Giving back

7 Austin culinary projects granted $30,000 by local nonprofit

7 Austin culinary projects granted $30,000 by local nonprofit

Rae Wilson Wine for the People
Seven local companies have been named AFWA's newest grant winners. Photo courtesy of Austin Food & Wine Alliance

Local nonprofit Austin Food & Wine Alliance has issued its most recent round of culinary grants, bestowing $30,500 to local artisans, producers, chefs, makers, and farmers amid a brutal economic climate. 

Each year, AFWA offers culinary grants to local organizations that help foster education, awareness, and innovation within the Central Texas food and wine community. On January 14, the nonprofit announced the seven winners of the 2020 culinary grants, which range from $2,000 to $5,000, and were selected from a panel of "prominent culinary and community-minded professionals." 

Unlike past years, when the winners were announced in-person during a special soiree, this round of winners was announced via a special video anchored by executive director Mariam Parker and grant chair and AFWA board president Cathy Cochran-Lewis.

The 2020 AFWA Grant Winners:

  • To Taste Culinary Nutrition — $5,000 Austin Dames Supporting Women in Business Grant. Funds will be used to support cooking classes for mothers and their children experiencing homelessness.
  • Free Lunch — $5,000 Austin Dames Supporting Women in Business Grant. This organization provides fresh, wholesome meals to those experiencing homelessness. The funds will be used to create a community garden.
  • Wine For the People — $5,000 Gina Burchenal Grant for a woman-owned business. Funds will be used to make improvements to its newly opened tasting room and support an apprenticeship program for women in winemaking.
  • Distant Relatives — $5,000 Tito’s Handmade Vodka Entrepreneur Grant. Funds will be used to launch a food truck exploring the flavors, textures, culture, and heritage of the African diaspora through a modern African American lens.
  •  Madhu Chocolate — $5,000 grant. Funds will help this Indian-inspired, artisan chocolate company buy equipment such as a tempering machine, small holding tanks, or a winnower to separate the husk from the cacao.
  • Tamale Addiction — $3,000 Gina Burchenal Grant for a woman-owned business. The funds will help launch a line of cook-it-yourself tamalada kits to share the tradition and love of tamale-making nationwide.
  • Li’l Nonna’s — $2,500 Jeff Conarko Grant for Sustainability. This vegan food truck will use the funds in preparation for the opening of a brick-and-mortar and to sell to wholesale accounts.

“These projects clearly demonstrate innovation and value to the community,” said Parker in a release. “We’re so appreciative of the community support we’ve received since our organization began in 2011 that allows us to reward these outstanding initiatives.”

Along with the seven grant winners, AFWA also identified three non-funded projects as honorable mentions: Comadre Panadería, a woman-owned bakery that uses local and organic ingredients and traditional techniques; Wholesome Generation, a nonprofit that develops and cultivates leadership skills and empowers positive change in our community through a community-integrated food, cooking, and farm curriculum; and Comedor Run Club, a chef-founded running club that meets four times weekly and provides an inclusive space for the service community that supports accountability and healthy habits. 

Together with the most recent batch of grants, AFWA has given $367,500 in funding since its founding in 2012.