Farm Column

I’m fortunate enough to be one of over 1,000 University of Illinois students who have lived in 4-H House at 805 W. Ohio in Urbana since it was built in 1960. Prior to the house built in 1960, my mom, Roberta Archer, lived in the original house on East Green Street. What’s unique about 4-H House, is that it’s a sorority, but it’s also a cooperative. Everyone who lives there has house duties and cooking or cleaning crews. Living there made college more affordable.

It also taught me how to cook for a crowd, manage a house and get along with others. I graduated from a high school of 100, so going to the U of I, which numbered 40,000 students at the time, was a scary proposition. Having a network of 50 friends – my roommates in the house – made U of I much smaller.

I’m vice president of the alumni association of the house. We’re in the middle of a major renovation project. Two summers ago, we remodeled the kitchen. This summer we are adding air conditioning, a new boiler and remodeling the bathrooms.

Having 1,000 residents in 4-H House in the past 55 years has taken its toll. One of the ways we are raising funds is through a new cookbook — published to help raise awareness and funds for the much-needed remodeling and renovation.

Nurture the Future @ 805 is a hard cover, spiral-bound cookbook with 480 pages of favorite 4-H House recipes from over the years. In addition to unique recipes from appetizers to dessert, children’s recipes, and some for the microwave, it includes dishes that have already been multiplied for large dinner parties.

“Currently 4-H House is home to 51 girls who have leadership experience in 4-H, Future Farmers of America, or similar organizations,” said U of I freshman Krista Temple, who is the ninth member of her family to live in the 4-H House. “These women do all of their own cooking, cleaning, and maintenance at the house. This cooperative living style allows us to live on campus at a reasonable price and to form long-lasting friendships.”

Temple said that the money raised from the sale of the Nurture the Future @ 805 cookbooks will help update the house with air conditioning, electrical updating, new bathrooms, and much more.

Many of the recipes in the book have been used by the girls who have lived in 4-H House for decades, some with cooking experience and some without. Freshman Emily Bloemer said, “I love our home-cooked meals at 4-H House. It’s great to come home from class to some good food.”

Nurture the Future @ 805 can be purchased for $30 per book, which includes shipping costs. For details on how to order, visit or send an email to Judy Taylor ( or Linda Muehling at

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About the author

Charlyn Fargo spent 27 years at the State Journal-Register covering agriculture, business and food. She currently is the Bureau Chief of County Fairs & Horse Racing with the Illinois Department of Agriculture. She is also a Registered Dietitian and writes a weekly syndicated nutrition column for Creator’s News Service ( and is co-owner of Simply Fair, a fair trade boutique at 2357 W. Monroe in Springfield. She has bachelor’s degrees in agricultural communications and food from the University of Illinois, Champaign and a master’s degree in nutrition from Eastern Illinois University. She and her husband, Brad Ware, have a daughter, Kate, and son, Jayden. When she’s not working or writing, she enjoys baking cookies for Simply From Scratch, a company she formed to support faith-based ministries.

View all articles by Charlyn Fargo

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