Food-o-File: Early Edition
By Virginia B. Wood,
2:45PM, Wed. Sep. 9, 2015
Tomorrow is our annual Best of Austin issue, but Austin food news doesn't stop. Since we are not running Food-o-File in the print issue this week, we decided to give it to you a day early.
Take that great idea off the back burner. The Austin Food & Wine Alliance is now accepting proposals for the 2015 Culinary Innovation and Community Giveback Grants. Eligible applicants could be farmers, ranchers, food artisans, chefs, producers of wine/beer/spirits, culinary businesses, or food-focused nonprofits with projects or initiatives that demonstrate innovation and community involvement. This year, AFWA will give out $40,000 in grant money, making a total of $115,000 invested in community culinary projects over the past four years. “With strong benefactor support from the Austin Food & Wine Festival and outstanding sold-out events such as Wine & Swine and Live Fire, we are thrilled to be able to give this sizable amount of funding for grants to benefit and highlight the talent, craftsmanship, and innovation of the Austin culinary community,” said Cathy Cochran-Lewis, AFWA grant chair. After the application process closes at midnight on Oct. 2, a panel of prominent culinary professionals will evaluate the proposals based on established criteria, information provided in the applications, and the stated goals of each applicant. “Our mission is unique in that small businesses, individuals, and nonprofits seldom have a resource such as this to move their dreams forward,” says AWFA executive director Mariam Parker. This years grant recipients will be notified by Dec. 1, and the grants will be distributed at a ceremony at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on Dec. 8. Applications are available online.
"Agtivist – someone who fights for food freedom." I love it when people are curious about the meaning of this bumper sticker on my scooter. If they ask me this month, I'll suggest they investigate the ninth annual Farm & Food Leadership Conference being hosted in Bryan, Sept. 25-26 by the Farm & Food Leadership Alliance (FARFA) and the Council for Healthy Systems. This year's topics will focus on learning how to change policies that effect our food system. There will be hands-on activism workshops and presentations by experts on the subjects of legalizing hemp, the bee crisis, urban farming, food safety laws, and more. “One of the exciting things about the local foods movement is that it brings together all kinds of people: rural and urban, conservative and liberal, farmer and consumer. The conference reflects this unique convergence of interests,” explains Judith McGeary – attorney, farmer, and FARFA executive director. Complete details and registration available here.
Speaking of farms, this week's online newsletter from Farmhouse Delivery included an educational and poignant article about the plight of small-scale farming and the closure of Water Oak Farm, a goat dairy near Bryan. Mark and Pam Burow have sold fine-quality goat milk and cheeses from their farm for about 15 years, but it has always been more a labor of love than one of profit. I first encountered their cheeses at the Boggy Creek Farm stand years ago and have been a fan ever since. Local food enthusiasts can go here to read more about it.