CFI Newsletter, January 2024  
Preparing for the New Year 

It’s late January and yet it feels like spring is around the corner.  With the rest of you all, we’re thinking about the year(s) ahead, holding hopes, setting goals, making plans, and sending up a wish for the weather and other conditions that will help our gardens thrive, literal and metaphorical.   Time once again to think about seeds, and all that we will grow and share together. 
Below we’ve shared some “seeds” that the CFI team is planting for 2023.  You are all part of the CFI garden, too – What seeds are you planting in 2023?  Let us know!   
Read on for exciting announcements as we kick off 2024.

May your gardens flourish in 2024,
The CFI team

Molly Gassaway:
  • To inspire more of our community's youngest gardeners!
Pat Tegge:
  • Finish remodeling my kitchen;
  • Start a garden and let Poppy help with as much as she can!
Drew Ogg: 
  • Drink less coffee;
  • Run a marathon.
Olivia Degitz:
  • Get back into serious gardening (just got some really cool heirloom seeds from seed savers exchange);
  • Spend at least 30 minutes each day outside.
Lucy Peloso: 
  • Develop healthier routines, like going for a walk everyday!
  • Get back into crocheting.
Adam Kody: 
  • Prioritize health and wellness;
  • Build upon positive personal and professional relationships;
  • Set boundaries.
Amy Fugikawa:
  • Collaborate to create bee hotels;
  • Extend my salad mix season;
  • Spend more time having fun with my family and friends. 
Mat Roberts: 
  • Invest in a big garden - with at least a row for CFI! On the same note, I also want to improve my composting operation at home. So, a lot of backyard aspirations!
  • I am also taking Rural Action's Sustainable Energy Pledge, so a home goal with this 1-year pledge is to switch one appliance from natural gas to electric, with the ultimate goal of eventually electrifying everything. There are tax credits to make the switch! The State of Ohio is also cooking up a program to provide instant rebates for electrification projects - may be ready by mid-2024?... stay tuned!
Susie Huser: 
  • Collaborate with our team and network to inspire folks to connect with food, each other, and the Earth.
  • Write more letters.
Ivan Orquera:
  • Welcome and make two new staff members feel at home! 
  • Find a new spot by our old spot for the Nelsonville Veggie Van and hopefully increase attendees!
  • And have a great preseason Veggie Van all of Spring!!
Anthony Warner:  
  • Learn more about gardening and become a more serious gardener;
  • Take advantage of as many opportunities to learn and grow as I can this year.
Sierra Faris: 
  • Launch a Board-led Grants subcommittee for CFI to increase CFI's grants portfolio;
  • Have a good first year in OSU's MBA program.
Maribeth Saleem-Tanner: 
  • My wish and goal for CFI in the coming year is to meet and connect with more people from all over the region (and beyond!) who are doing inspiring work that we can learn from and support. Every time we get the chance to attend a conference, take a trip, or participate in a conversation with other folks doing awesome things in their communities, I come away energized, full of ideas, and hopeful for the future, and I'm excited for more of those opportunities in 
Team Transitions
We are full of gratitude, love, and well-wishes with the transition of two CFI team members. 
Reggie Morrow, CFI's amazing Director of Food Sourcing Distribution, is embarking on the next phase of his professional journey as Basic Needs Coordinator at Ohio University, and Ruth Dudding, dedicated CFI board member for TEN years, has concluded her service with CFI.  We will miss them both! 
Reggie joined the CFI team in 2019 as a COMCorps member before joining the staff in 2020 and was a key player in coordinating CFI's critical food access work throughout the pandemic. With a heart for service, a passion for innovation, and a huge amount of positive energy and hard work, Reggie has led major growth in CFI's food access work, including expanding CFI's partnership with the Vest Farm, establishing a contract purchasing program to facilitate farm-to-pantry food distribution, redesigning food distribution at CFI to improve equity and accessibility, and supporting local farms and food businesses by organizing the purchase of over $40,000 of local food by CFI in 2023 alone.
Ruth believes deeply in the mission of CFI, and provided thoughtful and exemplary leadership as the longest serving member on the Board of Directors. Ruth’s compassion, encouragement, wise perspective, and positive energy have been inspiring for all of us, and it is an honor and joy to continue to work with her as a partner at the Athens City County Health Department.  Ruth also happens to make the BEST vegan treats, and is quite famous for her brownies and chocolate cake – and for this reason especially we look forward to continuing to see her at member meetings or other CFI events. ;) 

On behalf of all of us at CFI, thank you to Reggie and Ruth for their incredible contributions to CFI over the past years!  Please help us thank them if you see them in the community. 

Harvesting out at the Vest plot, which Reggie managed, has always been a favorite activity with our team and volunteers.
Reggie's last day with the Donation Station at the Athens Farmers Market!
Ruth with the CFI team in 2018.
Ruth received the Athens County Foundation Woman of the Year award in 2023!  Photo credit Athens City-County Health Department.
And We're Hiring!
We'll soon be hiring for the following positions.  Watch our website and social media for announcements.
  • Food Sourcing and Distribution Manager
  • Veggie Van Marketing Specialist
Discovery Kitchen By the Seasons
There are still a few copies of CFI’s new Discovery Kitchen cookbook available for purchase!  Email us to reserve a copy, or stop by the Donation Station booth at the Athens Farmers Market to browse and pick up a copy any Saturday.  We are also inviting those who are able to donate a copy to share with one of our Donation Station food access partners.  Contact us with questions!
Thank You Sponsors!
Thank you to continuing sponsors Purple Chopstix and Beads & Things!  Sponsorships create community-wide benefits through supporting our resilience-building programs.  Your donation will help ensure the sustainability of our community gardens, school gardens, and food justice/community networking initiatives, while also helping us build a food system where everyone has access to fresh, local food. Interested in becoming a sponsor?  Learn more HERE.
What Else?
Donation Station is at the Athens Farmers Market  every Saturday, and we happily accept produce purchased at market! The Athens Farmers Market takes place at the Athens Community Center.  Note that the market includes a space inside the Community Center 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
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. 
Donate today!
OEFFA 2024
The CFI team is looking forward to the upcoming OEFFA conference!  Feb. 1 is the deadline to register.  We'd love to see you there! 
About the conference:
  • Ohio's largest sustainable agriculture conference
  • February 15-17, 2024, in Newark, Ohio
  • 60+ workshops on sustainable farming, livestock, homesteading, gardening, and businesse
  • Dedicated spaces for BIPOC farmers, queer farmers, landseekers and landowners, and more to connect and share
  • And more!

Learn more and register at
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