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Lake and McHenry Counties

Lake County Extension Foundation

The Lake County Extension Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) public charity.

Local Food Purchasing Assistance

Are you a grower that identifies as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, female, disabled, a veteran, or has farmed for less than 10 years? Illinois has $28M to buy food at fair market value from YOU! Products will be distributed for free to local communities in need.

Upcoming Programs and Events

Sunflowers Garden Walk

Garden Walk

Experience a day of gorgeous gardens, education, and fun! On Saturday, July 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the University of Illinois Extension McHenry County Master Gardeners and McHenry County College will host their annual Garden Walk, a tour of twelve gardens (two demonstration and ten residential). This self-guided drive will feature gardens in Crystal Lake, Woodstock, Lake in the Hills, and McHenry. Experience colorful gardens studded with artwork, edible plots, and more. You’ll learn many new things as you enjoy the diversity of these beautiful spaces. No ticket sales are available from June 28 through July 12

Event info

2024 Garden Series

Lake County Garden Learning Series

February 14, 2024 - December 11, 2024 This year we have a fantastic variety of topics being presented by The University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners and Educators along with Educators and Ecologists from the Lake County Forest Preserve District and the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO).

Class descriptions and registrations

News Releases
Recent quarter-sized holes in the soil made by periodical cicadas
Enjoy the silence. Cicadas are coming
If you haven't heard the buzz, you will soon. Billions of periodical cicadas are coming, and University of Illinois Extension is sharing information to help track their moves before emergence. “Historically speaking, 2024 is a big year for...
pressure canner tested
Get your pressure canner tested for free by Illinois Extension
URBANA, Ill. — Spring is a great time to take inventory of your canning equipment to prepare for the summer canning season. If you have a dial gauge pressure canner, make it a habit to get it tested by Illinois Extension every year. Various...
pressure canning supplies along with canned items sitting on a stovetop.
Master the art of water bath and pressure canning
Home food preservation continues to be extremely popular, whether due to increased food costs, the desire to know what is going into your food, or because it benefits the environment by reducing one’s carbon footprint. There are many ways to preserve food at home, including freezing, drying,...
Overhead view of compost filled bin during winter.
Spring into composting by reviving a compost pile after winter
URBANA, Ill. — If you haven’t touched your compost bin or pile all winter, don’t worry, you are not alone. It could be filled with kitchen scraps to the top or left untouched since the fall. Getting a compost pile going again after the long, cold winter can be intimidating, but it is...

Announcements & Highlights

Eldery woman and man one in wheelchair smiling

Navigating Changes as We Age

Explore the changes and opportunities of life's journey Everyone ages, and there are many changes along the way, including physical, mental, and financial, in almost every aspect of our lives. Explore some of those changes in this session and how to adopt a more accepting mindset to change to improve well-being and explore new opportunities. Presenters: Robin Ridgley and Cheri Burcham, Illinois Extension educators.

Register for webinar here

Hands with dirt and food scraps on ground

Read more about building a culture of composting in greater Chicagoland

What's so important about compost? Food waste is a pressing environmental concern in Illinois. In Cook County — and in many counties around the state — it accounts for up to 37% of landfill material.

How to Compost Here

Check out Illinois Extension’s complete offerings