Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Community Food Initiatives to Host Indian Feast Fundraiser

ATHENS, OH - Community Food Initiatives (CFI), a local non-profit known for expanding access to fresh and nutritious foods for all people in our region, is gearing up for its annual Harvest Dinner on Saturday, October 13th at 5:30pm. The dinner will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Athens. This year’s event, organized by CFI’s board of directors, will feature an Indian vegetarian meal using local ingredients, prepared by board member Barbara Fisher, a local food blogger and chef.

Dinner will be accompanied by piano music performed by Lynn Sullivan, who has served as musical director for a number of local performances and also plays in jazz groups. Guests will also see a preview from "Hand to Mouth," a locally produced feature length film by Daniel Trout and Barbara Fisher, about the food producing community in and around Athens.

Thanks to the generosity of the Nelsonville Quilt Company, there will be a raffle drawing for an Appalachian quilt, donated by Susan Holmes. The quilt is a pieced, original design by Cathy Janes and quilted in a vines and leaves pattern by Susan. The retail value is $500. Raffle tickets can be purchased during the dinner or by contacting CFI. You do not need to be present to win.

Board President Tom Redfern notes, “CFI’s community food programs have provided literally tons of fresh food for people who often have no other way of accessing healthy local foods. We hope that people will join us in celebrating and supporting this vital community asset.”

For more event details and to purchase dinner tickets, visit Tickets may also be reserved by sending a check by October 10 to CFI at 94 Columbus Road, Athens, Ohio 45701. Dinner tickets are $20 per person and raffle tickets are $5.

For more information, contact Mary Nally by phone at 740-593-5971 or by email at

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Community Food Initiatives Named a Finalist in Tom’s of Maine “50 States for Good” Program

ATHENS, OH - Community Food Initiatives (CFI) 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. Through a public vote at now through October 9, local residents can help bring the funding to Athens County with the simple click of a mouse.

The “50 States for Good” program seeks to uncover local nonprofit groups that address urgent community needs and engage volunteers to get the work done. Community Food Initiatives’ project “Fresh Eats: Discovery Kitchen” plans to increase access to fresh foods and teach cooking and nutrition skills among food pantry patrons. If CFI wins, the Donation Station, an existing CFI program that distributes fresh local food from the Athens Farmers Market and area gardeners to food pantries and social service agencies, will expand to offer more support services to increase the ability of food pantries and agencies to offer more fresh food to their patrons. Additionally, cooking and nutrition classes will be offered for their patrons using the USDA My Plate model to increase consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

“It is our firm belief at Community Food Initiatives, that everyone deserves access to fresh and healthy food,” says Mary Nally, CFI Executive Director. “The Tom’s of Maine funding will help advance the Donation Station and new Discovery Kitchen program. We now look to our community to help build the support needed to bring this funding to Athens County, Ohio. “

Non-profits from each state were selected by an independent panel of judges for the “50 States for Good” program. The public vote will determine six winning organizations to share $150,000 in funding from Tom’s of Maine. The organization with the most public support will receive $50,000, while the five additional organizations will each receive $20,000. Members of the public vote by going to Each person can vote once per day until October 9.

Community Food Initiatives (CFI) is a membership based grassroots organization in Appalachian Ohio. The mission of CFI is to support a local food movement that expands fair access to fresh and nutritious foods for all people in the region. CFI’s initiatives assist individuals and families to grow food, develop cooking skills, and reduce their health risks by eating whole foods. CFI manages six community gardens, offers garden and food preservation workshops, supports school gardens in the Trimble School District, and manages the Donation Station program, providing fresh food to food pantries and social service agencies serving the low-income. Visit the website at or on Facebook.

Tom’s of Maine is a natural products company focused on oral and personal care. The company has a long-standing commitment to supporting people, communities and the living planet. For over 40 years, Tom’s of Maine has sponsored hundreds of non-profit efforts by giving 10% of its profits back to the community.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Farm-to-Hospital at Camden Clark Medical Center

PARKERSBURG, WV - Today the Rural Action Sustainable Agriculture (RASA) team took fresh, local produce from the farmers of the Chesterhill Produce Auction to Camden Clark Medical Center in Parkersburg, West Virginia to set up an in-hospital farmer's market. This was the inaugural event of RASA's Farm-to-Hospital program, the latest off-shoot of RASA's Country Fresh Stops produce branding work.

Fresh, juicy watermelons are carted in for the mini-farmer's market inside the hospital. 

Setting out fresh produce at the market table inside. 

The market open in the morning and quickly sold out as hospital employees and visitors gathered around the bustling lobby market. Nurses, doctors, and hospital personnel went home with fresh, local cabbage, peppers, squash, tomatoes, melons, and much more. RASA plans to continue encouraging fresh, local produce purchases and farm markets at hospitals in the Athens and Parkersburg areas in the future, as well as other local institutions.

The crowd gathers around the tables of farm fresh produce.

Tomatoes, peppers, melons, and much more line the table.

First conceived of and implemented by Dr. Preston Marling of Kaiser Permanente in California, farm-to hospital models bring fresh, local produce right to employees and patients of medical centers through collaborative work with farmers, distributors, and medical center staff. These models have moved conversations in the health care industry toward focusing on healthy food for patients, as well as employees. To date, 399 North American hospitals have signed the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge from Health Care Without Harm, a commitment to "treat food and its production and distribution as preventive medicine." 

The hospital staff grabs some fresh produce amidst a growing crowd.

Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator at Rural Action Tom Redfern with the first customer at Camden Clark.

The RASA Farm-to-Hospital program is made possible by the Sister's of Saint Joseph Charitable Fund, the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation, and Rural Action's many partners in the Parkersburg area food system. If your hospital would like to have fresh, local produce, please contact Rural Action Sustainable Agriculture at 740-767-4938 for more information.

blogger templates