Winter is conference season and at Farm Aid, if we are going to get on a plane to go to one meeting, we generally try and book two or three! I just got back from the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners annual meeting in College Station, Texas. The meeting was mostly focused towards helping farmers learn how to be better, or even become, organic farmers. It was a true inspiration to the amount of work, studying and detail that goes into proper organic farming.
While I was down south, I also wanted to meet with a couple of groups that we fund in the Austin Area. Last Monday, I met with Max and Russel of YouthLaunch’s Urban Roots Project. You can see me talking with Max on their farm. He is telling me about the excitement of hiring their first team of interns to take over the farm. This program will teach urban youth about growing, selling and preparing homegrown food as a method of youth empowerment. Good stuff!
The following day, I met with Clare and Andrew from the Sustainable Food Center at the University of Texas to help farmer Sonny hand over some veggies to the school’s Executive Sous Chef, Justin. It was so exciting to see the veggies change hands and head off to the kitchen soon to become delicious slaw, stewed collared greens, and stir fry. UT students are pretty lucky! After the drop off, a quick email check and a visit to an area community gardens, we headed off to a Happy Kitchen class. Sustainable Food Center runs a Happy Kitchen program to teach area residents about healthy food and cooking. The class is done in English and Spanish and is conducted by trained community leaders. It was really fun to hear the lively debate, in Spanish so I could only follow some, about the benefits of organic foods verses the cost in this class. Seems like something that everyone is talking about these days.
It was so good to get a glimpse of the sun and really learn about these programs. I was so proud to be there and know that Farm Aid is able to contribute to such valuable programs.