with kids in both outdoor and classroom settings, first at Nature's Classroom and now at a Montessori school in suburban Chicago. Nothing thrills Vicki more than being a caring guide and witnessing the positive impacts of outdoor exploration. This will be Vicki's second summer with Nature's Farm Camp. She's excited to share the joys of farm chores, cooking, and campfires with new and returning campers

Sarah Jane Gembara 

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 1.52.33 PMrecently completed her undergraduate degree atUniversity of Illinois and have been working since September 2016 at Urban Prairie Waldorf School in the Little Italy neighborhood of Chicago. Her passions include childhood education, adventure, drawing/painting, circus arts, and playing in the mud.

Lea Rodbarry

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 1.53.42 PMis a junior at Northwestern University and an intern at an urban farm in Skokie. After graduation, she hopes to work on projects that facilitate interactions between nature and people living in cities. In her spare time, she doodles and thinks about whales. 

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Carolyn Stypka

Carolyn is a city chicken loving lady. A native Chicagoan, Carolyn feels most grounded when connected to both her plate and the wild nature both within and beyond these city streets. Carolyn currently works with the youth and adolescents in Southeast Chicago as a social worker/therapist. This is Carolyn's second year with NFC

Tatum Evans Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 10.52.52 AM

Tatum loves vegetables and farming!  A former organic vegetable farmer, she's seeding and translating to ensure there's plenty to harvest during camp.
Tatum will take a break from her work with as the market assistant at Green City Market to work in the garden and kitchen, weeks 3 and 5.  When she's not eating, thinking, or dreaming vegetables, Tatum camps and explores with her Australian Shepherd Milo and spends time with her family.

We are lucky to have camp superstars Kate Gross, Tomas Ward, Seneca Kern make one to three week residencies at camp .



We hire passionate people capable of making positive food and nature experiences available to children. They have a ton of energy and experience with kids in the outdoors. They have expertise in Food/Farming, Ecology, Arts or Building, and are good at sharing their skills.  If you're interested, apply HERE. Want to be considered for our cooking programs, click HERE

Thank you to Teams 2015- 2017

Without a doubt, a natural resource as valuable as the delicious veggies we harvest is our Team.
2017: Vicki, Kate, Carolyn, Lea, Sarah Jane, Sarah Jane2, Tatum, Deliah, Patrick, Chef Franklin, Valerie, Dustin, Tomas, Seneca. Without a doubt, the best crew yet 🙂 Visitors included Timber Edge Farm, Brian Severson Farm and State Representative Bennett. 
2016: Vicki, Winona, Kate, Eliza, Kathleen, Matt, Carolyn, Susan and Joe: thank you for bringing your energy and delivering a wonderful experience. Visiting Stars included Teddy Z, Warren (Mark Twain), Amanda, Charlie and farmers from Timber Edge Farm and Timber Feast.
2015: Our Camper garden wouldn't have happened without the direction of Kirsten Akre, formerly of Growing PowerThe Kitchen Gardener & Chicago Park District and local farmer Andrew Barelli, with special help from college superstars Effie Bentz and Ashley Quinlan. Many of our seeds came from The Green City Market, our starts from The Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse, Wicker Park Garden Club and LaGrange Park's Master Gardener Bob Zeni. Thank you also to our favorite seed grower: High Mowing Organic Seeds.

We appreciate the guidance of various current and former Camp Directors, notably Bob & Joan Erickson of Arts & Sciences in the Woods and Dustin Thacker of Tinkering School Chicago.

We're also thankful to our supporters who've enabled us to offer financial aid & scholarships: Patrick Suciu, Craig Pratt, Patrick Shannon, Kate Sirkin, Adam Hinrich, Noemi Kopp-Tanaka, Marti Hoffer, Hayes Family, Mack Family, Alice Kao, Marko Vulovic, Brian Lynch, Lauren Beuerlein, Magen Elliot, Gier Bowen, Beth Masterson, Prathima Yeddanapudi, Vic & Amy Morman, John & Linda Fix, CJ Wolf, Marvelous Meccia, Jill Stockard, Joe Digilio, Lena Bravo-Olsher, Reed Watson, Chris Howard, Karl, Amanda Rutter Hanley, Amanda Sargent, Matha Clemons, Gerry Weitz, Erin Kelly, Nilam Trivedi, Marilyn Going, Anna Langston, Susie Kirkwood, Sarah Walter, Jenelle Hammes Sullivan, Brekke Bounds, Nancy McClelland, Dianna Smith, Kate Gross, Kitty River, Marge Shannon, Sally Lian, Mike Judy, Jennifer, Julie Ann Alex DeSorbo-Quinn, Josh S, Christine Hutcheson, Brian"Fox" Ellis, Glenna Sullivan, Robert Fierro, Liz Miller, Rachel Land Browder, Jill May, Elizabeth Sommer, Genna Toledano, Boaz, Grobo, Amanda Nugent, Carly, Kevin Evans, Joel Parker Henderson, Elise Kleinman Jaffe, Chris Niewiarowski.

History of the Founding

Nature's Farm Camp grew out Elena Marre and Tim Magner's experience working together with The Kids' Table and Truck Farm Chicago. It was, and is, about their desire to get kids out of the city and connected to awesomeness (and everything that sustains us). Elena and The Kids' Table ran the cooking portion of the camp for the first two years and we will forever be thankful. Today, Elena is focused on The Kids' Table (and their amazing summer camp in Chicago).