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The Beet

herb transplants

September is here and that means it’s a great time to prepare for the fall and winter gardening season. Garden planning can be challenging but it’s also rewarding and fun! Here are our top 4 tips to help you get better at garden planning.

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Action Alert

USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) has distributed billions in aid, but the program has left out thousands of producers. That’s largely because payments to farmers are calculated by a pricing index that uses national average prices for products, rather than the actual costs that farmers selling directly to markets and customers have incurred during the pandemic or the actual prices of their crops.

While SFC has...

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Cooking class facilitators prepping veggies

"I love sharing new experiences with participants, whether it be introducing them to a new vegetable, a new cooking technique, or a new basic skill. The joy in learning a new process lights up the participants' face and warms my heart." -Cristina, Happy Kitchen Facilitator

These words above are an example of one of the longest-running pieces of SFC’s work: community engagement.

Many of our programs at SFC are designed...

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Ronda Selfie with Coffee

Sigue en español

Dear SFC Partners,

Hopefully, you saw our board chair’s communication last week. It is with a mixture of sadness and excitement that I let you know of my departure from SFC at the end of this year. By the time I leave, I will have served almost 15 years in this role, working alongside an incredible staff, board,...

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Booth workers at SFC Market

“The juxtaposition of images in the news of farmers destroying crops and dumping milk with empty supermarket shelves or hungry Americans lining up for hours at food banks tells a story of economic efficiency gone mad.” - Michael Pollan, New York Review of Books (June 2020)

The image Michael Pollan paints is...

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Golden Summer Squash And Corn Soup

It can be tempting to save soup for a cold-weather meal. But especially for those of us who eat most of our meals inside under plenty of air conditioning, there’s no reason not to enjoy it year-round!

If you’ve been avoiding summer soups, our Golden Summer Squash and Corn Soup is the perfect place to start. The blended vegetables make for a rich, creamy texture and the herbs and lemon juice add a great fresh flavor. Enjoy some of your...

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Sigue en español

Dear SFC supporters, donors and friends,

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I’m writing to let you know you that our amazing Executive Director Ronda Rutledge will be leaving the organization after almost 15 years at SFC to pursue a new dream with Mission Squared. Since 2006, Ronda has led SFC into the thriving organization it is today, and we owe her an immense amount of...

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Many of us have changed our food buying habits over the last few months: how often, where, and what kinds of food we buy. While it’s too early to tell what the long-term impacts will be, the pandemic has already had mixed effects on our local food system. Many farmers and ranchers who depend on sales to restaurants have been hit hard by restaurant closures. On the other hand, several CSAs have had to close registrations temporarily due to a...

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Where do we grow from here?

In 2016, SFC launched a Racial Justice team, comprised of members of staff across all departments, after an in-depth training on racial justice and equity. Our goals were to look at our organizational processes and culture, and learn how to be better allies for our community.

Today, we wanted to share our racial justice journey at a time when so many systemic injustices are being illuminated.

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When we began our Quarantine Cooking series a few months back, we were responding to the immediate need in our community for easy, healthy recipes, particularly for folks who were not used to cooking so much.

As we look ahead to the new normal, now more than ever we need to stay conscious of how we shop and cook so we can continue to support our local food economy. Here at SFC, we believe by supporting local producers and purveyors...

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Fennel Salad

This simple summer salad is fresh and flavorful and highlights the bounty of the SFC Farmers’ Markets. Serve it as a first course or for a light lunch, and swap it out with other seasonal ingredients to eat it throughout the year.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced in half and then thinly...
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Last fall, we wrote about SFC’s journey toward building a culture of belonging. This pride month more than ever, we celebrate our LGBTQIA+ community and we acknowledge and honor those that fought for equality in generations past. SFC’s mission is to cultivate a just and regenerative food system so people and the environment can thrive....

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Spring and summer in Central Texas mean carrots and beets! Make this refreshing, seasonal salad as a light side to any locally-sourced meal.

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Since the coronavirus upended our daily lives, you might find yourself thinking more than ever about how to get food on your plate.

Mile-long food bank lines are a stark contrast to stories of unused supply like milk dumping. These stories highlight how complicated it can be to get food from farms and ranches onto your plate.

So, what does our current food system look like, and how does it work? And if it’s broken, how can we fix...

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Today, I write you because I am grieving the loss of so many lives of Black Americans who were killed because of the color of their skin. I feel the weight of the killing of George Floyd, Mike Ramos and countless others heavily in my heart. As the Executive Director of Sustainable Food Center - as well as a parent, spouse, daughter, friend, Native American, and ally - I know that we must stand up and fight for justice and not be silent in the...

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Lightsey Farms - Hands with Texas box and Peaches

Over the past two months, the food system has seen tremendous disruption. While grocery stores struggled to fill their shelves, it has become more apparent that the industrial food system is as delicate as it is complex. More people in our community are relying on local farmers as a main source of food - this has been critical to helping these small businesses stay afloat.

...

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Peach Salsa

From The Happy Kitchen Cookbook, Fresh Seasonal Recipes. Makes 6 cups

Peach season is upon us! Peaches are good on their own as a snack, as part of a desert and as a side dish. This sweet, spicy, acidic salsa is great for chip dipping as well as an accompaniment to any taco!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups peaches,...
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In these days of quarantine, mundane but necessary tasks, such as recycling, watering herbs, vacuuming, and cooking can weigh heavily on our weary shoulders.

When that dread looms, I look for a recipe that is forgiving (strict measurements not required), thrifty (utilizing ingredients I likely have on hand), and immediately satisfying (don’t have to wait for it to cool and you create on the spot).

Mighty Quick GranOla takes...

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JBG Collards Daikon Beets

In our Happy Kitchen classes, we share tips and strategies for eating more local food and shopping at the SFC Farmers’ Markets.

Unfortunately, some of the tips we normally give for market shopping don’t make sense right now.

This isn’t the time to linger at the market, and...

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4th Edition Cookbook Cover

Due to COVID-19, SFC staffs' last day in the office was March 13th. Then just 3 days later on March 16th, 500 copies of our brand new edition of The Happy Kitchen cookbook, Fresh Seasonal Recipes, arrived.

When we started working on the new edition, we hadn’t...

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Sardine Toast

From The Happy Kitchen Cookbook, Fresh Seasonal Recipes. Makes 2 servings.

Introducing our Kitchen Manager's favorite new recipe from The Happy Kitchen cookbook: Sardine-Avocado Toast! This delicious recipe is quick to make, flavorful and a great way to utilize a pantry...

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JBG Green houses

Recently, we wrote about the true cost of food. We dove into how food is priced in the US and why it varies so greatly. But why do we expect food to be so cheap and convenient? Today, we’re taking a closer look at a few major moments in US food and agriculture history that led to the rise of large-scale, conventional, convenience-focused food...

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Vegan Mac and Cheese

Everybody loves mac n cheese, and vegans are no exception! This is a quick, easy recipe that uses mostly vegetables for the sauce, so it’s a great way to get veggies into a kids’ (or adults!) diet. Use rice pasta if you want to make it gluten-free, add mix-ins like peas or broccoli, or serve it with greens and a BBQ protein of your choice for a healthy BBQ plate.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz dried macaroni noodles...
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Peanut Sauce

From The Happy Kitchen Cookbook, Fresh Seasonal Recipes. Makes 1 Cup.

A simple and versatile sauce that is great for dipping on the side, as well as a part of a full meal!

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons...
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My name is Amy Gallo and I am the SFC Farmers’ Market Programming Manager. I wanted to write to you, our incredible and supportive community, so you know what all we are doing behind the scenes at your favorite farmers’ markets to stay safe for everyone.

As you know our...

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See our list of Farm to Plate partner restaurants and how to support them during COVID-19.

ATX Cocina - Order online or call (512) 263-2322. Menu. Gift card special

...

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Over the last month, we have been giving you updates on the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on our programming and revenue. Thanks to the generosity of our corporate sponsors, foundation partners, and event registrants, we are now 68% of the way to reaching our goal to make up the funds we lost from the cancelation of our Farm to Plate fundraiser.

And thanks to the generosity of individuals in our community, we have raised over...

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No-Mayo Chicken Salad

From The Happy Kitchen Cookbook, Fresh Seasonal Recipes

Makes 4 servings

Our refreshing take on a classic with herbs and a touch of jalapeño. Ideal for the upcoming spring and summer months!

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You may have heard about the coronavirus relief packages and followed the to-the-minute discussions about how to allocate emergency pandemic funding. Many folks in our community are waiting for their stimulus check and deliberating how best to spend the much-needed economic support.

...

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If the Covid-19 lockdown inspired you to dig your bike out of the garage to help you stay active, or has you daydreaming about fun community events, consider signing up for the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride!

The ride is on Saturday, September 19 in Martindale, Texas and it’s perfect for riders of any ability. SFC is proud to be one of the beneficiaries of this great event.

Proceeds from the...

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Raspberry Almond Cookie

From The Happy Kitchen Cookbook, Fresh Seasonal Recipes

Makes 18 cookies

This delicate, but decadent, cookie is one of our favorites. A mix of almonds, oats, maple syrup, and jam to make sheltering-in-place that little bit sweeter!

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Jamey wearing Gloves Mask

Jamey Gage of B5 Farm (pictured above) stands behind his table on 4th street at the SFC Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning. In front of him are stacks of plastic bags filled with broccoli that he’s selling for $5. He is wearing a mask, black gloves, and visibly steps back as a customer comes toward the booth.

This...

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This quick and easy chickpea salad is a great vegan alternative to tuna salad. Put it in a sandwich, on a green salad, or eat it as a dip - it’s versatile, delicious, and utilizes affordable pantry and fridge staples.

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salsa verde

From The Happy Kitchen Cookbook, Fresh Seasonal Recipes. Makes 4.5 cups

This traditional Mexican recipe is a great staple to have in your locker. It goes well with tacos, eggs, and soups, or as a dip on its own!

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Salmon Patties

From The Happy Kitchen Cookbook, Fresh Seasonal Recipes. Makes 5 patties

Salmon patties are a perfect easy, budget-friendly weeknight meal. Packed with the same nutrients as fresh salmon, these patties can be made with the pantry stable canned variety. Eat them...

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Dried Beans

From The Happy Kitchen Cookbook, Fresh Seasonal Recipes

Makes 6 cups

Dried beans should be a staple of any pantry, but many people don't know how to cook them. Cheaper and more flavorful than their canned cousins, once you learn how to properly cook dried beans, you'll never want it any other way!

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Pesto Brown Rice Bowl

This is a versatile bowl that can be modified using whatever ingredients you have on hand. Switch out the brown rice for white rice, quinoa, or any other grain, and top it with seasonal vegetables and the protein of your choice.

The parsley pesto can also be modified depending on what herbs you have available. Substitute parsley for cilantro, arugula, or basil, and sub walnuts for almonds, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds. Nutritional...

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From The Happy Kitchen Cookbook, Fresh Seasonal Recipes. Makes 3 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice*
  • 2¼ cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  • Rinse the rice under cold...
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Hands Cutting Sweet Potatoes

During these uncertain times, it’s great to keep up with any healthy habits that you can. Try to put together balanced meals with whole grains, lean protein, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Limit added sugars and sugar-sweetened beverages. Take walks and explore your options for at-home exercise. However, this is probably not the best time to be lingering in the grocery stores, reading labels, and debating the healthiest options.

We...

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Updated April 24

With the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic setting in, we have compiled a list of food access resources for our Central Texas community. From farmers' markets, CSA's, delivery options, and everything in between, we will continually update this blog with a list of ways you can ensure that healthy food stays on your table at home.

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Markets and COVID

SFC FARMERS' MARKETS AND COVID-19

March 18, 2020

The following has been updated September 21, 2020.

To our valued SFC Farmers’ Market community:

Thanks to an order passed by the Travis County Judge, we are considered a critical healthy food access point during the COVID-19 crisis and will remain open to the public.

Both our Downtown and Sunset...

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Lightsey Farms Texas Peaches Boxes

Updated April 24

At SFC, we’re taking seriously the impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on our community – our staff and volunteers, our partner agencies, and our program participants. We are committed to doing our part to ensure that everyone stays healthy during this rapidly evolving public health situation. We are also concerned about the economic impact on local growers as well as the food access impact for our low-income...

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Chopping Beets

Food insecurity. Food desert. Food access.

Have you heard these words before, and not really understood what they meant? Over the years at SFC, we have spent a lot of time talking to you about “food access”, but what does it really mean?

From location to affordability, cultural relevancy to cooking skills, today we’re breaking down the 4 key barriers to accessing healthy, local food along with our...

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At SFC, we are passionate about the work we do support our local, family farmers and increase access to healthy, local food. So to get ready for Amplify Austin this week, our Communications Director checked in with some of our staff to learn more about what they're working on.

Watch our Behind the Scenes video series...

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Spring is approaching and with it come tables laden with snappy greens, gem-colored roots, pastel eggs and sweet strawberry pints. Beyond this abundant display also lie the seeds of resistance.

Did you know purchasing local food from small businesses is a radically important act? Shopping directly from farmers benefits your health, your community, your city and the environment.

Here are our top 3 reasons why you need to make a...

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You may have heard the 2020 Census is about to begin. Soon, we will be asked to fill out census forms and mail them back in or hear a knock on our door asking us to verbally take the census. Our government gathers this information every ten years to better understand our population and needs, which influence policies, funding, and more.

There is also is a lesser-known census completed every 5 years: the USDA agricultural census that...

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At the start of every New Year, we are bombarded with messages telling us how we should improve our lives: we should exercise more, eat healthier, and set ambitious goals for bettering ourselves. And yet every year by February our gym routines decline, our eating habits return, and our shiny goals fade away into the day-to-day.

This year, rather than focusing on changing yourself, we are encouraging you to focus on what you can change...

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Downtown Crowd More Vendors Sign

This year show your friends and loved ones how much you care with some unique and delicious gifts right from the market. Every time you purchase a stocking stuffer or hostess gift from the SFC Farmers’ Markets you support local farmers and artisans and help our local economy thrive.

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Founded almost 45 years ago with a primary goal to teach people to grow their own food, Sustainable Food Center has been able to do so much because of the support from people just like you.

To meet the growing needs of our local food system, in 2019 and beyond we’re pivoting to focus more upstream to deal with the systemic and policy issues surrounding farm viability and food access and education.

While the future will bring a...

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This Thanksgiving, try a recipe from our Happy Kitchen cookbook, "Fresh, Seasonal Recipes". This take on cornbread features fresh corn and bell peppers for a different twist on a seasonal favorite.

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Brad and Katherine Posing by Tractor

Commitment to caring for our land and feeding our community is what drives Katherine Tanner and Bradley Ottmers, farmers of Hat and Heart Farm. A 6th generation farming family, this pair each have deep roots to Fredericksburg, TX. Bradley was raised on the farm that is now Hat and Heart and strives to apply the lessons he learned from his father and the...

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Johnsons Backyard Garden Green Daikon

It’s 7:00 am on a Saturday morning. Farmers are rolling into the parking lot of the SFC Farmers’ Market Downtown and unloading their goods onto tables.

Freshly picked bundles of spinach line up next to pastel arrays of radishes and chalkboard signs in the shape of chickens advertise fresh eggs for sale. Everything looks beautiful, tastes amazing, and is sold by small family farmers...

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If there’s one thing we know at SFC, it’s that we are always learning. We are learning about new issues and complexities within our food system. We are learning to adapt to the changing needs of our growing city, and we are learning about the best ways to support our farmers and most effectively increase access to healthy, affordable food. Learning is so intrinsic to who we are as an organization, that we recently set it as one of our...

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Building connections between local farmers and shoppers has been one of the core components of Sustainable Food Center’s mission since our inception. One of the best examples of this work in action has been our Farm to Work project.

Over the last 12 years, we worked hard to build an innovative program that brought healthy, local food directly to employees at local businesses. But as our program has grown and changed, so has the...

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Hand Holding Red Pepper

Healthy food is a human right. No one should have to choose between paying rent and putting a healthy dinner on the table. According to the USDA, last year 11.1% of Americans experienced food insecurity caused by economic, racial and social disparities. That’s a staggering 14.3 million people who do not have reliable access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food.

Here in Austin, these numbers are significantly...

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Our Grow Local program hosted another fun and fruitful Spread the Harvest Resource Giveaway Day on September 19, during which 336 Central Texas gardens—216 low-income household gardens, 94 school gardens, and 26 community and group gardens—received resources to kick off their fall gardening efforts.

The Spread the Harvest project helps Central Texans...

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Hands Passing Yellow Market Dollars

Sustainable Food Center’s bold new vision imagines a Texas where SFC works alongside other leaders to develop a food system that benefits small to mid-size farms while supporting our environment and low-income communities.

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Farmer cutting okra from plant

For I have no doubt that it is only on the condition of humility before our Planet that our species will be able to remain in it.” – Wendell Berry

We are at a critical moment in time. We face deep environmental harm, ongoing food insecurity and increasing rates of diet-related disease caused by the industrial food system. But it’s not too late to make a difference. We must act now to protect the health of our...

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Ben Hollander Portrait

Recently, we sat down with Ben Hollander, owner of Casper Fermentables, to learn more about him, his products, and how partnering with Sustainable Food Center has helped his business along the way.

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Last year, our agency invested in outside consultation to help us address the critical issues of farmland loss, east Austin displacement and environmental degradation given Austin’s explosive growth. As a result of this 9-month visioning session, and with input from a large number of our partners, we’re pivoting to focus more upstream to deal with the systemic and policy issues surrounding farm viability and food access and education. We also...

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Lightsey Farms Texas Peaches

The Texas Legislature, which adjourned last week, delivered multiple wins for local agriculture and the fight against food insecurity. Three of our top priorities passed this session. If signed by the Governor, the following reforms will become law:

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B5 Peppers

If you follow food news closely, it seemed as though 2018 was the year of food-borne illness. Between contaminated lettuce, ground beef, burritos and eggs, it seemed like no food items - from grocery stores to fast casual dining - were left safe. After a study was released by Penn State regarding food safety...

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