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The Decline of Farming in Naperville

“They say all good things must come to an end.”

That was the beginning of a goodbye message from Wagner’s Farmstand to the community.

The Route 59 farmstand will not be reopening this summer after being in the Wagner family for more than 50 years.

This comes on the heels of an announcement that a new 61-home development is coming to the Clow Creek Farm subdivision, replacing the buildings on the property.

Naper Settlement’s chief curator says this is a far cry from the early days of Naperville.

“This was rich farmland. This is what attracted Joseph Naper out to this area. It was one of those resources that he was looking for,” said Chief Curator Louise Howard.

She said a large number of people in Naperville were farmers through the middle of the 20th century.

“I think it’s important to know what you’ve come from because that helps you know where you’re going. But you also have to be flexible enough to accept how times have changed and how we’re sewing and growing our food to feed not just our little community, but you know beyond that,” said Howard.

And with that change comes new technology, often pushing out the family farm.

“Farming is a difficult business nowadays. It really comes down to a lot of economics in terms of the money coming in and the dollars that need to go out to support that type of venture anymore. So there’s that crush also of urbanization that has pushed farming kind of more into the industrial world,” Howard said.

For Clow Creek, that change is coming in the form of a new subdivision.

As for Wagner Farms, Pulte Homes is under contract to buy the 113-acres of land in unincorporated Naperville, which could be annexed to the city.

Naperville News 17’s Beth Bria reports.


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