Sun up to sun down, sweaty with mud-caked hands, there's something decidedly primal about tapping into agrarian roots. Distinguished by a hard-working and diverse community of farmers, activists, and artists, Austin's urban agriculture is perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of our cultural landscape. From testing the limits of food foraging to urban farms, creative and innovative approaches to sourcing and growing local food abound in our fair city. While 2013 was a true test of patience and perseverance for Austin's urban farms – an updated urban farm code saw increased restrictions – they are finally back at work doing what they do best: growing food.
The fifth annual East Austin Urban Farm Tour celebrates this, along with the work of local chefs, artisan food makers, winemakers, distillers, and craft brewers. A rain or shine event, the Farmhouse Delivery-sponsored tour will take place Sunday, April 13, from 1-5pm. Located within blocks of one another, each of the four Eastside urban farms on the tour will showcase farm-fresh bites and sips from the likes of Qui, Cafe Josie, Lenoir, Live Oak Brewing Company, and Dripping Springs Vodka, among other purveyors. Farmers, including Boggy Creek's Carol Ann Sayle and HausBar Farm's Dorsey Barger, will be on hand to walk visitors through their fields of produce and gardens and answer questions about their crops and experiences. Says Barger, "This feels like the most unbelievable celebration of a year's worth of struggle which ultimately confirmed the right of all Austin urban farms to continue to exist and to make Austin a better place to live. It's also an opportunity to say thanks to all of our supporters who made phone calls and sent emails and attended meetings and commissions in support of urban farms."
Proceeds will benefit the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, a national organization that supports independent farmers, ranchers, livestock owners, and homesteaders while promoting policies for local and diversified agricultural systems. "The best chefs in the city of Austin not only give their time, but their reputation to this event in support of the local farming community and of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance who fought like hell for us," adds Barger. "We want to thank FARFA for everything they do, not just for urban farms but for small farms all over the country."
In keeping with environmental stewardship, participants are encouraged to either bike or park at one location and walk the neighborhood. Only available for purchase online, tickets are $50 for visitors over 12 years old (children 12 and under are free) and includes entry to all four farms. See www.eastaustinurbanfarmtour.com for more details.
Rain Lily Farm (914 Shady, www.rainlilydesign.com): Olive & June, Fabi + Rosi, Fresa's Chicken al Carbon
HausBar Farms and Guesthaus (3300 Govalle, www.hausbarfarms.com): Anjore Deepa, Bola Pizza, Dripping Springs Vodka, Komé Sushi Kitchen, Qui Austin, Wahaka Mezcal
Springdale Farm (755 Springdale, www.springdalefarmaustin.com): Confituras, Driskill Hotel, Eden East & Hillside Farmacy, Hops & Grain, Olamaie, Peche, Vineyard at Florence
Boggy Creek Farm (3414 Lyons, www.boggycreekfarm.com): Bufalina, Cafe Josie, Dolce Neve Gelato, Lenoir, Live Oak Brewing Company, the Austin Wine Merchant, Weather Up
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