We might have a local food processing center in Elgin! The City of Elgin has received a grant from the USDA to examine feasibility and write a business plan to establish a facility in Elgin to process food produced by area farmers. The project is being led by Elgin area farmers from Bernhardt's Farm (on FM1704), Tecolote and Green Gate Farms (both off 969) with advice and wisdom from many other family farms in our area. Sue Beckwith is the project manager for the City of Elgin.
Keep up to date by visiting the "Projects" section of the Elgin Local Food Network.
What a job! School nutrition professionals have to follow more rules than most of us. They have to balance menu planning following nutrition standards, financial management, and inventory management, all while making meals that will be enjoyed by students. First Lady Michelle Obama has announced free training and lots of resources to support these incredible professionals who feed our kids everyday. Have a look:
When: Saturday, November 8th --- Time: 9am to 1 pm
come on out and lend a hand - stay as long as you'd like - tools provided - you bring the fun!
RSVP to help out on Saturday Nov 8!
(Elgin,Texas) – Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) has recognized Elgin and Keep Bastrop County Beautiful (KBCB) as a recipient of the Native Garden Grants Program. Through funding from Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and Lowe’s, Keep Texas Beautiful will provide thirteen drought-affected Keep Texas Beautiful affiliate communities with the support and materials needed to create and maintain a native plant demonstration garden. These gardens will serve as a model to educate and engage community members to grow native species in their own gardens. KTB hopes to create awareness not only in the thirteen communities involved, but throughout Texas.
To assist with the creation of the garden, Elgin will receive a $600 gift card to Lowe’s, $500 in maintenance assistance, a variety of gardening materials, along with additional administrative assistance and marketing support from Keep Texas Beautiful.
The demonstration garden will be installed in existing beds at the Elgin Library on Saturday, November 8th, starting at 9 am. All tools, material, and plants will be provided, we just need people to help! For more information, contact Sandy Ott, Librarian at 512-281-5678.
Keep Texas Beautiful, a statewide grassroots environmental and community improvement nonprofit, strives to educate and engage Texans to take responsibility for improving their community environment. KTB and its more than 373 affiliates work with government, businesses, civic groups and volunteers to ensure that every Texan has the opportunity to make Texas the cleanest, most beautiful state in the nation. For more information on programs and events, call 1-800-CLEAN-TX or visit www.ktb.org.
RSVP to help out on Saturday Nov 8!
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
FARM COMANAGER JOB DESCRIPTION Lead Manager Urban Farm
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
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.