Celebrate Historic John Lane Days this weekendBy DENISE M. BARAN–UNLANDEmailFollowJuly 10, 2019 Sylvia Zielke-Kuffel and Joe Kuffel are in a race against time to preserve a bit of Lockport history for the community. The couple, in their early 70s, own the land at 16217 S. Gougar Road where the Historic John Lane Farm is located. The farm has been in Sylvia's family ever since she married into the Zielke family in 1964. Sylvia and Joe run a for-profit business on the site: Sunny Lane Acres on Historic John Lane Farm. But the farm also became a nonprofit in 2015 for the purpose of educating the community about traditional farming practices. "We're really pushing to make this happen," Sylvia said. "But age is creeping up on us faster than what we want.A fundraiser to help with renovation of the farm's historic barn will be held July 13 and 14 at the farm. "The barn is almost 100 years old," Sylvia said. "We want to preserve it and develop it for the community and also for schools." In the past, the Historic John Lane Farm has provided hands-on activities for a local Montessori school. "They were not able to come out this year because of the heavy rains," Sylvia said.Michelle Svee, secretary for the nonprofit's board of directors, became involved with the Historic John Lane Farm two years ago. Svee learned about the farm after participating as a vendor for one of the farm's fundraising events."Right now, it's a working organic farm," Svee said. ""We do grow fresh produce. We have chickens and fresh eggs. We also have a farm stand located on the farm to sell the produce and fresh eggs." Currently the stand, which Svee runs, is offering kale, lettuce, watermelons, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, celery "and a big assortment of things," she added. "Joe was out planting beans the other day," Svee said.The farm also has a gift shop, which features a variety of handcrafted items, Svee said Svee said said she's been posting about the farm on social media, especially on groups for local parents."I think it's good for kids to come and explore where their food comes from," Svee said. "The kids like to see the chickens and the food growing out of the ground." Even though the farm does not have a full-fledged formal program for families or school groups and other organizations, a trip to the farm is still beneficial, Svee feels. "When parents come with their kids, we show them them around and try to tell them about the history and show them the produce and everything," Svee said.Who was John Lane? Svee said that Lane, a Homer Township blacksmith, fashioned the first steel plow in 1833 on his property, which was located at 163rd and Gougar Road. Svee said Lane invented the steel plow before John Deere patented his plows. Lane wasn't interested in pursuing a patent, Svee said. "He just wanted to make farmers' lives easier," Svee said.IF YOU GO WHAT: Historic John Lane Days WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 13 and July 14 WHERE: Historic John Lane Farm, 16217 S. Gougar Road, Lockport ETC: Free admission. Kevin J. Wood, dressed as Abraham Lincoln, will speak about Illinois history. Live spinning demonstrations. Children's games for ages 3 to 10. For a full list of vendors and products, visit the website. INFORMATION: Visit historicjohnlanefarm.com.