One of the goals in the strategic plan for SFC’s The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre® is to offer at least two of our 24 annual community cooking class series outside of the Austin core. As demographic data shows lower income families moving out of central Austin, we want to make our programs more accessible in the surrounding communities.
This summer, Elgin-based Wesley Nurse, Debi Laurents, was trained as a facilitator for The Happy Kitchen with the intent of helping bring the classes to Elgin. Thanks to generous support from H-E-B, she and I started planning for a class at the Elgin H-E-B store.
Sustainable Food Center has roots in Austin going back 40 years, so many Austinites are familiar with our programs, and we have a fairly extensive network of community contacts who help with class outreach. Without that network in Elgin, I expected the class to require a lot of extra promotion. We started with Debi’s contacts, flyers in the store, and an article in the Elgin Courier, and before we could start to plan our next steps, the class was full. Word continued to spread, and soon there were 60 people on the list to find out about the next series.