Fighting Hunger in Southeast Ohio – One Seed at a Time

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More than 25% of Athens County children don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That was one reason for Community Food Initiatives’ annual seed and potato giveaway in Glouster on Tuesday.

The giveaway is one of many CFI programs to help families in the Athens area.

Who is CFI?

Community Food Initiatives is a membership-based social benefit organization to provide access to healthy and local food for the food insecure in Appalachia Ohio. Since 1992, CFI has worked to combat health disparity and poverty in Athens County. By sharing the knowledge of growing food and helping fill food pantries, CFI helps families become more food stable, improving family health.

Produce received by donation through the Donation Station program. Photo Courtesy of CFI
Sign for the Glouster Community Garden that is part of the Community Food Initiatives.
A table full of bags of potato seeds at the latest seed giveaway by CFI hosted by HAPCAP in Glouster.
List of future giveaways hosted by Community Food Initiatives. Courtesy of CFI.

How does CFI help?

From teaching cooking classes to filling food pantries, Community Food Initiatives offers an array of programs to help educate families and fight hunger.

Infographic Courtesy of Community Food Initiatives

CFI’s Donation Station program started in 2007 and has blossomed into a program addressing  Appalachia Ohio’s food insecurity and works toward supporting a regional food system. The program distributes donated and purchased food to CFI’s partners who then redistribute the food to individuals and families facing food insecurity. Donation Station also allows local families to attend kitchen workshops to improve their quality of life.

Donation Station Program Manager Susie Huser said the program is successful for everyone involved.

“It’s circular, it’s a really cool system,” she said.

YEAH! Kids is the CFI’s program to help coach low-income youth to future success. Youth Entrepreneurs At Hope, teaches children ages 11-18 about production gardening, money management, culinary skills, and professionalism. The children in the program grow their own produce and use the ACEnet kitchen to make treats to sell at the Athens Farmers Market.

CFI also empowers community members grow their own gardens through seed giveaways. An annual plant giveaway will take place on May 14 at CFI’s office at ACEnet.

Infographic Courtesy of Community Food Initiative

Volunteering at CFI?

Volunteers are an essential component of CFI’s success. Whether weeding the community gardens or teaching workshops, Huser said CFI is always looking for volunteers.

“We are going to need more volunteers, we are moving into peak produce season,” she said.