Dear friends,

As the earth will soon be tucked beneath the frosty blanket of Winter and we reflect on all we are grateful for in the year passing and all we aspire to ahead, we at Countryside are grateful for the farmers and businesses whose dedication and hard work bring us local, delicious food for our families. We are grateful for each of you who support them and support us through your gifts, volunteering, and advocacy. Together we are building community around each other.

I hope the work we do at Countryside has crossed your mind as something you value and want to help conserve this giving season. Please consider your year-end gift to Countryside today. Whether it’s our vibrant farmers’ market every week, our critical food access programs for struggling families, our work to educate new farmers, or our 22-year partnership with Cuyahoga Valley National Park, your support makes our work happen!

Why give to Countryside?

Since 1999, Countryside has worked in partnership with Cuyahoga Valley National Park and throughout Akron and Cleveland as a nonprofit organization. We operate through the charitable generosity of those who value our work and service to the community. We are trusted and recognized locally, regionally, and nationally as a leader in advocacy, education, and programs supporting sustainable agriculture and local food.

Your gift will support programs that are driving change! Our mission is to build a vibrant, local food community in and beyond Cuyahoga Valley National Park to conserve farmland, cultivate new farmers, and expand local, healthy food. In 2021, 60% of our revenue came through grants to support our programs. The remaining 40% is made up of individual donations, sponsorships, and earned income. We truly need your support this year.

The last two years have been a challenge for everyone. We are no exception. The demand for our work increased during COVID while our capacity and revenue decreased. We need your help more than ever! I hope we can count on you to help Countryside continue its work to connect people, food, and land!

Where will your dollars go?

Your gift will go to ensuring our impact continues. You can give to Countryside to help us continue to ensure low- income families have access to healthy, fresh food. You can help us grow the next generation of farmers and land stewards through the New Farmer Academy and support our partnership with Cuyahoga Valley National Park. If you love our farmers’ markets and want to see them continue, we bring together over 60 small, local businesses each week, building our local economy and expanding local, sustainably produced food.

What impact will they have?

You can read our 2020 Impact Report here to see all we accomplished last year. In January, our full report for 2021 will be complied. But here are a few highlights we have so far from this year:

  • So far in 2021, we distributed over $170,000 in SNAP dollars and nutrition incentives to over 2,000 families
    in-need, building healthier, stronger communities.
  • We distributed $12,695 dollars to women, infants, and children for fresh, local fruits and vegetables.
  • Countryside Farmers’ Market helped to support over 60 small farms and businesses this year with their total
    sales over $726,000, contributing over a million dollars in additional economic impact.
  • Even with COVID changing the way we operate, our per vendor sales were higher than ever thanks to the
    thousands of customers who came every week to support the farmers and vendors!
  • We graduated eight New Farmer Academy interns who provided over $50,000 worth of workforce support to
    17 northeast Ohio mentor farms while learning real-world skills to help them grow into new farmers.
  • Stay tuned for more 2021 accomplishments when our full 2021 report comes out in early 2022.

Will you be in good company?

Absolutely! We are so grateful to have the support of hundreds of generous, individual donors, community foundations, and corporate partners.

In 2021, we received support from the following community partners: Cuyahoga Valley National Park, The George Gund Foundation, Produce Perks Midwest/USDA FINI, Akron Community Foundation, The JM Smucker Company, The Women’s Endowment Fund, The Barberton Community Foundation, Tuscora Park Health & Wellness Foundation, Goldie and Jerry Lippman Social Justice Fund, Ohio Farm Bureau, The University of Akron, Summit County Jobs & Family Services, Akron Children’s Hospital, Leadership on Main, and Sherwin Williams.

How to give?

All gifts can safely and easily be made online at https://countrysidefoodandfarms.org/make-a-gift/

Checks can be made out to:
4965 Quick Road
Peninsula, OH 44264

And for those who can, we have permission to let you in on a very special and impactful way to give right now! Sally & Roger Read, through the Read Family Fund, have generously pledged a $10,000 year-end gift to Countryside and challenged us to find 5 donors to match their generosity! The JM Smucker Company has jumped in to help too by championing another year of sponsorship! Will you join them? We only need 4 more $10,000 pledges to meet the challenge! You can give all at once or divide your pledge into payments that fit your needs. And of course, any size gift is welcome and appreciated.

In closing.

Tomorrow, many of us will be fortunate to gather around the table with those we love to share a wonderful meal together. The delicious food on our tables came from our earth’s deep, rich soils and the passion of a farmer. Let’s be sure to keep them in our thoughts as we give thanks tomorrow. To those less fortunate, may we continue the work to build a strong, local food community that is equitable and accessible to everyone. We are grateful for what we’ve accomplished so far. And to you my friends, we give thanks for being part of what makes our community a truly special place to call home!

Thank you for your time today. With much gratitude and wishes for a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving,

Tracy Emrick, Countryside CEO

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