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Extension Snapshots

New garden in Havana looks to fill a gap for families in need of food

a group of volunteers pose by a community garden

Fresh, local produce will be easier to access in the Havana community soon thanks to a new community garden project based at Mission of Hope. This garden’s purpose is to help feed neighbors in the Havana area. A group comprised of University of Illinois Extension SNAP-Education staff, horticulture staff, and Extension Master Gardener volunteer Carol Cihla co-lead the effort. 

“Feeding families can be a complex issue,” stated SNAP-Ed Educator Rebecca Crumrine. “Through the new garden, we hope to address a missing resource for local families by helping provide hope one seed at a time.” 

The Havana Community Garden project has developed over the course of a couple of years and has already seen substantial community support. As of the end of May 2024, the garden’s "Fill our Shed!" campaign had collected about 60% of the needed funding and/or supplies to kick-start the garden project. Sponsorships and donations have been received through the Alpha Rho Women’s Sorority, New Central Elementary’s 2023-2024 third grade class, and several local individuals. The garden is still accepting new sponsors and donations. The current items on the wish list include soaker hoses, watering timers, herb plants, and colorful paints for garden boxes and fences. 

As the garden continues to grow, additional community support through ongoing volunteering and/or short-term volunteering on scheduled community work-days will be needed to help the garden thrive. The garden welcomes all volunteers, regardless of gardening experience, offering a chance to learn about gardening together while contributing to the community's future. Regular community workdays will be scheduled throughout the summer as well as the opportunity for volunteers to help with day-to-day garden tasks such as watering, weeding, and harvesting. 

“In our conversations with the community about the project, many people indicated they were interested in helping garden, but they didn’t feel like they had the knowledge necessary to help out,” stated SNAP-Ed Instructor Skye Mibbs. “However, the great thing about the garden is that we want to help teach skills like gardening and nutrition as well as support our community with food.”

The Havana Community Garden is here to serve the community, thus input and support from the community will be essential to its success. Everyone can stay connected to updates about the garden online at For those interested in learning more about the Havana Community Garden, or who wish to contribute to a garden, donate to a need, or become a volunteer please contact Skye Mibbs at or 309-543-3308.


The Havana Community Garden officially held its first workday on May 29, 2024. The garden is serving the community to help meet the need for more local, fresh produce. Local residents can get involved as short-term or ongoing volunteers at the garden.


Rebecca Crumrine joined the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-Education team in October of 2017. Through her time with Extension, she has enjoyed the outreach in her communities. Beginning as a community worker in Peoria County, she provided direct education to qualified audiences, learned a lot about her communities, and enjoyed teaching positive nutrition behaviors and safe, fun physical activity options.

Rebecca moved into the SNAP-Education Program Coordinator position in January of 2019 with unit-wide responsibilities and unit educator in December 2022. These roles come with the ability to expand her positive impact through work that helps improve the policies, systems, and environments that influence healthy eating and physical activity. Rebecca collaborates with partners such as food pantries, schools, and health departments. Her work helps to impact families where they eat, learn, live, shop, and play so the healthier choice can become the easier choice to make.

When not at work, you can find Rebecca spending time with her family and friends. She is a wife and mother to one sweet, little boy and enjoys singing, bike riding, and baking. She is so happy to be a part of University of Illinois Extension and the great work being done in the communities by the every facet of the organization.


Extension Snapshots are monthly impact reports that share the stories of our programs in Fulton, Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell counties. To have them delivered to you directly sign up using our E-blast registration.



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