Welcome COMCorps Crew 2021-2022!
Welcome COMCorps Crew 2021-2022!
CFI Newsletter, August 2021  
Shifting Seasons

Everything starts to turn and shift in August, and even though it happens every year, somehow the season’s first winter squash and cool mornings still catch us by surprise.  At the same time we’re ogling the amazing apple varieties and gorgeous gourds that are suddenly back at the CPA and Athens Farmers Market, we’re also thrilled to welcome our own new crew of COMCorps members!  Get to know them a bit in their brief bios below, and please stop and chat when you see them out in the community! 
Seasons are shifting but things are hardly slowing down at CFI, which makes us all the more grateful for our amazing team of staff and volunteers.  It's been a big summer!  Keep reading to see what's been keeping us busy as bees in a field of clover. 
Thank you for helping us grow and share the harvest!   
Gourds of gratitude,
The CFI team
Introducing COMCorps Crew, 2021-2022!

Raya is rejoining CFI as a second-year COMCorps member. She graduated summa cum laude from Ohio University in 2020 with a degree in English, minor in psychology, and certificate in diversity studies. After interning with United Campus Ministry's free community meals program one summer during undergrad, Raya wanted to continue learning about and working within the Athens local food system with a deep love for the human connection that arises when bonding over food. Raya loves reading, practicing yoga, trying out new plant-based recipes, gardening, studying astrology, and talking about her cat, Sage. If you ask what her favorite local food is, she'll say she eats an entire jar of Primaterra Farm's spicy sauerkraut every week.
Ravi is originally from Kent, Ohio, but moved to Athens to attend Ohio University where he studied Biology and Environmental Studies. Ravi has worked as a biology peer mentor at his university and as a summer field technician catching and studying diamondback terrapin turtles in Chesapeake Bay. During his time at OU, he discovered passions for public health, sustainability and conservation, and science communication, all of which he plans to explore further during his year of service as the Food Access COMCorps member at Community Food Initiatives. Ravi is most excited to connect with community members during his year of service, so if you ever see him at an event, don't be afraid to start a conversation! In his free time, Ravi enjoys hiking and learning about wildlife, reading, making soup, and appreciating the arts.
Although Abby was born and raised in Canton, she fell in love with the abundant wilderness and tight-knit community that is Athens while finishing her degree in Biological Sciences at Ohio University. Abby was drawn to CFI by its multifaceted approach to food insecurity and began volunteering with CFI her second year at OU. She will be serving as the Garden Education Coordinator COMCorps member at CFI. Abby has completed previous positions as a biology instructor and as a student researcher where she led lessons on biology topics and investigated cellular biology and social medicine, respectively. In her free time, she enjoys mountain biking, running, cooking, and writing poetry. She looks forward to deepening her connection with the Athens community, learning how non-profits operate, and participating in the different levels of a local food system.
Growing Season!
We recently partnered with Rural Action and Buckeye Health Plan for a special distribution of about 5,000 pounds of fresh, local food, including 200 Chesterhill Produce Auction Buying Club bags.  Buckeye Health Plan sponsored the event, Rural Action did an amazing job masterminding the purchase of produce and packing of the bags, CFI staff and board came out to CPA to help with bag-packing, and The Plains United Methodist Church generously allowed us to use their parking lot with Reverend Dan Fuchs pitching in to help during the distribution.  Buckeye Health Plan representatives came to help at the distribution as well, then stayed the weekend to attend the Athens Farmers Market, where our very own Maribeth Saleem-Tanner and Mayor Patterson volunteered at Donation Station.  It was a full and inspiring weekend!  A second similar distribution will take place in September in collaboration with Rural Action and ACEnet, sponsored again by Buckeye Health Plan.   We love seeing increased awareness of the idea that food is medicine!

Veggie Van Collaborations
Veggie Van expansion this summer is going great thanks to many collaborations!  It’s exciting to see Veggie Van as a community-connector in addition to making fresh veggies accessible in rural communities.  We’re delivering Rural Action Buying Club and Produce Prescription bags, increasing the customers Rural Action is able to serve while also increasing public awareness of the Veggie Van as a source of fresh, healthy food.  We're also partnering with Live Healthy Appalachia to provide special meal kits periodically, and Veggie Van Coordinator Ivan Orquera has been busy attending special community events like Glouster First Fridays and Coonskin Saturday events in Amesville to deepen our community relationships.  Thank you to all who are supporting this work, including the Creating Healthy Communities Coalition, Rural Action, Athens County Public Libraries, Stuart’s Opera House, Live Healthy Appalachia, and Hocking Athens Perry Community Action.   
What Else?
It's the time of year when gardens go wild!  Have excess produce?  Simply bring it to the Athens Farmers Market any Wednesday or Saturday and drop it off at the Donation Station booth! (We'll even help you track the pounds you donate.) 
From zucchini boats to pollinator parties, 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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