Hongik Eco Farm approved as nonprofit in McHenry County

The Hongik ECO Farm is one step closer to formation as it received approval to begin operations in McHenry County as a regenerative farm with not-for-profit status to support area-wide initiatives for Earth and humanity.

Hongik, a Korean word meaning "widely beneficial," is a humanitarian philosophy recognizing a number of community organizations will be engaged in McHenry County and the surrounding areas to support operations on the farm.

The ECO Farm leadership team is comprised of local volunteers whose vision is to build a place where anyone can volunteer and learn about regenerative agricultural practices from seeds to distribution. All farm products will be distributed freely to volunteers and a local food banks.

Hongik ECO Farm founder/board member Younglim Lee is excited to share the news of the not-for-profit status.

With the experience of having a proven, working model for regenerative community farming, Younglim was eager to launch her own concept.

Covid had exposed many of society's vulnerabilities, encouraging her to believe that now was the time to launch the Hongik ECO Farm.

"I dream of a world where we can learn to love and respect ourselves and nature," Lee said. "Watching the devastation this great country was experiencing through the Covid-19 pandemic convinced me that a society is as strong as its weakest link, and if we want our world to be changed, we must live that change first."

Lee, who grew up in Korea during a time of severe political oppression and a robust pro-democracy movement, moved to the U.S. and earned a Ph.D. from Yale University as a neuroscientist.

Next steps for the group include finalizing the plans to purchase the location, building the key stakeholder list for community outreach, completing a fund-raising campaign and communicating the five-year plan to local agencies and community groups.

The vision and goals of the ECO Farm are simple and powerful. The farm will promote wellness and community connection through cultivating regenerative agriculture, encourage sustainable living, advocate natural health practices and facilitate meaningful community service projects. And doing it all, on a real, working farm. The group is looking for volunteers and donations to support its efforts. Visit for more information.

An ecological farm or eco-friendly farm (ECO Farm) provides for sustainable agricultural practices and environment stewardship. It is an effort to grow food and do it in a way that preserves the precious soil, air and water needed nurture it. An ECO Farm prioritizes the health of the area where food is growing by a number of practices and techniques to use Earth's resources in healthy and conservation-focused ways.

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