Throughout our interactions with ourselves, peers, family and community we are planting seeds that will later blossom. Are we planting seeds of joy, love and harmony or are we planting seeds of judgment, anger and hate? Whichever seed we plant, we will reap what we have sown. In Athens County, there are several community gardens that plant seeds of love and acceptance with many families throughout the area as a part of the Community Food Initiative program.

file000589794879 (1)Planting Seeds of Good Health

The Community Food Initiative  (CFI) program manages six community gardens throughout Athens County. The CFI aims to increase access to fresh foods through development and support of all of the community gardens while improving the community resiliency by facilitating gardening education and culinary skills including food preparation. Finally, the CFI offers support leadership development through entrepreneurial opportunities.

Sharing the Wealth

Athens County, although full of opportunity, is still a part of Appalachia where poverty is widespread. The community gardens help people during times of economic struggle and inspire perseverance through consistent support. By increasing access to whole foods, the community gardens promote good nutrition and physical exercise. They also provide a positive space for community interaction, knowledge sharing and forging friendships.

Let’s Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved with the CFI. For Athens County locals there are opportunities to play an active role in promoting the CFI mission by becoming a member. Individuals, families or business/group organizations can find and submit a membership form at the CFI website. All donations made to CFI are tax deductible and can also be placed through their website, which is linked above.


Internships and employment opportunities are available to those who meet the qualifications listed online as well. Anyone can volunteer to gather food donations, prepare fresh food for distribution, teach garden and cooking workshops, support community gardens and serve on the board of directors. For information about volunteer opportunities, call 740-593-5971 or CFI at [email protected].