CFI Newsletter, May 2023  
May Garden Celebrations
May has been filled with community-wide garden happenings!  May is always a fun and fast month because we're simultaneously wrapping up the school year and leaping into the growing season, celebrating completed cycles while knowing that in the world of food and gardening, most "endings" are also a beginning.  May is filled with the energy of cultivating relationships and tending soil, laying ground work for another season of exuberance.   
This year once again one of the busiest (buzziest!) events of the month was wrapping up another season of Sprouts with farm field trips.  What an amazing, fun, and inspiring few days we had taking students out to local farms for a day of nature! It’s hard to understand just how impactful these field trips are without being there in person to experience the excitement and shouts of joy; hopefully the photos below will help you glimpse the magic that happens when kids get to explore and play outside surrounded by grass, trees, and birdsong.  Activities for the day included pollinator hunting, chlorophyll stamping, making clay seed balls, pond studies, flower planting, an obstacle course, field games, and local snacks, all while sharing the life-changing experience of using mind, body, and heart to engage with the wonderful world where we all live.  It is absolutely heartwarming to see how experiences like these farm field trips nurture compassion, curiosity, connection, and confidence among the young folks who will shape future communities.  We’re pretty sure the 200+ first grade students that enjoyed these special days will carry the experience with them always.     

We’re especially grateful to Blackberry Sage Farm and Solid Ground Farm for hosting us again this year, and thanks also goes out to our partners at Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery, Live Healthy Kids, and Rural Action for providing some amazing activities.  Thank you to COMCorps for providing a plethora of awesome volunteers, and to Athens Photo Project and ACEnet for taking photos to capture these moments.

Please read on for other spring festivities from a full past month!  
New Developments at Nelsonville Community Garden
The Nelsonville Garden has been buzzing with activity, and plans to develop the space for increased community engagement and education focused on regenerative agriculture are well under way!  Huge shout out to Sasha Sigetic for leading an excellent tree planting and fruit tree guild workshop this month, to OSU Extension and the HIVE for collaborating on a raised bed project for HIVE youth with support from OSU SNAP-Ed, and to the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio for supporting our ongoing work with the HIVE. 
Are you interested in permaculture?  Have ideas for a garden workshop you’d like to lead?  Let us know
Cheers and Thank You!
THANK YOU to West End Ciderhouse and to all who came out for our Community Drafts day!  The house was packed inside and out and everyone had a great time!  Stay tuned for announcements regarding more opportunities to hang out and support CFI – coming soon!
Plant Start Giveaway 2023
Plant Start Giveaway 2023 was a huge hit, with over 4900 plant starts shared with the community!  Thanks to all who came out (even in the rain) to pick up plant starts for their own garden and to share with others, and enormous shout out to the many folks who served as plant parents this year.  
We’re all somehow connected with the work to grow long-term regional food security, and knowing that there are nearly 5000 new plants out in your gardens waiting to grow food for humans and pollinators (which will in turn support growing more food…) is wonderful.  THANK YOU for being part of the Grow & Share team!  And on that note -- Donation Station is at the Athens Farmers Market on both Wednesdays and Saturdays this time of year and will happily accept any produce from your garden that you care to share.   
Help Donation Station Grow Long-Term Food Security!
Our summer fundraiser for Donation Station is wrapping up and we still need your help!  Donation Station grows long-term food security by purchasing food from local farmers and providing access to the healthy food that we all need to be healthy enough to work and thrive.  Sourcing food directly from smaller local farms diversifies and strengthens our food system and supports biodiversity in the natural world that makes life possible.  Donate today! 
Another Great Year of School Gardens Programming!
Another quick shout out to our School Gardens team for wrapping up the school year!  Stay tuned for news about kids' camps, and THANK YOU to the volunteers that help us tend school gardens during summer months!  Want to support this work?  DONATE TODAY
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. 
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