LOCALE Feature: Austin’s Sustainable Food Center

Austin Sustainable Food Center

Rodman & Associates features a unique nonprofit in every issue of LOCALE. See the latest issue here.

Austin seems to breathe the motto that healthy lives are happy lives. From the runners on trails around Lady Bird Lake, to the bikers whizzing through scenic roads, health is a central piece of the Austin lifestyle.

All that exercise means Austinites have a lot of healthy eating to do – and lots options for it! By all accounts, Austin’s foodie scene is quickly rivaling its live music scene. Austin’s food trucks have become a worldwide phenomenon and locally sourced meats and produce is one of the hottest trends in 2014.

Nowhere combines both aspects of the city as well as Austin’s Sustainable Food Center, a 501-3(c) nonprofit founded on the belief that local, sustainable foods and farms are the best for fueling a healthy community. The nonprofit runs four of the largest urban farmers markets in the nation. Each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday you can find Austinites strolling through marketplaces loaded with local produce and artisans goods from over 100 local vendors and taking advantage of opportunities to connect with local producers in the community.

Providing access to fresh, healthy local foods is a central tenet of the Sustainable Food Center. Every farmer’s market accepts payment from governmental food assistance programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – formerly food stamps), Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and Double Dollar Incentive Program (DDIT). This ensures that everyone can truly get access to the incredibly diverse harvest central Texas has to offer.

In addition, through their Sprouting Healthy Kids program, the SFC partners with local schools to promote education about healthy eating, provide local produce in school cafeterias, and teach hands-on after school gardening and cooking classes. The best way to teach a child is to have them be involved: if they will eat an apple they picked out from the grocery store, imagine their excitement about a carrot they grew themselves!

From classes to community outreach to primary school programs, the Sustainable Food Center are making an impact on Austin’s food culture and landscape. For more information about the center, you can visit their website at http://www.sustainablefoodcenter.org/.