As the year winds down, many are contemplating nonprofits to receive a year-end gift. You might consider putting your money where your mouth is and make an investment in an organization that furthers the local, sustainable food movement. Three of my favorite causes engage youth, refugees and veterans in farming – widening the umbrella of the sustainable food community.
Urban Roots holds a special place in my heart, teaching kids leadership skills through farming and running a farm stand in Austin. I am continuously impressed with their program and he confidence and enthusiasm it breeds in the kids. Any donation to Urban Roots is money well spent.
In Houston, Plant It Forward Farms provides refugees a path to economic viability through farming. I first read about this program in CultureMap and Sugar & Rice magazine and I cannot wait to visit the farms. Houston is such a melting pot and I can’t think of a better way to welcome new residents than help them become part of an active, thriving food community.
Last year I had the chance to see the documentary Farmer Veteran and was intrigued by efforts to engage and place veterans in small family farms. Eat the Yard farm in Oak Cliff (Dallas) is a great example of such an effort and they credit the continued support of the Farmer Veteran Coalition for their success. A donation to FVC is a direct investment not only in our future food supply, but in our veterans who deserve our gratitude for their service.
Sustainable Food Center (Austin) and Urban Harvest (Houston) host farmers markets, provide farm to work and school services and many other vital programs to ensure that everyone has access to healthy, fresh food. Green Corn Project (Austin) is helping create a new generation of citizen gardeners by installing gardens and teaching gardening classes.
And, of course, the food banks across the state – Capital Area Food Bank, Houston Food Bank, San Antonio Food Bank and North Texas Food Bank – battle hunger every day in our communities, a large focus of which is to get healthy, nutritious food on to every plate.
Last, but not least, Foodways Texas is doing amazing work chronicling the food history of our great state, capturing and preserving what is so special about the flavors of Texas.
Whichever organization you choose, you can rest assured that every dollar you invest is a vote for local food and a healthy, happier community in the new year.
Happy New Year!