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Travis County puts millions toward food access

Thursday, November 10, 2022 by Seth Smalley

On Tuesday, Travis County commissioners unanimously approved a series of contracts with local nonprofits and community groups, totaling $3.1 million, to help at-risk residents access healthy and fresh food.

“The organizations receiving these funds will use the money in various ways,” a county press release explains, such as “enhancing their food delivery services, expanding pantry locations, or funding their food distribution programs, to make it easier for families in need to afford and access healthy foods.”

The source of the money is the federal American Rescue Plan Act, dispersed through the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program.

“No one should ever have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from. Today’s vote by the Travis County Commissioners Court to approve $3.1 million towards access to quality healthy foods is a commitment to addressing food insecurity,” County Commissioner Jeffrey Travillion said. “As more people are displaced to the edges of the county, this court will do everything it can to fully support local organizations that work day in and day out to remove barriers to food access. These contract awards will help ease financial burdens many Travis County residents face and help them live healthier lives.”

Central Texas Food Bank received the largest contract allotment, at $791,038. The next largest grant, at $508,342, went to Foundation Communities, a local housing nonprofit with multiple affordable housing communities across Austin. El Buen Samaritano, a community-focused nonprofit, received $445,358.

Other organizations received funds in varying allotments:

  • Farmshare Austin: $416,816. Its mission is to grow “a healthy, just and equitable local food system by increasing community food access and cultivating new farmers.”
  • Austin Youth & Community Farm (Urban Roots): $350,000. The organization provides jobs to young people interested in agriculture and leadership.
  • Multicultural Refugee Coalition: $316,202. The nonprofit connects refugees to sustainable farming jobs and partners with Open Arms Studio, a textile manufacturer.
  • Sustainable Food Center: $291,527. The local group supports small to mid-sized farms that practice sustainable or regenerative agricultural techniques.

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