New Year wishes from the CFI team
New Year wishes from the CFI team
CFI Newsletter, January 2023  
Happy New Year from CFI!
Here we are in another late January!  A light layer of snow covers the ground as we prepare our first newsletter of 2023, but it almost feels like spring has already arrived – last week brought a day of snow flurries followed by a day of spring-like warmth, then a day of rain.  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.  We’re also sharing our 2022 Annual Report – a document that will give you an idea of what the CFI garden was like last year, and what we have to grow on.      
As we put together the Annual Report, it’s inspiring and amazing every year to realize just how many partners, collaborators, and supporters we have.  You are all part of the CFI garden, too – we ALL have an essential role to play in tending the vast garden of an equitable and thriving local food system.  What seeds are you planting in 2023?  Let us know!  

May your gardens flourish in the year ahead, and thank you for helping the CFI garden grow,

The CFI team
Seeds We're Planting in 2023
Mathew Roberts, CFI Board Vice President: My wish is to see a new community garden get built in Athens County! Perhaps in Albany?

Molly Gassaway, CFI Director of Garden Programs: I'm looking forward to building upon school and community connections to strengthen and expand our garden-related programming for both youth and adults.

Sam Alexander, Food Access Coordinator COMCorps member (2022): My goal for 2023 is to share more meals with my friends, colleagues, and neighbors.

Tiffany Arnold, CFI Board member: My goal is always to help others see the Appalachian region for the dynamic, complex, and amazing place that it is. 

Maribeth Saleem-Tanner, CFI Executive Director: In 2023, I'm excited to deepen the roots of existing connections, and also to branch out and hear new voices, visit new communities, and build new relationships. 

Adam Kody, CFI Board President: I hope that CFI continues to nurture and grow its inherent program strengths while utilizing the strategic planning process to help further cast a course for the future!
Lucy Peloso, Garden Education Coordinator COMCorps member: My hope and goal for this year is to focus on connection. I think this goal is personal and CFI-related (because all things in life are connected!). I hope to increase connections with this community, my connections with nature and the natural world, and my connections between my values, dreams, ideas, hobbies, and more - and to truly be intentional about living these out.  Another goal I have is to move more. I want to be active everyday - whether through working out, yoga, going for a walk, getting fresh air, gardening, etc.

Sarah Stonerock, CFI Intern, 2022-2023: In 2023 I hope to better understand food accessibility and how we at CFI work to encourage this, as well as what we could do better. I would also like to better understand the limitations that CFI faces, as well as what I can do as an individual to help.

Susie Huser, CFI Director of Outreach: One wish for 2023 is for CFI to cultivate the relationships and practices that support a thriving a diverse ecosystem in our gardens and community, and to inspire others to do the same.  A related wish is for all of us to empower each other, especially youth and college students we engage with, to take action in our own lives to support a diverse, equitable, and thriving food system.

Sierra Faris, CFI Board Treasurer: My goal for CFI in 2023 is to expand awareness so that every person in Athens county knows of its presence and amazing programming. I would also love to see some of CFI's models and programs expand to outside of the Appalachian Region. Imagine a world in which food security, farm security, and food waste is fought with Donation Station and education! 

Linda Parsons, CFI Board Secretary: My 2023 New Year's  wish  for CFI is to continue the great work they do to connect  the community with fantastic food,  great green gardens, sharing seed savers, and wide reaching workshops. My goals for 2023  are  to volunteer in a variety of ways and hoping my garden grows more fruits and veggies to donate this year.  Best New Year's wishes and peace to all the CFI staff, volunteers , and partners!

Raya Abner, Community Gardens Coordinator COMCorps member: My wish for this year is more sustainable community gardens--both through permaculture methods for environmental sustainability and community engagement opportunities for people sustainability. The dream is for healthy, regenerative soil and folks coming together to celebrate food and life while getting their hands all covered in that soil. (-:

Jessica Hough, Local Food Access Community Relations VISTA: I would like to find more time for myself and the things that bring me peace and joy. Such as painting, reading, and cooking/baking for pleasure and experience rather than cooking for necessity. Every day life is so full of "needs" and "have-to's" that sometimes I let those things run and take over every aspect of my life. I wish for myself to find and make time for myself in 2023.

Reggie Morrow, CFI Donation Station Program Manager: For 2023 I wish to see Community Food Initiative branch out of its shell to grow into an organization that is more substantial in connecting the little pieces to the big pieces and mending a network of solidarity from the home and community gardener, to the local CPA and AFM farmer; and from the Food Banks and pantries to the small town libraries, schools, and community groups. Solvi
ng food insecurity together.

2022 Annual Report

We're excited to share this beautiful report, masterfully put together by our 2022-2023 Community Relations VISTA, Jessica Hough.  You'll find a 2022 summary for each of our main program areas along with a letter from Executive Director Maribeth Saleem-Tanner, graphs illustrating our financials, and a list of our sponsors/partners.
ServeOhio MLK Day Project
On Friday, January 13, Community Gardens Coordinator (and third year COMCorps service member!) Raya Abner led an outstanding crew of other COMCorps volunteers in the construction of two raised beds in the Nelsonville Community Garden.  The crew assembled and positioned the beds, laid cardboard to block weeds, then filled the beds with soil, compost, and straw.  The crew had gorgeous weather for January, and even got to harvest turnips and radishes from some extended-season beds that had been planted in October of 2022.  The service project was made possible by funding from a ServeOhio MLK Jr. Day of Service grant, and of course by the help of the ever-willing COMCorps crew!   ServeOhio, the Governor-appointed commission on service and volunteerism, awarded grants to support 21 local Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service projects.  The grants helped nonprofits across the state improve their communities through service and volunteer activities in sixteen Ohio cities, led by more than 1,000 volunteers.  We were honored and thrilled to be one of the grant recipients and look forward to seeing what the raised beds grow!  
Strong Roots Through Renewed Sponsorships
Shout out and enormous thank you to these THREE returning CFI sponsors!  Sponsorship renewals help us know we have relationships with strong roots.  We’re grateful to have such committed support! Thank you to these community sponsors:
  • Sirius Systems Consulting, PLATINUM SPONSOR
  • Precision Imprint, BRONZE SPONSOR
Would your business or organization like to support CFI's mission in 2023? Visit our website to begin or renew your CFI sponsorship, or email Maribeth for more information. 
Become a Business Sponsor!
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.  You can donate either inside or outside!  
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. 
Start off the New Year with a gift!
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