Annual Report video inside!
Annual Report video inside!
Ready, Set, Grow!  
Spring! (Just Around the Corner)
Winter certainly serves an important role, both in the natural world and in our seasonal activities at CFI, and winter weather can bring sparkling beauty.  Still, a few days of sunshine and blue skies in February, and we're antsy to be back in the garden again, growing, harvesting, and sharing.  Maybe you've noticed, too: birds singing like crazy, feathers beginning to display brilliant spring hues; just a hint of green in the hills if you squint and tilt your head.  Have you started seeds?  Planned your garden?  Exhausted your shelves of last year’s harvest preserved in Mason jars?

We love all of these signs that spring is nearly here.  We also know they mean there’s a ton of work ahead!  As things come up and sprout, it's great to know we have lots of help tending the garden.  For an idea of the work we have in mind moving into 2021, be sure to check out our 2020 "Annual Report" video linked below, summarizing what we accomplished last year --- a year of unprecedented growing an sharing.  What we accomplish when we come together as a community is amazing.  
Spring sprouts,
The CFI team
Growing and Sharing: Donation Station
Because Donation Station primarily sources food from our local farmers, Donation Station supply drops dramatically during winter months -- decreasing to 10% our summer supply at greatest disparity.  The need for food during winter months, though, remains the same (or increases)!  So, we’ve been working really hard as a team to improve annual consistency of our food supply.  One strategy we’re promoting this year is a broader Buy One, Share One philosophy/opportunity, inviting community members to purchase something extra any time they shop local and donate it for our distribution.  To make this convenient, we have Buy One, Share One bins located throughout the Athens Farmers Market, and during the month of February we also had Buy One, Share One bins at Kindred Market and Farmacy. 
Another strategy we're really excited about is contracting local farmers to grow/store food for Donation Station distribution during winter months, with long-term hopes of promoting extended season growing in the area.  We’re still in the beginning stages, but so far we’ve received positive feedback from both farmers and food recipients.  These contracts require extra funding, so we’re thrilled to be featured on the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio’s new Cause Connector platform.  Check it out! 
Growing and Sharing: Discovery Kitchen
Like our Gardens team and others who have brilliantly adapted in-person programs over the past 10 months or so, our Discovery Kitchen educational outreach has taken on sharing recipes digitally.  We share recipes every week directly through our distribution, and also via social media.  Some recipes are in video format and others consist of photos and instructions; all of them celebrate local, seasonal food.  We're also collaborating with the Athens County Public Libraries, Live Healthy Appalachia, and OSU SNAP-Ed again this year for a third season of FEAST workshops --- adapted so that participants can make a simple meal at home.  For each workshop we provide a meal kit with a recipe and link to a video that includes nutritional information, cooking instruction, and fun facts that connect our garden plots to our plates.  Check out our video for three-sisters chili!     
Our goal is to use Discovery Kitchen to help the whole community discover the joy of eating seasonally and locally.  That means you all, too!  Look for our Discovery Kitchen posts on Saturdays, or take photos of the food YOU make using local ingredients and share it with the hashtag #discoverlocal.
Growing and Sharing: Garden Giveaways, 2021
Garden giveaways will be here before we know it!  We are in the planning stages for our annual seed potato giveaway (late March) and seed giveaway (April), and we’re already thinking about our plant-start giveaway (May).  We’ll send out email announcements for these events, so let us know if you’d like to be on that list.  (If you participated in these events last year and provided an email address, you’re already signed up.)  
Annual Report and Member Meeting, Re-envisioned!
Last year we missed our Annual Member Meeting due to the onset of the pandemic.  This year we’re committed to connecting with you all in some way!  We’re not planning an in-person gathering, but we will be inviting you all to participate in our standard annual activities, so please stay tuned for announcements/invitations!  Need to update your membership?  Contact us
In the meantime check out our video summarizing all the work we did thanks to a ton of collaborating in 2020! 
What Else?
There is always more to share.  Be sure to follow us on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Want to do more? Visit our website for information about our programming and to see how you can help.  
Ready, Set, Grow!
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