A note from Maribeth
A note from Maribeth
CFI Newsletter, October 2021  
Harvest Celebrations!  A Note from Maribeth

Dear friends,
Just like that, it’s fall. It’s a time when we experience cycles and transition in the most visible and tangible of ways. Gardeners are still picking the last red tomatoes, even as they prepare beds for the winter and seed cover crops. The CFI crates that just a few weeks ago were packed with peppers and sweet corn now hold winter squash and sweet potatoes ready to go out to pantry partners. 
Other seasonal changes are less visible, but just as significant. The attention of the CFI team is shifting from figuring out how to fit just one more bushel of corn in the cooler to planning with farmers to make sure we can keep the shelves stocked adequately in the coming months. As weekly interactions with community gardeners slow down, the engagement of students in classroom-based activities deepens. Community needs don’t decrease as the harvest season slows, but neither do the opportunities to connect and work toward our mission. 
We are hopeful that by the time next fall comes around, we’ll be able to gather safely to celebrate the turning of the seasons--and CFI’s 30th birthday--together in person at our 2022 Harvest Celebration! In the meantime, we invite you to raise a glass of cider or a hot cup of tea wherever you are in gratitude for another season of growing, sharing, and working together to build a thriving local food system. Cheers, and thank you.

With gratitude,
Maribeth Saleem-Tanner
Executive Director
Community Food Initiatives
Sprouts Update
Sprouts School Garden programming is underway in 10 first grade classrooms throughout Athens county.  This hands-on, multisensory curriculum helps students gain a deeper understanding of the environment and sustainable agriculture, food sources, connections between healthy bodies and healthy gardens, and more.  So far this year we have been busy collecting seed, discussing what plants need to grow, learning about pawpaws and other native plants, and celebrating Farm to School Month (October!). It is so rewarding to witness the way students respond with excitement and engagement to these activities!

Thank you to Jackie O's!

We would like to take a moment to send a special THANK YOU to our friends at Jackie O's for their support of Sprouts School Garden Programming.  The folks at Jackie O’s use their business to support our local food system in so many ways, such as incorporating locally grown/produced items into their menu and growing some of their own produce on their farm.  We are excited that their contribution at the "Teacher's Friend" level will allow us to further develop and expand our school garden curriculum for this academic year.  Thank you!  
From Garden Plots to Plates
Hope Drive Harvest Celebration
(Photos above.) We had a great Hope Drive Harvest Celebration!  This year, activities included pumpkin painting, spell jars made with herbs from our community gardens, and a variety of treats made with local produce, including pumpkin cookies, apple beet muffins, gourmet popcorn, and of course, fresh apple cider from the Athens Farmers Market!  While enjoying snacks and crafts, attendees also spruced up the garden, preparing for putting the garden to bed and looking towards next year's growing season.  We love the excitement that has grown around the garden at Hope Drive.  (Couldn't resist that pun...)
Discovery Kitchen Workshops at Ohio University 
In October we had our first Discovery Kitchen workshop of the school year at Ohio University.  These workshops are part of the Initiative for Appalachian Food and Culture, which aims to  strengthen our regional food system through supporting local food on the OHIO campus and at other institutions. When institutions such as schools invest in local food, we increase the food we're buying from farmers, ultimately strengthening the region of Appalachia Ohio and supporting an equitable food system.  The workshops are an opportunity for students and community members to learn about cooking with local, seasonal produce, and they’re also a space where all those present can discuss local food: how when we choose local food, we choose food that's better for people, our planet, and our prosperity.  Thank you to the Sugar Bush Foundation for supporting this work!
Potato Harvest at Vest Berries Donation Station Plot
Huge thank you to Rick and Terry Vest for allowing CFI to garden on a small plot at their farm this season!  We planted tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, and radishes earlier this year, and, with Rick’s help throughout the season and an excellent team of volunteers, we’ve harvested more than 1500 pounds of food.  Harvesting potatoes is always a ton of fun and is one of our most popular volunteer opportunities!  Think you might be interested in helping next year?  Let us know
What Else?
Have more winter squash than you can handle?  Don't let it go to waste!  Donation Station is at the Athens Farmers Market Wednesdays and Saturdays, and we'll happily find a good home for your extras.  (We'll even help you track the pounds you donate.) 
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
Want to help the CFI garden grow? Visit our website for information about our programming and to see how you can help. Thank you! 
Ready, Set, Grow!
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