Volunteers Build 1st Grade Garden at Neidig Elementary

ELGIN, TEXAS - “Where does our food come from?”  That’s a question that Bailey Braden wishes her first graders would ask more often.  Ms. Braden and the other first grade teachers have their wish granted with the installation of an organic vegetable garden for the first graders at Neidig Elementary in Elgin, Texas.

On Monday, October 13, volunteers from United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) devoted 3 hours to building raised gardens beds and with soil from Organics by Gosh, prepared the beds for student planting. Bloomers Nursery of Elgin donated plants to get the garden started and Gabriel Valley Farms will be donating organic vegetable starts for the students to plant in the coming weeks.  The Elgin Local Goods Store provided home made granola bars for the volunteers.

“What makes this project exciting is that it brings real food into our classrooms where teachers, students and parents can experience the thrill of eating something the students have grown and together we learn more about our food system,” said Dr. Jodi Duron, Elgin ISD Superintendent.

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UNFI is the largest distributor of natural and organic foods in the United States, held their annual sales meeting in Bastrop County and was eager to contribute to our community while here.  UNFI contacted Marcie Owen, Texas Agrilife Extension Agent and a member of the Elgin ISD Student Health Advisory Committee, about a volunteer effort for the UNFI sales team.  Marcie has been involved in enhancing community health in Elgin and recommended the first grade garden project.  Elgin Mayor Marc Holm and Dr. Duron had been looking for joint projects supporting Elgin’s local food economy so this was a natural fit.   Also, UNFI supplies products to the Elgin Local Goods Store in downtown Elgin.

“Elgin is a leader in the local food industry and a key part of our effort is education.  This collaboration by the City of Elgin with our school district and community partners is the kind of work that is essential for positive change that drives our success as a hub of local food enterprise,” said Mayor Holm.

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Art and Agriculture

Dinner and a play anyone? Here's an article about a town that's doing just that and they're serving locally grown food.  Several folks around Elgin have talked about this idea.  What do you think?  Are you willing to work on it?  Sign in and add your comment below!  The event brings visitors to the area so I'll bet our Main Street Board and the Chamber would be interested.

“The meals are generally served at one long table. It’s great food and great company,” Kerr said.

For Southerland, the collaboration makes the region more attractive to visitors.

“The dinners have proven that the area can be a destination,” he said. “It’s an exciting way for us to show that there are a lot of good local farmers contributing to the economy and making the area interesting.”

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"Lunchline" Viewing Connects Farmers with Eaters

The Elgin Local Food Network exists to connect farmers with eaters, and, with that goal in mind, we are promoting an event at 6pm on Thursday, May 15, at the Elgin Library. In conjunction with the Elgin ISD, the Elgin city government is hosting a viewing of the movie, “Lunchline”, which will be followed by a panel discussion with Elgin ISD Food Service managers, Liliana Villegas and Lydia Rocha. “Lunchline” follows six children from Chicago who work to get better, healthier foods into their cafeterias. There will be a concurrent showing of the film “Cloudy with Meatballs, II” for children to watch, while their parents view “Lunchline.”

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We hope that this exciting evening will serve as an arena to converse with school administrators about the possibility of a farm-to-cafeteria program, as well as demonstrate our interest in a school gardens program. Elgin is becoming Texas’ local food capitol, and many area farmers have much to offer! It would be wonderful if Elgin’s school children get to enjoy healthy and local food.

Please join us for this evening of conversation and light snacks, provided by local farmers, as we kick-start a local foods program with Elgin ISD. Hope to see each of you at 6p on Thursday, May 15.

Watch the trailer and get more information here.

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Moontower Coop Farm Social at Tecolote Farm

Hey what's the Moontower Coop?  Find out and visit the beautiful Tecolote Farm on May 3 from 6-10pm.  This one is assuredly going to be lots of fun! Get tickets here for $25 plus a processing fee.

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Farm Day at Sand Creek Farm - This Saturday, April 19

Enjoy a tour of this fabulous farm and dairy.  See their aquaponics systems and enjoy the day.  Sand Creek Farm is off 290 east of Giddings.  Get tickets while they're available $15

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Tired of Donuts and Cookies at Meetings?

Does your organization have healthy meeting practices?  Have you ever been in meetings that seem to go on forever?  Try changing the snacks for a more productive meeting.  The National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity’s brand new Healthy Meeting Toolkit (download the PDF) is a guide to creating a culture of health and wellness in meetings, conferences, and workplaces. It contains tips on how to serve healthier foods, work with hotels to contract for a healthier conference, talk to a caterer or chef about serving healthier options, integrate physical activity into meetings, and much more.

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Green Gate Farms JOB - Farm CoManager

FARM CO­MANAGER JOB DESCRIPTION Lead Manager Urban Farm
March 2014

Job Title: Farm Co­Manager for Green Gate Farms, Lead Manager Urban Farm

Organization: Green Gate Farms, 8310 Canoga Avenue, Austin, TX 78724, 512­484­2746, www.greengatefarms.net

Organization Overview

Green Gate Farms is an award­winning, certified organic family farm begun in 2006 by Skip Connett and Erin Flynn. In the past nine years, we’ve grown from one acre to a 33­acre operation with two farming locations. Our “Urban Farm” location is five acres, set on an historic urban farmstead 8 miles east of downtown Austin. Our “River Farm” is a 33­acre tract 25 minutes east of downtown Austin (and 8 miles west of Bastrop) along the Colorado River. (Staff participate at both farms, transportation provided.)

We grow certified organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers as well as raise heritage hogs, goats, sheep, and chicken. Our produce serves our 200+­member CSA and our farm stand, which is open to the community 3 times a week most of the year. We also sell to a few area restaurants and wholesale distributors.

During the 2014 growing season, our farm will be focused upon the following projects: building new infrastructure at the River Farm (e.g., processing area, storage sheds, housing), establishing an Education Center at the Urban Farm (e.g., livestock areas, classroom, housing), and increasing membership for our meat, vegetable and flower CSAs.

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Farm-to-School Ideas

Farmer Trading Cards!  What a wonderful idea and a great way to engage students with farmers.  This article is most certainly worth a ready for anyone interested in farm to school here in Elgin.  USDA Helps Farmers Make Creative Connection With Students

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USDA Helps Farmers Make Creative Connection with Students - See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/03/13/usda-helps-farmers-make-creative-connection-with-students/#sthash.0CTeNtwO.dpuf
USDA Helps Farmers Make Creative Connection with Students - See more at: http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/03/13/usda-helps-farmers-make-creative-connection-with-students/#sthash.0CTeNtwO.dpuf
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Poultry Processing Summit Success!!

All 24 summit participants worked really hard yesterday and we had lots of fun sorting out this thorny problem of adequate processing capacity.  Thank you to all particpants !! 

 

 

 

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National Farm to Cafeteria Conference 2014

The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Powering Up will convene a diverse group of stakeholders from across the farm to cafeteria movement working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy across America.   In Austin April 15-18, 2014   Registration and more information here.

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Elgin Local Food Network
Supporting local and sustainable food in and around Elgin, Texas!