Food is...inspiration. Life. Connection. Family. Happiness. Heritage. Sharing.
Food is community — it has the power to unite, heal and bring joy.
Food is at the heart of everything that Sustainable Food Center does. SFC envisions a food-secure community where everyone has access to healthy, local food raised with care and integrity. The nonprofit organization works to support a robust food system that sustains producers, consumers and our land.
In June 2013, SFC moved into its brand new home in East Austin, which will greatly benefit the ability to pursue its mission and expand its programs.
Curious about the workings of the new SFC? Here is a typical "Day in the Life" showing how the new center will be used, continually working from 8 am to 8 pm to bring nutritious food to Austin.
The 2.3 acre community garden adjacent to the new center opens with the rising sun as people in nearby neighborhoods wake to water their plots. Many of our East Austin neighbors have increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables because they grow food in our nearby community garden.
The first Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre® class of the day takes place in the new, fully equipped commercial kitchen. Previously a traveling show with often inadequate facilities, The Happy Kitchen now reaches twice as many women and men interested in learning how to cook and eat fresh, healthy food. While THK classes continue to be offered in local schools and clinics, this permanent kitchen strengthens the core of the program.
Elementary school students from a low-income neighborhood arrive at JP’s Peace Love & Happiness Foundation Teaching Garden for a tour and hands-on lesson in harvesting carrots. As SFC Advisory Council member Alice Waters has said of food gardening education, "If they grow it, they'll eat it."
SFC MarketCorps, the team of volunteers responsible for introducing farmers market visitors to the vibrant array of tastes, sights and smells of locally grown food, go through a multistep training on site in SFC's pantry and storage area. This pantry houses all of the cooking and serving tools necessary to run Taste the Place and other SFC projects.
Members of the Austin chapter of Slow Food and Slow Money meet to discuss ways to support the local, food-based economy. SFC furthers its mission by encouraging a discussion of employing individuals who have been marginalized. Later in the week, other community groups interested in health and environmental issues meet in the community room at SFC.
An Advisory Council member such as Tom Philpott or Mark Winne address SFC staff, board and supporters via teleconference or in person. Space for such regular events allows SFC to play a leadership role in the regional and national good food movement.
Students and teachers gather in the outdoor learning pavilion, along with the garden and the greenhouse, to hear SFC staff on the benefits of companion planting and its effect on pest management. These resources dramatically increase SFC's ability to serve, educate and motivate potential future gardeners.
School Garden Mentors leave SFC bound for Title 1 middle and elementary schools, where students are at risk of obesity and diet-related disease. Visiting a local farm and tasting the freshest of vegetables that can inspire a healthy after-school snack is today's activity. This project empowers kids to care for their own health and nutrition as well as the health and nutrition of their families and communities.
A meeting between SFC and a local hospital facilitates discussion of connecting with local farmers to provide fresh produce and strengthen the local economy. The Farm Direct program of SFC connects local farmers with hospitals, universities, schools and worksites. It effects positive change in the Austin community by involving farmers and consumers in a broad effort to promote reliable and nourishing, local food sources while helping to sustain our environment.
A composting demonstration in the garden is open to everyone interested in learning how to create sustainable, ecologically beneficial food gardens. Demonstrations on topics such as mulching, seed generation and pest management will more than double the number of workshops SFC can offer to Central Texans.
Board members convene in the easy-to-access building from locations all over Austin, without parking challenges, to fulfill their critical governance role with SFC. Our SFC Friends of Food Meetup group gathers in the community room for a potluck dinner and lively conversation about local food issues.
A top Austin chef comes into the SFC commercial kitchen to share tips and insights with The Happy Kitchen facilitators. This kind of synergy between food professionals in different parts of the industry raises the awareness of current issues on all sides of the food economy.