Preparing for growing & sharing
Preparing for growing & sharing
CFI Newsletter, February 2023  
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.

Maribeth Saleem-Tanner
Executive Director, Community Food Initiatives
OEFFA Conference 2023
Every February we look forward to the annual Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association conference!  This year’s conference took place in Newark, Ohio, with a theme of “Germinate, Regenerate, Agitate,” and the workshops and other events were rich with inspiring information and connections.  In addition to attending workshops led by other community members with expert farming and gardening knowledge, CFI led our own workshop this year.  Donation Station Program Manager Reggie Morrow and Director of Outreach Susie Huser led a full and engaged room in discussing CFI’s Donation Station as a model for growing community resilience from the ground up. 
Panel Discussion and Community Conversation
This month CFI led a panel discussion and community conversation about how to grow an equitable food system and the role that we all play in that work, with special guests Lindsay Klaunig from Trouvaille Farm, Dan Kneier from Hocking College, Tanya Hire from the Athens Farmers Market, and Nick Tepe from the Athens County Public Libraries.  Two major takeaways from the discussion were the hope that we all find in working with future generations to create a better world, and the fundamental importance of collaborating as a community to share resources.  The panel was Session 3 in a 6-part mini-summit series presented by the Farm to Ohio Working Group, a series funded in part by the Sugar Bush Foundation. Thank you to all who participated and attended!  Missed the panel?  You can view the recording HERE
Upcoming Outreach Events at CFI
CFI is hosting two upcoming events where you can learn more about how to get involved with our work, AND learn how to start your own seeds indoors!  We have two seed starting workshops coming up this week where we’ll also have information about opportunities to support CFI.  Please join us at the location that is most convenient for you: Thursday March 2nd, 5pm-6pm, at the Athens Public Library, or Saturday March 4th, 11am-noon, at the Glouster Public Library.

Veggie Van 2023 Season!

BACK ON THE ROAD IN MARCH!  Veggie Van will be kicking off its 2023 season the week of March 20th in both Coolville and Glouster with a seed potato distribution and special promotion of all that Veggie Van will offer this year. 
Please help us spread the word and consider stopping by on 3/22 in Coolville, or on 3/24 in Glouster.  Stay tuned for updates on social media!
Questions?  Email Ivan, our Veggie Van Manager.   
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.  Donation Station has a booth both inside and outside during winter months.  
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. 
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