December update from Catie!
Hi there! My name is Catie, I’ve been working with Community Roots since early July as an Americorps VISTA. My role focuses mainly on Farm to School, community partnerships and volunteer care. I've also been working on resource development and program support. In a nutshell, the last six months have been a whirlwind and I’ve loved diving into our community in a new way! Knox County cares about its people, evident in the ways so many are trying to improve every day life for residents. Whether it's through improving access to healthy food, making streets safer for everyone, providing quality transportation, enriching education in exciting ways or fighting for those who don't have a voice, our community is made up of folks who care. I'm grateful to be a part of it all!
Here’s a little Community Roots recap since July…
Farm to School: We’ve made serious progress with Farm to School in Mount Vernon! If you’re not familiar with Farm to School, it typically focuses on three things: local food served in school cafeterias, school gardens, and K-12 curriculum that includes agricultural education. The purpose is ultimately to provide fresh, local food to kids who otherwise might not have access to it and teach them where it came from.
Looking forward to this being a reality in our local schools, we pulled together a solid group of community organizations to support Farm to School long-term: Knox County Health Department, OSU Extension Knox County, Kenyon College, Knox Community Hospital, and many more . We also applied for a USDA Farm to School Planning grant that will fund a full-time position to oversee this program, who will be an employee of Community Roots.
Volunteers: We had two volunteer work days at the greenhouse this fall! We were excited to welcome some new volunteers and thankful for those who continue to support our work. During those work days we cleared land, built new raised bed frames, winterized growing tables, turned the compost pile, repaired hoop houses, and a lot more. Volunteers came evenings and weekends as well to finish projects and start new ones. It's been great to have them around!
To make the volunteer process a little smoother, I built new online volunteer orientation and training that we can send to those who plan to serve with us. I hope to continue making it easier for volunteers to be a part of Community Roots!
Community Gardens: The Knox County Health Department and the Get Healthy Knox Coalition have been incredibly supportive of Community Roots. Through this program we were granted funding for 16 new raised garden beds! Half of these will be the new beds for our community garden and half will grow food for Mount Vernon schools. The new beds will be paired with a new fence to be installed in the spring. This will be a beautiful new space for our community to grow veggies, fruits and flowers!
I know I haven't met all of you yet, but I want to thank you for supporting Community Roots! We're excited for the spring and ready to get back outside (after enjoying the holidays, of course). If you or a friend would ever like to join us or if you have questions, don't be afraid to contact me! You can email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.