Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Congratulations Rhonda Clark!

Our longtime friend Rhonda Clark, Community Food Inititatives Executive Director, recently received a national award for her work on food security in Appalachian Ohio. Below is a copy of the press release. If you see Rhonda about, thank her for all the hard work she has accomplished for our regions food system.

Gardener’s Supply Company, an employee-owned national catalog gardening company based in Vermont, is honoring Ronda Clark, Executive Director of Athens, Ohio-based nonprofit Community Food Initiatives, with a 2009 Garden Crusader Award. Clark won first place in the “Feeding The Hungry” category for her work on behalf of food security in Appalachian Ohio.

Since 2001, Gardener’s Supply Company annually recognizes Garden Crusaders for “improving the world through gardening” and using their love of gardening to make a difference in their communities. The company’s website currently devotes a web page to Clark’s Garden Crusader Award: www.gardeners.com/2009-Garden-Crusader-Ronda-Clark/7152,default,pg.html.

Garden Crusader Awards celebrate enthusiastic individuals who “garden beyond their own backyards to grow food for the hungry, beautify their communities and help friends and neighbors discover the rewards of gardening,” thereby “creating a new green space, feeding the hungry with their produce, restoring a piece of land or teaching about gardening and the environment.”

“Many local folks participate in CFI’s efforts to feed the hungry,” says Clark, who receives a $1000 GSC gift certificate. “We are pleased to see our group effort recognized on a national level, and hope other communities will emulate CFI programs and activities.”

"The judges were very impressed with Ronda's work at CFI,” says Sue Chayer, Garden Crusader Coordinator. “Not only does her organization encourage healthy eating among community residents, but CFI also teaches people how to garden, and provides thousands of pounds of fresh produce to people in need. Community gardeners are required to donate 10 percent of their produce to food shelves. Gardener's Supply is proud to acknowledge gardeners like Ronda who are making a difference in their communities through the simple act of gardening."

CFI supporters are pleased to see their Director’s efforts recognized by this prestigious national award. “I can't imagine a more fitting title for Ronda Clark than `Garden Crusader,’” says Board Member Mark Hyatt. “She works tirelessly on behalf of this community to raise our level of food security, and she's a relentless advocate for the needy in our midst. She's an inspiration to all of us who care about the local food movement. We're lucky to have her!”

CFI promotes self-sufficiency with regard to the Athens region’s food supplies. Besides community gardens, the group provides Edible Schoolyard programming and curricula for regional schools, works with the City of Athens and other partners on composting arrangements, hosts community workshops and highlights the importance of Seed Saving and other educational projects. CFI receives project funding from the Sisters of St. Joseph Charitable Fund of Parkersburg WV, the USDA Community Food Project and Farmers Market Promotion Program, the City of Athens, Athens Foundation, United Appeal of Athens, Kramer Foundation and membership donations. For more about CFI's work, contact Ronda Clark at 740-593-5971, cfi@frognet.net or visit www.communityfoodinitiatives.com.

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