Here at SFC, we love to listen to peoples’ stories. We especially love to hear and share stories about food, because food stories are so often tied to a home town, a grandma’s kitchen, or an unforgettable celebration. Food is, after all, family. However, we know that access to healthy, affordable food is a struggle for many families across our community. So we must also listen and be prepared to respond to opportunities that can bridge the gaps in our food system.
SFC Farm Stands are a newer food access initiative that we have built in collaboration with community members who experience food insecurity or who live in areas where access to fresh produce is difficult. Farm Stands are unique in that, while they provide access to produce from local farmers, they are owned and operated by the community where they are located. SFC, with support from the City of Austin Fresh for Less Initiative, and in partnership with Go! Austin/Vamos! Austin, provides the equipment and training for the farm stands to be run autonomously by members of the community in which the farm stand is located. Here’s how it works:
Each week, Farm Stand Facilitators in charge of the farm stand communicate what produce they would like to order. Parents and teachers from the school are ready to help unload the bins of produce as soon as they arrive, set up the tent and table, and create a vibrant display of freshly harvested fruits and vegetables. The Farm Stands run weekly at the same time and place, and the produce is sold at cost. The funds accrued from the sales belong to the Farm Stand team for use down the road. The key is that the decisions about the project – from the planning phase regarding where it will be located and when it will be open, to the operational aspects of what will be sold, how the word will get out – are made together with the community.
The people running the sales at the Farm Stand are the same folks that you see in the school hallways and at the neighborhood park. Here’s what one of our Facilitators had to say:
“The Farm Stand will affect health in different ways. It’ll help people improve their lives. It shows people how that it’s possible to have vegetables that are natural, organic, and come directly from the producer to the consumer. That is marvelous. It comes directly to us. The prices are good, and we’re spending time outside. We choose what type of produce we want to buy. All of this will improve our diets, and therefore our health.”
We’ll highlight one of the Facilitators in an upcoming newsletter article, so look out!
If you’re interested in checking out a farm stand, visit one of the following locations:
SFC Farm Stand at Cunningham Elementary, Tuesdays 2-4 pm
SFC Farm Stand at St. Elmo Rd., Wednesdays 4-6 pm
SFC Farm Stand at Odom Elementary, Thursdays 1:30-3:30 pm
SFC Farm Stand at Dove Springs, Saturdays 10:30-12:30