A big, hairy, audacious goal.
What’s the one big, bold thing you’d like to achieve in the next 15 years?
That’s the question the folks at the Sustainable Food Center sat down and asked themselves about nine months ago. And this was their answer – “to increase the amount of local food consumed by residents in Central Texas by 2035.”
Increase by how much exactly? That’s what they’re working on figuring out now.
It’s all part of a larger initiative by the Sustainable Food Center to pivot its focus and mission to an area where it’s most needed and can have the largest impact.
What does that mean? Well, for starters, it’s a renewed mission statement, “to cultivate a just and regenerative food system so that people and the environment can thrive.”
On a more practical level, SFC will be shifting some of its focus away from its for-fee gardening and cooking class and toward policy work further upstream on our local food system. That means things like helping to increase the production of local food/improve farm viability and making sure we have a supply chain in place to get that food to local consumers. (In Travis County, less than 1 percent of the food consumed here is actually produced here.)
“And then from an equity standpoint, making sure that this is not just for some people,” said Joy Casnovsky (deputy director of SFC) in an interview with AEN. “That this type of food can be accessed by folks no matter their income, their neighborhood. That’s really important to us as well.”
Joy explained that this update to SFC’s priorities and goals is only possible because the local landscape has changed so much since the organization was first founded almost 45 years ago.
“When I joined the organization many years ago, there was very few organizations who were doing work in terms of gardening, or connecting children to where their food is coming from, or healthy cooking classes, or farmers markets,” Joy said. “And we’ve seen a lot of organizations grow and sprout, which is fantastic.”
This has given SFC the opportunity to “lean out and let others lean in” in certain areas, while doubling down on its new goal (to increase the amount of local food consumed by Central Texans) and better serve a community that’s rapidly changing.
To learn more about what’s next for SFC, you can watch our entire interview with Joy below or read through their public announcement here.
PS – Love SFC’s farmers markets? Don’t worry, they’ll still be held 52 weeks a year at Sunset Valley and in downtown Austin. Cooking classes are also still on the schedule at least through the fall and the Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre® program will be continuing as well. To stay up-to-date on changes as they arrive, Joy just recommends checking their website.