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If you want to be in the know about what’s going on at our organization, you’ve come to the right place.

Be sure to check back regularly to get our latest blog updates. 


Caitlin Garrity, CFI member, calls the work of CFI “creative, different, and innovative” – a service that’s “filling niches” other organizations in the area don’t or otherwise cannot fill.

Here at Community Food Initiatives, we’re grateful to ‘Grow and Share the Harvest’ with our staff, volunteers and our community members year-round.

Things are finally winding down around here. We had a good hard frost recently, and have been hurriedly helping everyone get the gardens ready to sleep for the winter, and making what improvements we can while the weather is still nice.

We’ve been hosting a bunch of workshops lately, with lots of wonderfully inquisitive attendees. Half of our workshops have been covering different food preservation techniques such as dehydrating, freezing, and fermenting vegetables and other foods.

We’ve been hard at work getting our gardeners set up for the fall growing season. As part of our work with Grow Appalachia, our participating gardeners have received the tools and equipment to construct their own miniature unheated greenhouses (called “midtunnels”) to use as a way to extend the useful growing season.

Kevin Fletcher here, your regional garden specialist! Let’s take a look at how things have been going at some of our community gardens around the area:

This time of year things get a little crazy here at CFI, so we need a few extra hands to keep all of our plates moving.

Community Food Initiatives (CFI) is very pleased to invite local community members to join one of our several community gardens in Athens County for the 2015 growing season starting now!

Bekky, CFI’s Donation Station & Discovery Kitchen Coordinator, shares a day in the life at CFI: “I knew it was...

It’s official: Community Food Initiatives has published a Seed Saving Guide! Purchase your copy online now!

WHITE PINE: The cold weather often leads to sneezing and coughing. I really enjoy a warm cup of tea when it’s snowing outside.

Wild Chickweed, grows in patches and can provide much substance. It is one of the hardiest greens, even growing in the winter.

CFI is excited to be offering a whole series of workshops related to seed saving, starting and more in addition to our seed swaps this year!

There are many foods in the wilderness that require no care in growing; finding them is the tricky part. Wintercress, Barbarea vulgaris, is one food that grows even during the winter months.

Community Food Initiatives represents Ohio as one of 51 finalists in the running to earn $50,000 for a community project that will increase access to healthy fresh foods for food pantries, and offer cooking and nutrition classes to food pantry patrons.

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a CFI sponsored workshop at Greenfire Farm in New Marshfield. Though I had heard about a number of intriguing CFI workshops in the past, this one was the first I had managed to attend.

This is the second installment of our series looking behind the scenes of the Donation Station, investigating where all the local food from the Athens Farmers Market and area community gardeners goes when it is distributed to area pantries and social service agencies. Under the microscope this time is Athens County Children Services’ Peanut Butter & Jelly Project.

It has been fascinating to watch our community move through the crisis brought about by July’s particularly wild storms. I remember stepping outside of my house on the city’s westside shortly after the sky had cleared to find good number of my neighbors out in the street talking with a bit of anxiousness, but in good spirits.

Have you ever wondered where the fresh local foods from the Donation Station go? In order to better tell the Donation Station story, I went behind the scenes, tracking the food from start to finish with Good Works, as they use fresh foods to serve free lunches in The Plains this summer.

On Sunday, Executive Director Mary Nally and CFI board member Barbara Fisher spoke with Milena Miller on her WOUB radio program, Conversations from Studio B.

If you shop at Kroger, you probably have a Kroger Rewards card. But, did you know that Kroger Rewards card holders can choose to register every year to have a percentage of what they spend at Kroger given to a charitable organization, school, or other non-profit?

Lindsey Rose, who just graduated from OU with a doctorate in communication studies, followed the CFI for the past year, studying our effects on the local community. “CFI is doing remarkable things to make up for what food pantries and food stamps aren’t getting at,” she said. “I was drawn to them because of some of the really positive impacts they’ve been having in the community.”
http://phys.org/wire-news/99298460/grassroots-groups-work-to-improve-access-to-healthy-food.html

Apparently, this blogger is the squarest square in squaresville. I didn’t know what all the cool kids know: this weekend is the Athens Community Arts Smorgasbord, which is a benefit for the CFI.

Although sometimes it seems that way, not everyone in the CFI is a vegetarian or vegan. Some of us really like our animal protein, be it meat, eggs or milk. However, it is important to us that these come from ethical sources, and that means applying some thought to what one eats and where it comes from.

Mary Nally, our new Executive Director, was recently the subject of a well done article in the OU Post, titled Southeast Ohio native, OU grad returns to roots to help region battle hunger. The article discusses Mary’s history, offers some perspectives from other CFI officers, and ends with this great quote from Mary:

http://thepost.ohiou.edu/content/southeast-ohio-native-ou-grad-returns-roots-help-region-battle-hunger

I just learned from the Community Food Security Coalition that the Senate Agriculture Committee has approved the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 with a bipartisan 16-5 vote. Here’s more info from the CFSC:

The new Eastside Community Gardens are springing up fast. For years, folks in this town have wanted more space to grow their own food. When the city cut a deal with the CFI for some land and water, we didn’t even have to advertise; people were banging down our doors to get a piece of the action!

Last night, the CFI bid a fond farewell to former executive director Ronda Clark, and gave a hearty welcome to Mary Nally, the new executive director. Held at the Athens Community Center, the Annual CFI Potluck was a wonderful affair, with lots of delicious food, wise words, and so much more.

Today was the first Wednesday market of the Athens Farmers Market’s fortieth year. It was a little chilly, as if the weather belatedly remembered that it was spring, not summer.

It used to be that the Ridges grew all the food for more than five state institutions around here. There were thousands of apple trees, but when the era of work therapy came to an end, the orchards were destroyed.
http://vimeo.com/39980295

The CFI is happy to announce that the Seed 2012 Saving Inventory is now available for download. What is seed saving, and why is an inventory important? Here’s what CFI’s seed savers have to say:

Welcome to a new, and hopefully exciting, part of the CFI website — the CFI Blog. We’ll be using this space to tell you about upcoming events, but there will be much more.

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