Addressing Hunger and Food Insecurity Throughout Travis County
Farms for Food and Health Equity (FFHE)
- Donate produce free of cost to 11 hunger relief organizations.
- Grow + Distribute 15,000lbs of vegetables (equal to 60,000 servings).
- Engage/train 500 volunteers in production/maintenance of the farm.
- Train/employ 50 local youth as healthy food educators + food justice advocates.
Urban Roots, based in Travis County, Texas, cultivates leadership skills through food and farming to transform the lives of young people, and to inspire, engage, and nourish the community. Through the organization’s Farms for Food and Health Equity (FFHE) project, Urban Roots will promote better health outcomes for people located in the Greater Austin Area who are experiencing hunger and food insecurity by growing high quality, fresh vegetables and distributing them through pay-what-you-can and other food access distribution methods.
The benefits of this project are both immediate and long-term. The immediate benefits are that fresh, nutrient-dense food will go directly to those who most need it. The long-lasting benefits are that the project allows Urban Roots to establish systems to grow more food and distribute it more efficiently to people within the area.
The Major Impact
Urban Roots’ work aims to address the current inequities in access to nutritious foods. More broadly, the organization works to contribute to the economic stability of those in the community by paying youth leaders that participate in its programs, and by reducing household food insecurity and hunger by donating 50% of the food they grow to partner hunger relief organizations.
Urban Roots builds strong relationships in which every person belongs; they work in nature and connect to the land; they celebrate one another’s culture and gain a better understanding of ourselves through that effort; they nourish our bodies by working on the farm and by eating what we grow; and the team finds their voices and their way. Urban Roots contributes to a person’s wellness and empowers individuals to change their community through the act of eating healthier foods and creating systems that govern health.
It’s Time Texas was able to discuss the project goals, the community, and the work with Urban Roots Program Director, Iam Hunter-Crawford who is a lead on the project. Here are his thoughts on the work Urban Roots is doing for their community.
In his role as Program Director, Ian works for FFHE with all staff that intersect with the project, including the farm team, program leaders, and volunteers. Ian sees community as a source of nourishment. He believes Urban Roots’ connection to others is the foundation of their joy, happiness, and fulfillment.
Ian said, “I would know that this project was successful if we develop a deeper, more meaningful connection with the Dove Springs community, specifically. If we increase access to healthy food to those experiencing hunger or food insecurity, and if we have systems in place that allow us to grow more food on our two farms and that it moves us closer to our ultimate goal of sharing 100% of the food we grow. I love the daily opportunities to learn and grow through my connections with people that are different from me. Their experiences and perspectives are precious to me in my own journey.”