| Mar 16, 2023
It's Potato Season at CFI!
Loading spuds at last year's seed potato giveaway
It’s hard to believe we are already nearly three months into the new year! As I write this update, CFI is busy preparing for our annual Seed Potato Giveaway, which will take place next week. Community Food Initiatives hosts garden giveaways every year as part of our mission to foster communities where everyone has equitable access to healthy, local food. Anyone in the community is invited to pick up seeds to plant and grow in their own garden. We give out potatoes in March, a variety of vegetable seeds in April, and plant starts in May that include tomatoes, squash, and more. We're also offering a series of seed-starting workshops this year to help community members feel more confident in their gardening skills!
Everyone who benefits from the garden giveaways program is encouraged to pay it forward by sharing what they grow with their friends and family, or by joining CFI’s Grow and Share team and donating a portion of their harvest to the Donation Station.
The seed potatoes that we’ll share next week are intended for planting now and harvesting in about 100 days. CFI provides planting instructions and tips at the giveaway. The average yield is 6-10 potatoes for each potato section that is planted. This means that 10 seed potatoes could yield 120 potatoes for eating!
We’ll distribute 80,000 pounds of donated seed potatoes over the next week to partners and individuals; some people walk down the street to get a couple of pounds, and some organizations drive over 150 miles to load up a truck to bring home to their own neighbors. The giveaway only lasts a few days, but it takes weeks of planning, dedicated warehouse space, hundreds of phone calls and emails, and dozens of dedicated volunteers to make it happen...and in the end, it brings nourishing, homegrown food to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the region.
There are so many stories I could share of the impact of your support at CFI—and you can see a lot of them in our recently released 2022 Annual Report, linked here—but I wanted to tell you about the seed potato giveaway because while it is just one small part of what we do, it represents so much about the work that you make possible: the link between gardens and food security, the benefits of empowering people to provide for themselves and their families by providing resources, the value of collaboration, the huge impact that can be made by a small group of people, and the power of working together locally, regionally, and beyond to build a healthier community and a stronger food system for all.
We hope you’ll continue to partner with us in 2023 to help people grow and share healthy local food in Appalachian Ohio. Thank you.
Sorting and bagging potatoes in 2022
Volunteers help get gardens ready for the season!
A recent community seed starting workshop