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S 18 Episode 01: Wagner Farms

Guest Pam White, former owner of Wagner Farms in Naperville, Illinois, recalls growing up on the farm, favorite memories, and lessons that apply to suburban life today.

This episode is part of Series 18: Remembering our Agricultural Heritage.

For a list of ParkTalk episodes and series visit

Quote from the episode: “What I remember most was fresh air. Just the smell of fresh air, the smell of corn when it was starting to tassel. As far as sounds, it was just totally quiet. As far as tastes, we ate a lot of vegetables!  I can remember when we grew a lot of strawberries, going to the field and picking a strawberry and eating it, ripened on the vine and warm from the sun.” - Pam White

Staking tomato plants at Wagner Farms, 2017, photo from Wagner Farms Facebook page.

Aerial view of Wagner Farms

Wagner Farms

The Wagner family owned and farmed 113 acres south of Frontier Sports Complex for more than 50 years beginning in 1961. An integral part of the Naperville community, Wagner Farms sold their fresh, local produce at Wagner’s Farmstand and operated a wholesale nursery.  When the family decided that it was time to close the farm, they sold their land to Pulte homes in April 2019 for a residential development. The new housing development also is named Wagner Farms.

Pam White with her sister, Donna in 1964 

Tomato harvest

Field grown shrubs

95th Street Community Plaza

The sale of the farmland to Pulte Homes resulted in a developer donation to the Naperville Park District, per the City of Naperville’s land-cash ordinance. This cash-in-lieu donation provided major funding for the 95th Street Community Plaza, a welcoming space for those of all ages and abilities.

Naperville Park District gratefully acknowledges the Wagner family and Pulte homes for their support of the development of the 95th Street Community Plaza. Additionally, Pulte Homes made a voluntary contribution to the Naperville Park District over and above the cash-in-lieu donation in honor of the Wagner family. The new performance pavilion at the plaza is named Wagner Family Pavilion.

Wagner Family Pavilion at 95th Street Community Plaza, photo taken in April 2020, opening summer 2020.

Ways to Support Local Agriculture

Support local farmers by visiting the 95th Street Farmers Market, co-hosted by Naperville Park District and Naperville Public Library, held in the 95th Street Library parking lot on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m.

Consider renting a garden plot at the Ron Ory Community Garden Plots. Annual rentals open with spring program registration.

Visit local farm stands, such as Keller’s Farmstand and Mayneland Farms, participate in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) at Green Earth Harvest, or contact a grower directly to purchase meat, eggs, honey, etc.

Some of the produce sold at the 95th Street Farmers Market

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On Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 Naperville Park District officials heard the good news for which they have been waiting for many months: the District has achieved national accreditation through the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA).

The decision was announced at the NRPA national conference in Atlanta following a formal hearing before the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA).

Naperville is only the second park district in Illinois to earn this distinction and the 104th nationally accredited agency in the nation; there are more than 10,000 recreation agencies in the United States. The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies accredits a handful of park agencies each year that have completed a multi-step process involving a self-review by the agency, a site visit, and an evaluation and formal report by the Commission.

“We are extremely proud to bring this honor to Naperville,” said Park District Executive Director Ray McGury. “It’s an affirmation of our high standards and also an encouragement to continue bringing high quality recreation and parks experiences to our community.”

The Park District’s accreditation process began approximately one year ago and included an extensive self-evaluation by staff and a 5-day visit from CAPRA reviewers this past July. Maintaining the accreditation requires annual reports and 5- and 10-year reviews.

Park District staff members noted that the CAPRA process has helped them see the big picture, focus on long term goals and plans, review plans more regularly, organize documents so that they are accessible and useable, and collaborate more effectively with other departments and outside organizations.

Our Mission
We provide recreation and park experiences that promote healthy lives, healthy minds and a healthy community.
Our Vision
To be a national leader in parks and recreation providing and promoting high quality experiences and facilities at a great value to our community.
Core Values
Health and Wellness, Environmental Education, Stewardship and Sustainability, Community Enrichment, Public Safety, Accessibility, Personal Growth and Enrichment.
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