By Zach Perie | Local Food Access Community Relations VISTA
As we near the end of 2021, we aresofilled with gratitude! Here's why:
We've distributed more than 72,000 pounds of nourishing local food to those facing food insecurity;
We've invested $10,000 in our local food economy, supporting the people who grow our food;
Almost 2000 volunteer hours have been served with CFI;
We hosted 7 brilliant AmeriCorps volunteers and 7 brilliant student interns;
We're back in classrooms sharing the joy of gardening and our beautiful outdoor world with kids as young as preschool;
We expanded Veggie Van to serve three communities weekly, reaching a total of 1,600 customers and sharing over 17,000 pounds of food.
These are just a few of the many things on our gratitude list this year -- a snapshot from a single year. Next year we will celebrate our 30th anniversary at CFI, which means work like this has been happening forthree decades, and it is all possible because of YOU. Here at CFI, we believe in the soil, seeds, our Appalachian heritage of resilience, and our community--of which you're an integral part!
We’re facing global crises on a level that threatens to make despair its own pandemic, but YOU are creating hope for the future; YOU make long-term, positive change possible.
When you plant an oak tree, you create the potential for exponential expansion of a nourishing ecosystem. Every year, each new acorn holds the potential to grow into another nourishing habitat that, in turn, produces its own acorns and trees. Thank you for nourishing our tree at its roots.
By Ashley Prenatt | Food Justice Program Coordinator
We at Community Food Initiatives are so grateful to generous donors like you who make our work possible. We’d like to share some of the ways your contributions are supporting our team to Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio!
Did you know that every year, donors like you empower us to distribute 100,000 pounds of local produce to families in need? It takes a lot of hands to move all that food! From coordinating our produce purchases at the Athens Farmers Market and Chesterhill Produce Auction, to working the donation plots in our community gardens and bringing local food to folks in need through our Veggie Van, our COMCorps service members work tirelessly to turn your generous donations into food in the hands of our community! This year, we’re so grateful that we had the opportunity to host Raya Abner, Alex Armstrong, and Sonya Ferrier for their COMCorps term of service. Together, this amazing crew served 5100 hours over the course of 11 wild months. They joined CFI in August of 2020 (mid-pandemic), and their laughter, energy, creativity, sweat, muscle, smiles, knowledge, love, and compassion got us through the year! Though we’re sad to say goodbye to Sonya and Alex, we’re excited to share that Raya will be spending another year with us as the Garden Programs Coordinator! Check out some snapshots of this wonderful crew below as we celebrate their year spent growing and sharing the harvest in Appalachian Ohio.
After spending the winter months planning, organizing and surveying community members, our Veggie Van mobile market is up and running on a new, expanded schedule! This summer, the Van is making weekly stops in Glouster, Coolville and Nelsonville, as well as pop-up stops in Amesville, Chauncey and Trimble! Operating on a pay-what-you-can model, folks living in these rural communities can receive fresh, local produce at little to no cost. In addition to healthy food, we are also providing recipes to help folks utilize the produce they pick up at the Van! All local tomatoes, sweet corn, peaches, beets, strawberries and blackberries are just a few summer favorites that we feature. Check out some photos below of the beautiful produce and delicious recipes you can find at the Veggie Van this summer! Our expansion of the Veggie Van would not have been possible without the generous donations of people like you - thank you!
This summer has been one of joy in sharing the bounty with our community, and I hope this update has given you a glimpse into the multitude of ways you are supporting us to Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio. Thank you.
Updates from the Field: Our Annual Giveaways, the Veggie Van & More!
By Ashley Prenatt | Food Justice Program Coordinator
We at Community Food Initiatives are so grateful for our invaluable partnership with generous donors like you who make our work possible. Here are some ways your contributions to our mission are being used to Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio!
As we step into this year's growing season, we want to thank you for your generous support throughout the winter season. Because the Donation Station primarily sources food from our local farmers, our 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)! Supporting CFI during the colder months is so crucial to keeping our food supply consistent to serve our community. Your contributions have supported us though the winter to purchase local produce at the Athens Farmers Market, as well as directly from local farmers, to continue feeding our community when the need is greatest. Thank you!
Spring for CFI means our Annual Giveaway season, and this year's giveaways have been a huge success so far! Our Annual Seed Potato Giveaway broke our own personal records; in response to an increased need created by the pandemic, CFI distributed nearly 30,000 lbs of seed potatoesacross five Southeast Ohio counties - that's 10,000 lbs more than last year!! Additionally, our Annual Seed Giveaway recently distributed hundreds of seed packets to local families in partnership with our local libraries. While picking up seeds, families were invited to partner with our Grow-A-Row program, an opportunity to grow additional produce in their garden for the Donation Station! We are so excited to have the opportunity to empower our community to grow their own food, and encourage them to share their excess harvest with their neighbors!
The Veggie Van is gearing up to hit the road this summer! After a successful pilot season in Glouster, the Van is ready to expand its reach to not one, not two, but three additional communities this year! The Van will be bringing fresh, local food to town in Nelsonville, Coolville and Amesville this summer. We are in the process of surveying these communities to learn more about what fruits, veggies, and other local food items they'd like to see at the Van, and we can't wait to share the harvest with these neighbors!
While planning our expansion to these communities, the Veggie Van has also been hard at work making local produce more accessible to our neighbors by offering meal kits. Check out the photo below of our Chili-To-Go kits, complete with local Shagbark Tortilla Chips!
Though it would take pages and pages to share all of the different ways your contributions are being used to serve our community, I hope this update has given you a glimpse into the multitude of ways you are supporting us to Feed Families in Appalachian Ohio. Thank you.
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