CFI Newsletter, March 2024  
Springing into the Growing Season

Spring is flying in like robins flocking to a mulberry tree!  Our annual Garden Giveaways kicked off in mid-March, the cherry trees are in full bloom, folks have plant starts awaiting garden space, and bluebells are blooming.   We’re busy-buzzy getting everything in place for our busiest time of year. 
Spring is also when we gather every year to celebrate local food and our Appalachian culture of sharing.  Please mark your calendars and join us for our Annual Member Meeting on April 27th, and start dreaming about what dish you’ll bring to the potluck.  Read on for other March highlights and upcoming calendar notes.   

With gratitude,
The CFI team
In the Books! Seed Potato Giveaway 2024
We had our busiest-ever Seed Potato Giveaway this year!  Within 4 hours we had about 170 people sign in to pick up potatoes, many people taking back an extra bag for other family members and friends.  Over a span of 9 hours (5 on Tuesday and 4 on Wednesday), we distributed about 80,000 pounds of seed and table potatoes. 
THANK YOU to the many, many volunteers and partners who make this event possible!  What does it take to make a successful Seed Potato Giveaway happen?
  • Folks to sling hundreds of 50-pound bags of potatoes;
  • Folks to break down 50-pound tater bags into 10-pound tater bags;
  • Folks to donate bags for making the 10-pound tater bags;
  • Donated snacks to fuel the troops;
  • A forklift and skillful forklift driver who can load pallets of potatoes onto narrow trucks;
  • A giant warehouse with 2 options for loading; 
  • Folks to check in and talk to the 170 individuals who picked up potatoes;
  • An organization to donate the potatoes;
  • An organization to coordinate delivery of 2 semi-truck trailers filled with potatoes;
  • Partner organizations that pick up and haul hundreds, thousands, or TONS of pounds of potatoes to distribute with their network;
  • Folks who help spread the word that the giveaway is happening;
  • Someone to field and log dozens of potato phone calls and emails;
  • Volunteers, volunteers, and volunteers!  
We’re so grateful for ALL of the partners and individuals who helped out! Special thanks to the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet), Jackson Area Ministries, and the Society of St. Andrew.  Next up is our Annual Seed Giveaway!  Be sure to stop by your nearest Athens County Public Library branch to pick up garden seeds starting April 8. 
Seed Giveaway 2024
We'll kick off our Annual Seed Giveaway at all Athens County Public Library branches on Monday, April 8, 2024!  A varied selection of seed packets will be available at each library branch starting Monday, April 8.  The seeds are free and available to any community member while supplies last; registration is not required.  
The CFI seed giveaway is held in partnership with Athens County Public Libraries and is made possible through generous donations of seeds received from community members, local businesses and organizations, seed companies, and Jackson Area Ministries in Jackson, OH.
We'll also host our Annual Plant Start Giveaway in early May, so stay tuned
If you would like to donate seeds for CFI’s Annual Seed Giveaway, or if you would like to raise plant starts to donate for CFI’s Annual Plant Start Giveaway, please contact Community Gardens Coordinator Amy Fugikawa at 
Internships Available for Rooting for Wellness Project
CFI is excited to announce we’ll be participating in a county-wide initiative to support Ohioans aged 60 and older in maintaining a healthy, active, and independent lifestyle!  Age-Friendly Athens County, part of the Athens City-County Health Department, recently invited proposals for projects that will be funded through one-time Healthy Aging Grant funds provided by the Ohio Department of Aging.  CFI’s project is one of five awarded projects, and will supplement Veggie Van stops in communities outside of the City of Athens with gardening and cooking education.  We're honored and delighted to be part of this big work to support wellness in older adults!  Watch for more news about this Age-Friendly Athens County initiative soon.  
Another exciting aspect of the project is that we’ll be hiring two interns to support the project.  Applications are due April 5.  Please help us spread the word!  Applicants should be interested in the following:
  • Working with adults aged 60+
  • Access to fresh, nourishing food;
  • Cooking education that ensures recipients know how to prepare produce;
  • Gardening education that empowers participants to engage in physical exercise, connect with nature and each other, and grow their own food;
  • Addressing some of the most critical issues impacting access to wellness for adults age 60+, interrupting negative feedback loops and enabling better health.  
Click the graphic below to access position descriptions and application instructions. 
Save the Date!
Our Annual Member Meeting and potluck is coming up!  Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 27th, 1pm - 3pm and stay tuned for more details!
Thank You CFI Sponsors!
Thank you to Minuteman Press and TS Tech Americas for their recent sponsorship of CFI!  Sponsorships create community-wide benefits through supporting Community Food Initiatives' mission and our resilience-building programs.  Your donation will help ensure the sustainability of our work, while also helping us build a food system where everyone has access to fresh, local food.  Becoming a sponsor is easy!  Learn more HERE.  
What Else?
Donation Station is at the Athens Farmers Market  every Saturday, and we happily accept produce purchased at market! The Athens Farmers Market takes place at the Athens Community Center.   
There's always more happening at CFI than we have room to share here.  Be sure to follow us on social media: Facebook, Instagram
Looking for different ways to help the CFI garden grow? Visit our website for information about our programming and to see how you can get involved. 
Donate today!
Thank you to Board Member Olivia Degitz for leading an excellent workshop on cold frames and season extension at the Southside Community Garden!