CULINARY CULTIVATION

Austin nonprofit digs deep for annual Tour de Farm fundraiser

Austin nonprofit digs deep for annual Tour de Farm fundraiser

Urban Roots kids Austin
The Tour de Farm event supports Urban Roots' youth programs. Courtesy of Urban Roots

Every Austin foodie knows the best way to support a nonprofit is by nibbling on some chef-y bites while being regaled by a local live-music virtuoso. And that’s precisely what Austin’s Urban Roots organization is digging up for its annual Tour de Farm fundraiser.

Taking place in person and virtually this year on Wednesday, May 19 from 6-9 pm, Tour de Farm highlights include a variety of inspirational youth stories and meals curated by local chefs. Additionally, the organization will unearth more info about its new Urban Roots farm in Southeast Austin.

Urban Roots, a nonprofit that works to transform the lives of young people through food and farming, will kick off its Tour de Farm outing with tours of its new 9-acre farm, located at 4711 Winnebago Ln., and continue the festivities at neighboring Meanwhile Brewing Co. (3901 Promontory Point Dr.), where the evening’s bill of fare includes dinner, a live auction, a performance by beloved Austin entertainer Gina Chavez, and spinning from Chulita Vinyl Club Austin.

Urban Roots’ new South Austin farm, located in the Dove Springs community, entered its second stage of development in March, which involves checking soil quality, planting native fruit trees, and readying about 6 acres of the property that’s dedicated solely to farming. Eventually, the farm will also house staff offices, a community meeting space, and a commercial kitchen specifically for youth culinary development. But those add-ons are likely five to 10 years down the road.

In the more immediate future, the new farmland will enable Urban Roots to harvest additional produce for underserved communities experiencing hunger, an all-too-common circumstance that’s been fomented by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“When we think about meeting the needs of our community, sustainability must be at the forefront of what we do,” says Austin City Councilwoman Vanessa Fuentes, who represents District 2 in Southeast Austin, where the new farm is located. “Urban Roots accomplishes this in many ways, from adding produce in a food desert to investing in the neighborhood and its people. The addition of this farm will have lasting positive impacts in District 2, and I look forward to its opening.”

Though a full harvest won’t crop up at the new farm until next spring, the organization will provide a glimpse of the property’s progress at the Tour de Farm event.

COVD-19 safety precautions are top of mind for organizers, too, which is why the event is outdoors and the food provided will be served up picnic-style, with each attendee getting their own take-home picnic basket filled with chef-curated nibbles. Sponsors Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Dulce Vida Tequila will whip up some farm-inspired cocktails as well.

This year’s impressive list of Tour de Farm participating restaurants and chefs include:

Various ticket options are available, ranging from $110 event-only tickets to $3,000 table seating for a pod of six. Registration is currently available online. Funds raised during the event will support the organization’s youth leadership programs.