CFI Newsletter, April 2023  
2023 Member Meeting: A Day of Sharing
Athens Community Center was filled with good food, gratitude, and smiling faces at the CFI Annual Member Meeting and Community Potluck on April 15th. Over 40 friends, old and new, came together to enjoy an afternoon of fellowship, celebration, and food and gardening themed activities as we reflected on 2022 and looked forward to our next twelve months of working together toward a resilient and sustainable region where everyone is nourished by a just, inclusive, and thriving local food system.
Chef Becky Clark, Executive Chef at Little Fish Brewing Company and CFI Board member, kicked off the event by teaching attendees how to build a balanced and beautiful charcuterie board. Pickled local veggies, tea-infused cherries, and locally made cheese were just a few of the stars of the beautiful spread that Chef Becky assembled and shared with attendees. 
As guests dined on an amazing potluck spread, CFI Board Vice President Mat Roberts and CFI Executive Director Maribeth Saleem-Tanner shared updates on how the support of members and volunteers has made it possible to grow and share the harvest with thousands of our neighbors in the past year and shared the new CFI Strategic Plan. The three year plan, developed with support from the Sisters Health Foundation and facilitation by Athens-based Mission Met consulting, lays out a roadmap for strengthening CFI’s sustainability and putting resources in place to support and grow Donation Station, Veggie Van, Community Gardens, Community-Based Garden Education, School Gardens and Sprouts, and Nourishing Networks. 
The highlight of the afternoon was celebrating our 2022 Golden Trowel Award Winning volunteers, as well as offering special recognition to two long-serving CFI Board members. We honored the service of continuing member Ruth Dudding, who has been on the CFI Board of Directors for 10 years, and outgoing Board Secretary Linda Parsons, who is stepping down after six years of board service to focus on engaging with CFI as a program volunteer (be sure to thank her for her leadership when you see her at the Donation Station table at the Athens Farmers Market this summer!). Members also elected the 2023 Board members and officers, including new members Caitlyn McDaniel (Staff Attorney at Southeastern Ohio Legal Services) and Heather Fuston (Business Development & Marketing Manager at Snowville Creamery and Root 56 Farms).
The day wrapped up with a seed swap, garden chats, and many thank yous to the Board members, staff, and volunteers who put the event together. We hope to see you for our next annual meeting in 2024!
Earth Day Celebrations at CFI
CFI had a full and wonderful month with special volunteer events!  As part of Athens Beautification Month, an Ohio University initiative in recognition of Earth Month, CFI hosted spring clean up parties in each of our community gardens.  The work party series included a special Earth Day celebration at our Hope Drive Community Garden, where we built elevated beds to improve garden accessibility, prepped the garden beds, and made pine cone bird feeders.
Volunteer events also included a day of service with a team from the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, featuring two separate Discovery Kitchen recipe demonstrations, one at the Athens Farmers Market and one on campus.  The campus event also included volunteer recruitment.
We accomplished a ton of work in the gardens, people loved the Discovery Kitchen recipe, the raised beds will be planted soon, and hopefully we’ll be signing on new volunteers in the near future!  Huge shout out to Raya Abner for coordinating these large Community Garden work parties, and to the countless other folks who made a month of many special events possible. 
Foundation for Appalachian Ohio Youth Resiliency Grant Program
Did you know that in addition to our Sprouts school-based garden education program, CFI delivers  additional community-based youth garden education such as workshops and summer garden club activities to over 100 Athens County kids each year? We are grateful for the support of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio’s Youth Resiliency grant program, which not only supported our Nelsonville youth garden programming with our awesome partners at the HIVE this past year, but also provided capacity building funds that allowed CFI to organize a training series for staff and volunteers to increase our knowledge and effectiveness in working with young people outside of a school setting. Presenters Katie Fox (Integrated Services for Behavioral Health/The HIVE) and Catherine Lachman (Athens-Meigs Educational Service Center- Family and Community Partnerships) shared strategies for creating supportive, nurturing learning environments and Lauren Borovicka (Authentic Insights, LLC) led our team through a workshop to design effective evaluations to collect youth feedback. We’re excited to put our new skills and knowledge into practice in the garden this summer!
CFI Out & About in April
Ever feel like you blink and another month has gone by?  That’s sort of what happened for all of us at CFI this April!  On top of the Annual Member Meeting and Earth Month events listed above, plus regular Veggie Van, Donation Station, Community Gardens, and School Garden Education programming, we were busy with School Day at CPA, supporting the Federal Valley Resource Center as they kicked off Community Gardener recruitment with a workshop from OSU Extension, leading Nourishing Networks workshops in Marietta, and sharing about CFI with Athens Sunrise Rotary as a follow-up to their generous Drafts for a Difference donation.  THANK YOU to all of the many folks who make these events happen.  
What Else?
Donation Station is at the Athens Farmers Market  every Saturday, and we happily accept produce from your garden or purchased at market! See us at the NEW MARKET LOCATION 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, Twitter
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. 
Plant a seed!
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