Location: 1106 Clayton Ln Austin, TX 78723
Description: Founded in 1993, the Sustainable Food Center is a multi-faceted non-profit organization that advocates a healthy local food system. The extent of their mission is elucidated on their website, which states: “SFC creates opportunities for individuals to make healthy food choices and to participate in a vibrant local food system. Through organic food gardening, relationships with area farmers, interactive cooking classes and nutrition education, children and adults have increased access to locally grown food and are empowered to improve the long-term health of Central Texans and our environment.”
+ Launched Austin Farmers’ Market in 2003, which today has locations in Downtown, Sunset Valley, and The Triangle.
+ Provides grants and volunteer support to community and school gardens.
+ Advocates for organic gardening, and aggregates resources appropriate for such efforts in the Central Texas region.
+ Works to improve the quality and sourcing of cafeteria foods (school & work).
+ Operates the Happy Kitchen, a theory-based cooking and nutrition education program that “aids individuals and institutions in making lasting dietary and bahavioral changes.”
+ Partners with local schools to incorporate food systems education into the curriculum.
Conclusion: The Sustainable Food Center is an example of a non-profit organization whose impact is as broad as its scope. As one of the oldest organizations with whom we met, it was clear that the breadth of infrastructure and purpose has developed slowly over time, growing with its surrounding community (and its needs). The Happy Kitchen program, for example, arose from the need to educate communities on the importance of healthy eating; that nutritious meals need not come at a premium. I would curious to see how well the initiative of SFC would scale to the state or even federal level, as most of them seem readily adaptable to food systems of any size.
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