Preparing for Growing and Sharing: A Note From Maribeth
As we approach the end of February--amazed that the first weeks of the year are behind us, gearing up for a busy spring program season, and appreciating the winter sunshine--I’m grateful and I’m worried.
CFI recently released our 2022 Annual Report and I’m incredibly proud of how much CFI has done in the past year to foster communities where everyone has equitable access to healthy local food. Together we’ve worked with gardeners to cultivate hundreds of plots, engaged young people in garden education in dozens of classrooms and programs, served more than a thousand customers at the Veggie Van, invested $20,000 in our local food economy, and shared over 52,000 pounds of nutritious local food with our neighbors in need. As we were putting together the report, we had to reduce the font size on our “Partners and Supporters” pages because so many organizations collaborated with us in 2022.
At the same time, as I write this we are days away from the end of emergency SNAP benefits. Thousands of people in our area--well over half a million people in the state--are about to see significant reductions in monthly assistance amounts, while food prices remain high and food pantries are serving record numbers of people. CFI is bracing for the future, knowing that we will plant more gardens, distribute more produce, and support even more farmers, pantries, and families in the months ahead.
Looking toward this uncertain future reinforces the importance of our strong local network of people who consistently step up to take care of each other. I am worried, but I also believe in our region, our neighbors, our team, our partners, our members, and our mission. I am hopeful for the future and ready to see how our community will come together in creative and inspiring ways to grow and share the harvest. I’m ready to work alongside so many people--like each of you reading this newsletter--who believe in CFI’s vision of a resilient and sustainable region where everyone is nourished by a just, inclusive, and thriving local food system.
Executive Director, Community Food Initiatives