CFI Newsletter, July 2023  
Thank You, COMCorps!
This month, we celebrate a year of COMCorps AmeriCorps service from Lucy, our wonderful Education Coordinator, and three years of service from Raya, our brilliant Community Gardens Coordinator. If you’ve had the opportunity to be part of any CFI activities the past year, you have almost certainly come into contact with Raya and Lucy, or with Sam, our dedicated Food Access Coordinator who ended their COMCorps service with CFI earlier this year.
CFI puts our mission into action through literally hundreds of individual projects, conversations, events, and relationships each month, and these dedicated service members are the ones who make that possible. Each has strengthened CFI with their perspective, passion, humor, dedication, creativity, skills, talents, kindness and joy. As they complete this year of service, we want to extend our sincerest thanks to the 2022-2023 COMCorps Team at CFI.  The seeds sown during their time with CFI will continue to flourish and bear fruit (and veggies) for years to come!

With gratitude,
The CFI team
Back to School Bash 2023
On July 12, 2023, the Public Square in Nelsonville was converted to a festival for all Athens County school kids.  CFI joined a live DJ, the SE Ohio Food Bank, the Athens Farmers Market, and other social services agencies in welcoming about 1,400 youth for Back to School Bash 2023.  An event for both kids and adults, this was a great opportunity to share information about our Nelsonville Veggie Van, the Nelsonville Community Garden, and Discovery Kitchen samples and recipes.  The hit of the day was definitely slices of plain cucumber -- thanks to a (kid-safe!) mandolin slicer that kids got to test out.  Thank you to Job and Family Services for organizing such a great event, and to ALL of the CFI team members who jumped in to make our presence at this day-long event possible!       
Nelsonville Veggie Van Now Open
Have you stopped by CFI’s Veggie Van this summer?  With our recent Nelsonville opening, Veggie Van now serves Glouster, Coolville, and Nelsonville weekly!   This means that three times each week our Veggie Van team sets up our donation-based farmstand, sharing fresh local produce with communities that otherwise would have limited access to healthy food.  Stop by soon to pick up summer favorites like sweet corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, summer squash, and more, plus Discovery Kitchen recipes!   
Here is our summer schedule:
Tuesdays, 3:30PM-5:30PM
Nelsonville ACEnet, 296 S Harper Street, Nelsonville, OH 
Wednesdays, 3:30-5:30PM
Across from the Coolville Public Library, 26401 Main St, Coolville, OH
Fridays, 3:30pm-5:30pm 
Glouster Memorial Park (across from 21 S. High Strezet), Glouster, OH  
Hope Drive Garden Club 2023
Hope Drive Garden Club 2023 was a great success!  An annual club that inspires community connection around sharing gardening, food, and creativity at the Hope Drive Community Garden, the garden club runs for 5 weeks from June to July.  Each session this year offered a blend of gardening activities, arts and crafts to decorate the garden, and samples of Discovery Kitchen recipes made using local produce.
Some of our favorite activities this year included painting rocks and toad abodes for the garden, making flower bouquets, clearing out the garden beds, and planting a variety of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. We also laid down a mulch path throughout the entire garden which really transformed the space! This year we had around 10 participants each week and many volunteers.
This is the third year of the garden club and since the beginning, we have seen Hope Drive Garden Club cultivate community ownership of the garden and foster relationships between folks living at Hope Drive. Thank you to all who participated and volunteered, you help make this community garden thrive!
Stinner Climate Ambassadors Athens Residency
Early this month, CFI had the honor of hosting the Stinner Climate Ambassadors, a group of young leaders passionate about working with communities to support the development of sustainable and resilient food systems.  The group spent a week in Athens as part of summer internship program that also included residencies in central and southwest Ohio to learn about the work that is happening throughout the state to grow climate resilient agroecosystems. 
In Athens, the focus was on community collaboration as the essence of any sustainable system.  The group spent time with all CFI programs, as well as spending time with Rural Action, Ohio University’s Office of Sustainability, and United Plant Savers.  Thank you to all who made this project possible, and special thanks to co-sponsors Methodist Theological School of Ohio and Ohio State’s Agroecosystem Management Program.  Learn more about their journey by following @stinnerambassadors on instagram.
Flower Fundraiser!
Flowers bring joy!  Be on the lookout for a CFI flower fundraiser in August! CFI's Director of Garden Programs Molly Gassaway will be making beautiful bouquets for a suggested donation, and will work with you to coordinate a pickup location.  Reserve one for yourself and 2 for friends!  STAY TUNED!  Email Molly with questions.   
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. 
Thank you to the Hocking College football team and their coaches for an amazing work day in the Nelsonville Community Garden! 
Donate today & help communities thrive!
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