This is discussion about Farming and Youth Entrepreneurship in Applachia Ohio.
This is a really interesting initiative. We really like that the focus of this initiative is to cultivate and empower a new generation of farmers. Would you mind providing more of a discussion on how this initiative is linked to nutrition, specifically? Also, what are your plans for expansion? Have you thought of any revenue generation models for sustainability? We look forward to your response!
- Naveen Shakir, Ashoka’s Changemakers
Thanks for the comments and I don't mind providing more discussion. Actually I am happy for the chance.
Here are the answers to your questions:
1) How is this initiative linked to nurtition? We provide cooking and food preperation/preservation classes to the youth at the Hope Apartments. Some of the cooking classes are linked to our USDA Summer Feeding site where the youth pick the food from their gardens (we also get more food from our local farmers and food producers), prep it and make their USDA Summer Feeding site meal. We also send fresh foods home with the kids after the meal so they can practice at home and have "real" food on the days we don't provide the free meal.
We also teach kids how to preserve their product through canning, freezing and drying so they can put food up for the winter months. We also offer all of these classes (and more composting, seed saving and gardening classes) to the community at large in our other programming.
What are our plans for expansion?
Our 2010 expansion plans for the summer feeding site include increasing the number of free meals from one lunch/two snacks to 3 lunches/2 snacks. We hope to expand to other public housing complexes in the region in the next 2-4 years, including the free meals, gardening and educational curriculum.
We have thought of revenue generation for the project and for the youth. Concerning the project we are looking from funds from the public housing adminstration at our local, state and federal levels. We are also in the process of creating a document or book that has all of our curriculum, recipes and activities we do with the project that we will sell.
The older youth from the housing project are taught how to grow on a larger scale so they can sell at our local (internationally known) Athens Farmers Market. 2010 will be their 3rd year growing and selling at this scale and thus far we have let the youth keep the money they make based on how much work they did. So the youth are generating their own money and learning business skills at the same time. The farmers at the market love having them there and they support them in many ways. It is a win-win situation.
Please feel free to ask more questions or make comments. We are very interested in what others are thinking about our work.
We also teach kids how to preserve their product through canning, freezing and drying so they can put food up for the winter months. We also offer all of these classes (and more such as composting, seed saving and gardening classes) to the community at large in our other programming. We often transport the Hope youth to these other workshops as well.
They also learn a lot from the farmers at our local market and in 2009 they attended Junior Chef classes that were provided by the Athens Farmers Market association. Local chefs came to the market and gave lessons on food prep and cooking to the kids.
I support CFI. We live in a world where people don't know where their food comes from, let alone how it grew and what the plant it came from looks like. We live in a rich agricultural area with endless opportunity, if only our younger generation wanted, and even knew how to access it, continuing the ever-dying cycle of supporting ourselves.
I am a local college student that cares about the farmers and food in which they produce in my community. I also care about real, whole foods and not over-processed, boxed and canned, fake foods. CFI is a great organization that is doing great things for the surrounding community, and to see it gain more support is all the better, because without it we will be raising more and more grocery store devotees, rather than independent, healthy contributors to the community.
I have watched my sister work and put her heart into this community. She has always had a zest for helping people. She truly believes what she works for because she lives what she teaches. I have been supporting CFI for years and I live in Charleston, SC. I may not be able to go to the local Seed Swap or learn how to make homemade ice cream because I live so far away. But, I have been watching her through email all this time. She has organized so many amazing projects and classes to teach people how to live from the land. "How to" classes are her and CFI's speciality. CFI is close to her heart and the program for the Youth and helping them grow their own food. I remember when she put the idea out to the first school and they decided to try it and now it has spread throughout the county. She is changing lives right here in America. We often believe we have to help those unfortunate in other countries. And, yes it is true, we should help all we can. But, helping people in our own country is most inspiring. She is not supporting a project that is giving a hand out. She is teaching people how to grow their own food. How to eat properly which will affect their energy level. Of course, that then spirals into many different things, doing better in school, getting into college, having the belief that they can start their own farm. My sister owns a farm in southeast Ohio and grows her own food. She is not only teaching the children in the local schools, but she is teaching her own three children. I am truly blessed and proud to have a sister like Ronda. She is making a difference in her community! You go girl! I am voting for CFI.
I have supported CFI from the first time I heard it's mission statement. In a community of proud people, CFI offers information for real sustainability to impoverished families. I was fortunate enough to work with Ronda Clark and can attest to her tireless work ethic. She is always thinking of new ways to bring community members together in a positive and enlightening way. Her enthusiasm for seed saving, gardening, harvesting, cooking and preserving food is only equaled by her knowledge of these practices. Ronda is the face and heart of CFI. She surrounds herself with people who join in with her excitement about continuing education and experimentation in food sustainability. CFI has helped so many in our community and it continues to grow.
I completely support and encourage Ronda Clark and CFI in this competition. They are reliable and get the job done!
As a resident of southeastern Ohio I have become more familiar over the last two years with the Community Foods Initiatives organization, learning about its broad educational mission in the Athens area community. Its efforts to reach out to youngsters across the county are truly impressive. CFI's success with youngsters with the Hope residents is something to see: they have learned about gardening, taking care of themselves, growing and then preparing good food for themselves, also marketing their produce at our local Farmers' Market, and gaining self-esteem, confidence, and new social skills in the process that will carry over to adulthood making them know the value of food security and general good citizenship. This innovative program has increased the pride I have in my own community.
Mr. Bain pretty much said it all. I had the good fortune of getting a couple of tours of the Hope gardens - tours conducted by the the kids themselves. The kids were overflowing with confidence as they proudly showed me the various plots and answered all my questions about the foods they were growing. I could clearly see the pride they took in their accomplishments and the self-confidence that came with success. After seeing these same kids selling their produce at the Farmer's Market, I realized that they also were learning the value of hard work and sticking with a project from start to finish. They were now making money from work that began several months earlier with a handful of seeds.
I am a Biology teacher at a local high school and am aware of Rhonda's work through her interaction with me when she got me involved with the Edible Schoolyard program. Giving the students exposure to both growing and eating their own food was a first for many of them. Rhonda has also gotten raised bed gardens started for the community of Glouster in an unused area of city property and more and more people are awakening to idea of growing their own food.
It would be very positive for this community for Rhonda to be able to do even more and thereby help more people learn to feed themselves.
CFI is a leader and innovator in food security in our part of Ohio. From seed exchanges to composting programs to edible schoolyard programs to expanding outlets for local farmers to you name it, CFI is helping this historically poor and exploited community to be more food secure, self-sufficient, and sustainable. The program nominated is genius--going to subsidized housing, teaching kids there principles of gardening, empowering them to grow, harvest, prepare, and sell their own food, is a win for them, their parents, the community, the environment, and the future. If you want to reward an organization for vision, and for integrating that vision into an overall strategy for now and the years to come, reward this one---CFI is doing amazing work in a poor community, and deserves as much support as we can give them.
Nowhere in America is the diet worse than Appalachia. Nowhere is an organization doing better to counter this than Rhonda Clark and her Community Foods Initiative out of Athens, Ohio. I urge you to check out their website. http://www.communityfoodinitiatives.com/
IF YOU HAVE COME HERE TO COMMENT ON OUR MOST CURRENT ENTRY CLICK HERE http://www.changemakers.com/node/84880. THIS ENTRY IS OLD AND IRRELEVANT- CFI STAFF