Farmshare Austin in Austin, Texas strives to grow healthy food communities and resilient food economies by educating new farmers, increasing access to organic food and preserving farmland.
The organization educates new farmers in central Texas through a program called “Farmer Starter”, an 18-week program designed to provide aspiring farmers with the essential skills and training needed to manage a sustainable farming business. The program has hands-on, in-field training as well as formal classroom education in which students learn the skills necessary to run a successful farm business. Students live on-site and their work contributes to a 60-member CSA. In 2018, the Simply Organic Giving Fund contributed a grant to this program.
Also central to Farmshare Austin’s work is improving the availability of healthy, sustainably produced food to portions of the population that currently have the least access to it. One among a variety of programs and partnerships that achieve this is “Mobile Markets”. These pop-up markets bring organic food access directly to neighborhoods experiencing geographic and economic barriers to healthy food. In 2019, the Simply Organic Giving Fund contributed $10,000 to an expansion of the Mobile Markets program called “Fresh for Less”. The expansion has allowed the Mobile Markets to sell locally sourced, certified organic produce, eggs, honey and other high-quality items from a local food co-op at or below wholesale price.
Finally, Farmshare Austin invests in long-term farm community and economic durability by engaging in initiatives that preserve farmland and protect environmental resources required for healthy, sustainable farming. This is an organization truly dedicated to a resilient food system in which all people have access to healthy food that’s good for the people and the land.