Members matter to both local and national organizations alike, and Community Food Initiatives (CFI) is no exception. We’re proud to share the stories of our community members, and why they choose to collaborate with CFI, over the next several months in our #MembersMatter2017 series!
Joelle Hopkins is a junior in Applied Nutrition with a concentration in dietetics at Ohio University. Getting involved with the Athens community through her work with CFI has enriched her time here as a student and has given Joelle a new perspective on what fresh, healthy food access looks like. Now, she only wishes her friends knew about volunteering with CFI, too!
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This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity
CFI: What do you love/like/faint with passion over CFI?
JH: CFI's mission of making sure everyone has healthy foods, and the community aspect. Where I'm from, McConnelsville in Morgan County near Chesterhill, it's kind of a food desert. There's farms, but people don't really have much access, and there aren't really initiatives to provide greater access to food.
CFI: What do you enjoy most about being a CFI member?
JH: Still experiencing the relationships I've made.
CFI: When did you first hear about CFI?
JH: My freshman year at an engagement fair. There was a stand for it, and I got someone's email, and I emailed them – we met in Donkey, and she put me on this list!
CFI: What do you think other people should know about CFI?
JH: People should know about CFI because, I feel like, a lot of people don't know about it. Like my friends at the Farmers Market not knowing what the Donation Station – how do they not know?! It's great to be involved with the community.
CFI: Why should more people know about CFI?
JH: CFI is an organization providing access to healthy food to the community, and CFI has many different ways of doing that. There is the Donation Station, where you can donate extra money or some extra food that you buy. Then there's the Community Gardens and School Gardens. Lots of organizations require service hours, and volunteering with CFI is a way other people can get service hours and give back to their community. As a student, there is more to Athens than Ohio University.
CFI: How does your major [Applied Nutrition] correlate with CFI and its mission?
JH: It's hands-on experience in the community. You'll build relationships with other CFI members and with the community. You'll get to see how community gardens have an impact on people in providing healthy foods. And in this poorer area of Ohio, it has a very big impact.