Justice

The recent wildfires that swept through the Texas Panhandle have left a trail of devastation, impacting countless lives and livelihoods. It’s more important than ever to rally together and support our local farmers who have been severely affected by the fires.

The wildfires, which erupted on February 26, 2024, have ravaged vast stretches of land, leaving behind a landscape scarred by flames. Communities have been displaced, homes destroyed, and livestock lost (Associated Press). The road to recovery will be long and challenging, but with our collective support, we can help our farmers rebuild and restore their livelihoods. 

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, along with local and state resources, is spearheading relief efforts to assist the residents of the Texas Panhandle. They are working tirelessly to coordinate aid and provide essential supplies to those in need. As part of their efforts, they are calling for donations of hay, feed, fence supplies, cow feed, and wildlife feed to support farmers in rebuilding their operations. For more information on how you can donate supplies or volunteer your time to assist with wildfire relief efforts, please contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at (806) 354-5800 from 8 am – 5 pm CST, or visit this webpage.

The USDA is opening a special disaster sign-up for $6 million in additional funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for producers in the Texas Panhandle who have been impacted by recent wildfires. Producers must submit applications to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) by April 8th, 2024, to be considered for this funding opportunity. For more information, log on to the NRCS Texas website.

But support doesn’t stop there. We, as Texas consumers and neighbors, can also make a difference by shopping with local farmers and supporting our farmers markets. By purchasing fresh, locally grown produce, we not only support our farmers financially but also contribute to the resilience of our local food system. Let’s come together as a community to show our solidarity and support for those who feed us.

In addition to donating supplies and shopping locally, it’s important to prioritize the well-being of our farmers. Farming can be a high-stress career, and farmers need to have access to resources and support networks. If you or someone you know needs assistance, NCAT’s ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program offers valuable resources to help farmers find the support they need to succeed.

In times of crisis, it’s heartening to see communities come together to support one another. Texas will continue to stand strong, shoulder to shoulder, as we rebuild and restore hope for a brighter future for farmers and communities alike.

Together, we can build back, better connected and more resilient than ever. 

April 10, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Sue Beckwith
SueB (at) TexasLocalFood.org

ELGIN, TEXAS – The Texas Center for Local Food today announced this year’s “Fresh Look” partners – farmers markets in Texas that accept SNAP EBT, formerly known as “food stamps.” SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides food assistance to lower income households. The Texas Center for Local Food launched “A Fresh Look at Your Farmers Market” in 2021 to promote farmers markets that accept SNAP EBT. 

“Farmers markets are a critical link in our Texas food system, and lower income families have access to fresh, local food — but too many don’t know it — yet!” says Sue Beckwith, Texas Center for Local Food Executive Director. According to 2020 statistics from the USDA, Texas was second in the nation for SNAP benefits issued, but ranked nearly last in the percentage of SNAP funds used at farms and farmers markets. “Our ‘Fresh Look’ project makes Texas-grown, farm fresh produce more accessible to families shopping with SNAP benefits and helps small Texas farmers and ranchers too,” Beckwith said.

The spring growing season offers a great opportunity for families to purchase locally-grown produce at their local farmers markets, like carrots and leafy greens. Families can use their Lone Star Card to buy any SNAP eligible foods including produce, eggs, meat, bread, and more!  

These ‘Fresh Look’ partner farmers markets currently accept SNAP EBT, also known as Lone Star Cards. Farmers market hours are subject to change.

Central Texas

East Texas

North Texas

South Texas

West Texas

  • Bodega Loya (El Paso) Friday and Sunday 12-5pm, Saturday 10am-5pm

The Texas Center for Local Food was created by small farmers and ranchers in 2016 to strengthen the economic viability of Texas communities and family farms through local food economic development.  For more information, visit TexasLocalFood.org or contact Sue Beckwith at SueB@TexasLocalFood.org or 512-496-1244.

Data Points & Sources

  • In FY 2020, Texas ranked second in the nation in total SNAP benefits issued at $6.3 billion, second only to California.
    • SNAP $5 billion + Emergency Allotment $1.3 billion 
    • The $6.3 billion total includes regular SNAP issuance and additional emergency allotment COVID relief funds. Emergency allotments ended in March 2023 for all SNAP recipients in Texas.
  • In FY 2020, Texas ranked 47th in SNAP redemption at farms and farmers markets as a percentage of total SNAP redemption for the state (.0030%).
  1. https://fns-prod.azureedge.us/sites/default/files/resource-files/FY20-state-activity-report.pdf
  2. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/
  3. https://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap
  4. https://www.hhs.texas.gov/about-hhs/records-statistics/data-statistics/supplemental-nutritional-assistance-program-snap-statistics
  5. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/redemptions-report-fy-2013-2020

10 de abril de 2023
PARA PUBLICACIÓN INMEDIATA 

Contacto con los medios: Jesús Reyes
Texas Mexico/Border Coalition, CBO
info (at) TM-BC.org

ELGIN, TEXAS – El Texas Center for Local Food anunció hoy a los socios del programa “Fresh Look” de este año: mercados de agricultores en Texas que aceptan SNAP EBT, anteriormente conocidos como “estampillas de alimentos”. SNAP es el Programa de asistencia nutricional suplementario, que brinda asistencia alimentaria a los hogares de bajos ingresos. El Texas Center for Local Food lanzó “Una nueva mirada a su mercado de agricultores” o “A Fresh Look at Your Farmers Market” en 2021 para promover los mercados de agricultores que aceptan SNAP EBT.

“Los mercados de agricultores son un vínculo fundamental en nuestro sistema alimentario de Texas, y las familias de bajos ingresos tienen acceso a alimentos locales frescos, ¡pero muchos aún no lo saben!” dice Sue Beckwith, Directora Ejecutiva del Texas Center for Local Food. Según las estadísticas de 2020 del USDA, Texas ocupó el segundo lugar en la nación por los beneficios de SNAP emitidos, pero ocupó el último lugar en el porcentaje de fondos de SNAP utilizados en granjas y mercados de agricultores. “Nuestro proyecto ‘Fresh Look’ hace que los productos agrícolas frescos cultivados en Texas sean más accesibles para las familias que compran con los beneficios de SNAP y también ayuda a los pequeños agricultores y ganaderos de Texas”, dijo Beckwith.

La temporada de cultivo de primavera ofrece una gran oportunidad para que las familias compren productos cultivados localmente en los mercados de agricultores locales, como zanahorias y otras verduras. ¡Las familias pueden usar su tarjeta Lone Star para comprar alimentos elegibles para SNAP como verduras, huevos, carne, pan y más!

Estos mercados de agricultores asociados a ‘Fresh Look’ actualmente aceptan SNAP EBT igual conocido como su tarjeta Lone Star. Los horarios del mercado de agricultores están sujetos a cambios.

Centro de Texas

Este de Texas

Norte de Texas

Sur de Texas

Oeste de Texas

  • Bodega Loya (El Paso) viernes y domingo 12-5pm, sábado 10am-5pm 

El Centro de Alimentos Locales de Texas fue creado por pequeños agricultores y ganaderos en 2016 para fortalecer la viabilidad económica de las comunidades y granjas familiares de Texas a través del desarrollo económico de alimentos locales. Para obtener más información, visite TexasLocalFood.org o comuníquese con Jesus Reyes a Info@TM-BC.org o 956-298-0708.

Puntos de datos y fuentes

  • En el año fiscal 2020, Texas ocupó el segundo lugar en la nación en el total de beneficios SNAP emitidos con $6.3 mil millones, solo superado por el estado de California.
    • SNAP $5 mil millones + Asignación de emergencia $1.3 mil millones
    • El total de $6.3 mil millones incluye la emisión regular de SNAP y fondos adicionales de ayuda de asignación de emergencia por COVID. Las asignaciones de emergencia terminaron en marzo de 2023 para todos los beneficiarios de SNAP en Texas.
  • En el año fiscal 2020, Texas ocupó el puesto 47 en el canje de SNAP en granjas y mercados de agricultores como porcentaje del canje total de SNAP para el estado (.0030 %).
  1. https://fns-prod.azureedge.us/sites/default/files/resource-files/FY20-state-activity-report.pdf
  2. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/
  3. https://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap
  4. https://www.hhs.texas.gov/about-hhs/records-statistics/data-statistics/supplemental-nutritional-assistance-program-snap-statistics
  5. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/redemptions-report-fy-2013-2020

ELGIN, TEXAS – The Texas Center for Local Food today announced a new project to promote the use of SNAP benefits at farmers markets in Texas.  

SNAP benefit recipients can use their SNAP cards to buy fresh, local food at farmers markets. But many recipients don’t know that – and farmers markets face multiple hurdles to accepting SNAP. 

In FY2020, Texas ranked 47th out of the 50 US states in SNAP sales at farmers markets. “Farmers markets are a critical link in the local food system, and lower-income families have access to fresh, local food — but too many don’t know it — yet!” said Sue Beckwith, Executive Director of the Texas Center for Local Food. Our new project will get more Texas-grown, farm fresh produce onto SNAP recipients’ tables.”

Promotion alone won’t increase sales to SNAP recipients. Farmers markets also need help setting up and using the equipment for SNAP processing. “The equipment required to process SNAP is different from normal card processing equipment. It requires its own setup and specialized training,” said Susie Marshall, Executive Director of Grow North Texas, a SNAP-ED project partner. “We provide technical assistance to help farmers markets adopt and use the equipment.”

family shopping at farmers market

Digital images are free for non-commercial, non-profit use. They are provided by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The 1-year grant of $439,951 is awarded and administered by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission using funds allocated to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service as part of the Farm Bill.

Another hurdle for farmers markets accepting SNAP are the costs of the equipment and processing. The Texas Center for Local Food also works to help farmers markets offset farmers markets costs not paid for by this grant costs using funds contributed by TCLF members. To become a member, or find out how to participate, please visit TexasLocalFood.org/Join-Us

The Texas Center for Local Food, based in Elgin, Texas, was created in 2016 by small farmers and ranchers to strengthen the economic viability of Texas communities and family farms through making the local food system economically stronger. For more information, visit TexasLocalFood.org or contact Sue Beckwith at sueb@TexasLocalFood.org.

Data Points & Sources

Based on FY 2020 & FY 2019:

  • On average 12.4% of Texans receive SNAP every month (1.6 million families).
  • Each month over $400 million dollars in SNAP payments are made in Texas.
  • The precentage of SNAP benefits redeemed at farmers’ markets is almost 0 (0.003%), ranking Texas 47th in the country.
  1. https://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap
  2. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/
  3. https://www.hhs.texas.gov/about-hhs/records-statistics/data-statistics/supplemental-nutritional-assistance-program-snap-statistics

 Sources

  • Family purchases food at a local farmers market. Credit (not required): Photo courtesy USDA SNAP-ED.  Digital images are free for non-commercial, non-profit use. They are provided by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

On January 19, 2021 the Texas Center for Local Food (TCLF) partnered with the Board of the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardners Association (TOFGA) to present a session on anti-oppression and anti-racism at the TOFGA annual conference. The session was presented by the National Conference on Community and Justice and was very well received by participants.

A shout out thank you to members of the Texas Center for Local Food anti-racism cohort 1 who continue to work to create an anti-racist food system in Texas, Skyra, Alejandra, Jules, and Adam. These individuals are taking personal risks to share their experiences and help us all learn.

Frankie Bayne, TOFGA Operations and Membership Manager, had this to say:

“The NCCJ training was one of the best attended sessions of the TOFGA annual conference. I had many attendees write or call afterward to express their gratitude and share how powerful the session was for them. For me, hearing the panelists’ share their personal stories about ways in which they are working to dismantle racism in their communities and spheres of influence was inspiring and gave me a lot to reflect upon in my own life and work in food and farming.” 

If you are interested in participating in education to create an anti-racist food system in Texas, please complete this form to express your interest.


by Kacey Hansen, MPH, Program Manager, UT Dell Medical School, Dept. of Population Health, Division of Community Engagement and Health Equity

This is part of a series of posts from participants in the Texas Local Food Anti-Racism training by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). Together we are creating an anti-racist food system in Texas.

It was the start of day two of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) Anti-racism Training.  After a brief review of the previous day, zoom breakout rooms launched. I can still picture it…9 squares with nine smiles on nine BIPOC (black/indigenous/people of color) faces in one zoom room.   

The Texas Center for Local Food took scholarship applications during the summer (2020) to provide a small cohort of Central Texans the opportunity to attend an anti-racism training.  The Center’s leadership understood that where food is grown, who grows it, stores, distributes, and prepares it is part of a larger and older story, which includes structural racism.  I come to my work as a public health researcher who has implemented several projects over my 20-year career, primarily centered on food – “go, slow and whoa” foods; fast and slow food; how food effects blood sugar; cancer prevention foods; food pantries, “food deserts”; and now drive-thru food pick-ups and produce delivery.  I am also a trained pastry chef and sit on the Austin/Travis County Food Policy Board. Significantly, I self-identify as Black/African American.

Like most of us, our office transitioned to virtual meeting spaces like Zoom and Teams in March due to the pandemic.  Every weekday from 8am – 5pm, for the past 6 months prior to the training, I had been in at least three meetings a day using this platform.  I am sure you are familiar with the drill: click a link; a room opens to people in squares; scroll to see who all attended; notice no one is smiling; aware that I may be the only black person attending (…that last part may not be part of your drill).   The training day started with the normal drill. I knew who all would be there, as it was day two, but this day was different.  I was in zoom exclusively with people of color.  Immediately, I felt like I belonged. I felt safe.  I did not want to leave the zoom room and the people in the other eight squares may have felt similarly, as the eight smiles emerged.

Maybe you do not “see” color and you believe all people are the same.  We talked about this and how nice it sounds, but how dismissive that phrase is. Why dismissive? …Others see my color and you probably do too.  By ignoring it, one dismisses the real experiences of people of color, experiences that are unique to those who do not benefit from the social construct, called race.  I am not treated the same as a person who is lighter skinned and/or identifies themselves as white.  

One other training topic was culture.  Attire, hair, speech, tone, volume, cleanliness, time, and food were included on the short list of things determined by one’s culture.  I, as an African-American woman, must think about this short list daily in order to traverse the “right” or later declared “white” culture.  As a person of color in a “white” culture, I experience micro-aggressions, like being told: 1) what foods cannot be heated in the microwave at work that are part of my culture, due to the smell, or 2) “I thought you were white”, when meeting in person after an initial phone conversation.  The intent with sharing my experiences during the training were not to shame people but to increase awareness or reveal blind spots.  If we say slavery is a “thing of the past”, but some still benefit from it, talking about those benefits and deficits, as well as the bias and privilege can change hearts and minds.  Those individual changes can improve the way we work, play, live and pray together.

Attending the Anti-Racism training was difficult for me.  It is hard talking about personal prejudice and racism. Equally, I felt vulnerable talking about how I navigate everyday life with people who do not share my experiences.  Though I contributed as a person of color, I witnessed newfound awareness and the start of changed minds.  These courageous conversations, whether one-on-one or group discussions are necessary.  If we narrow in on food, think about the type/quality, origin, quantity, and preparation methods you prefer.  Everyone needs food. Few grow it, but most buy it and many do not have enough of it.  Further, when we look at who is growing, packaging, distributing or selling food, a familiar story is revealed.  It is not an accident that white people in the US own more land, businesses, and capital when compared to people of color.  And I know those making the decisions around food do not look like those nine faces in those nine squares, sharing the same race or lived experiences around race as BIPOC in the United States.  We must do more than have conversations to achieve equity, but little will change if we do not start with the conversations.  One question I asked during the training, which I will continue to ask moving forward is, “Are those who are at the table, thinking about those who aren’t at the table and how their decisions as non-BIPOC will impact those who are BIPOC?”  Being anti-racist is not just not being racist; it is about dismantling racism in boardrooms, research labs, on farms and at your dinner table.  

by Holly Park

This is part of a series of posts from participants in the Texas Local Food Anti-Racism training by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). Together we are creating an anti-racist food system in Texas.

Racism. I wrote it. You read it. It is a nasty reality that we live with but to fix it we can’t be afraid to talk about it. So say it again. Racism.

The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) Anti-Racism training sponsored by the Texas Center for Local Food was an invaluable opportunity to start tough conversations, and learn how to continue them productively. Our trainers at the NCCJ sessions guided us towards truths I have a hard time seeing as a white person benefiting from the systemically racist culture and systems that currently rule America. Equally as important, this training also gave us the toolkit we need to further explore our own privilege (white and POC) and to productively combat the pervasive and thriving white supremacy in the world.

At the very beginning of the training, the leaders clearly defined rules to ensure everyone felt comfortable and understood how to be respectful of each other. In a safe place, for everyone from every background, we discussed what racism is and what it means. We covered some of the historical roots of racism, what exactly systemic racism looks like, the real world impact of racist policies, and some lived experiences of racism. We separated into a POC identifying group and a white identifying group to discuss any feelings and thoughts we had but weren’t comfortable sharing with the larger group. We also discussed why it was important to separate and give that space to everyone. Even though we are in this together and racism affects everyone, it does not affect us equally or in the same ways. Most importantly there were no stupid questions, no shaming, and no judgement. Best of all we were given resources to continue education ourselves and advocating for equitability. 

My most treasured takeaways from the training are things I wish I could share with everyone on the planet. They are concepts that seem so simple, but when patiently explained to me, mean so much.

  • Impact and intent are two (sometimes very) different things
    • What you say and what you mean are not always the same thing, even if you don’t know it. In the context of someone else’s life the words you choose will hit someone else in a way you may not intend, but is still very real. For example, you may think telling someone you are “colorblind” will signal to them you do not feel racist. However, you are signaling you would rather not think about race or racism. And while that may be easy for you, it is not a choice for many. “Colorblindness” erases the history of inequitable race relations as well as people’s current lived experience. So while you may intend to be “colorblind” as a way to not be racist, the real impact is you are perpetuating racist attitudes and propping up systemic racism by ignoring the problem or glossing over it. Just remember, not meaning to hurt someone doesn’t make the pain go away. 
  • What you don’t know can hurt you and the people around you
    • Continuing with the example of “colorblindness”, you may not know that it is a dog whistle for racism. But saying it, even if you want to use it in a different way, is still racist. You may not know better, but that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt someone. Another example is a company policy about acceptable hair styles. Policies about “professional hair” can discriminate against anyone with non-white hair. If an African-American woman wants to work in an office, she may not feel comfortable, or worse may not be hired, if she has Afro-textured hair and chooses to wear it naturally or in braids. While you may think a policy is about good hygiene and a neat appearance, not recognizing how ethno-centric and exclusive the policy is doesn’t change the damage it does.
  • It’s not anyone else’s job to educate you
    • You may still not understand why “colorblindness” or specific dress codes are racist and hurtful. Google it. It is not the job of any POC you may know or meet, not anyone’s job, to ensure you understand. Racism is a stressful and emotional topic. It can literally be life or death for some people. There are lots of public resources like websites, podcasts, books, articles, and more where people have chosen to speak up about systemic racism, personal lived experiences, and everything in between. As a human being it is on you to walk your own journey of compassion, empathy, and understanding. I encourage you to educate yourself for your piece of mind, for your own personal growth, for the people around you, and for the people you don’t know that are being hurt and killed by racism every single day. 

We were asked towards the end of the training to imagine what the world would be like if there was no more racism. What the exercise highlighted is that not only is that world beautiful, it doesn’t have to be fictional. How do we stop racism? We talk about it.

This post is a living list of resources. Please use the comments below to add your resources and we’ll add them into the permanent post as we go.

Reading list from GoodReads

Training from the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ).

Community-Engaged Research Course is a class offered in 2019 as a pilot by Huston-Tillotson University to advance equity and data activism in central Texas. This topic is related to data collection and evaluation.

While not a direct resource, this meeting guide will help support meetings where all feel welcome, heard and valued. (Scroll down past their calendar). This guide is courtesy of Iowa State University via the Farm-Based Education Network.

The Case for Reparations, The Atlantic, June 2014

Identifying and Countering White Supremacy Culture in Food Systems, from the Duke World Food Policy Center, Sept, 2020. Excellent overview of white supremacy in food systems and clear direction for food policy organizations to follow – Now. — Sent by Errol Schweizer.


by Jules Assata

This is part of a series of posts from participants in the Texas Local Food Anti-Racism training by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). Together we are creating an anti-racist food system in Texas.

How long has it taken me to write my blog piece? Longer than I intended, that’s for sure. While I can name plenty of good reasons it took so long, the underlying truth is that I’ve struggled to articulate my experience… or even grasp my take-away from the intensive anti-racism training.

I’ve attended anti-racism training before, several times, including an in-person, weeklong intensive from NCCJ back in the mid-90’s. I’ve explored my racism and white privilege ad nauseum and am stunned each time another example comes to my attention because, as I am (sometimes reluctantly) aware, I will never be finished excavating the layers and nuances of the racism and privilege I have lived my entire life being served by.

So what did I get out of this particular training? Well…. this time I really ‘got’ the notion of white supremacy… as something other than those awful, skinhead, neo nazi, violent haters. What was different this time? Was the phrase newly inserted into NCCJ’s training, or worked into the experience more effectively, or was I just ready to hear it, to open the door to more awareness? Because I absolutely do NOT want to see myself in the context of that phrase and the images of people and beliefs that appall me. And yet ever since that training, especially one activity, one question, I have been seeing white supremacy everywhere.

We were once again sent into paired conversation in our breakout Zoom rooms, this time with the question “What would it look like to live in a world without white supremacy?” I was increasingly excited as I considered the endless possibilities of a world almost unimaginably different from the absence of white supremacy. If people of color~ particularly dark-skinned people and the descendents of slaves~ were not systematically subjugated to the control and benefit of light-skinned people~ particularly those of european descent or close enough to pass as the owning caste… if all those oppressed people had access to the same resources and opportunities as the oppressing caste… Wow! Everything we know in life could be different~ our homes and communities and work places, and types of work and play, our art and music and languages and ways to express ourselves and connect, our teaching and learning, our health and wellness, our environment and connection to it… it just started flowing and was beautiful. When I tried to articulate my wonder to my partner, I realized I sounded like a fantasy novel, so far removed from ‘reality’ these possibilities were. And the door opened wide and I began to see.

White supremacy is the water we live in like fish in a tank. As a white person, I am so perfectly bred to the fishbowl~ and do very well living in it~ that I literally could not imagine another setting… until I was asked to. Grateful am I for an active imagination and some broadening experiences in other places, among other people and cultures both from within and beyond my country’s borders… and I love and read fantasy novels… otherwise I think my responses to the question would have fallen along the lines of “it would fair” or “there would be equality”. 

White supremacy shapes every aspect of our lives… all of our lives… all of the time, in every setting… and in ways that are so much a part of everyday life they may be invisible, even to the majority who do not benefit from the way life has been set up. As a female, lesbian, non-Christian there are ways I most definitely do not benefit and must work to pass well enough to be relatively safe and secure, even if always a bit insecure and at risk. Dark-skinned? No way to pass, therefore safety and security is never  fully achieved, no matter how much money or education or type of job or place to live. Not in this fish bowl. So that is a lousy, unjust, crappy outcome from white supremacy. 

Crappy also is the way our communities are built and organized, the way our education is organized and the poor outcomes for the vast majority, the treatment of as many ‘others’ as the controlling caste (primarily wealthy, white, Christian, straight males) can contrive, the state of our planet~ our Mother Earth~ and yes, our food system. How much better might it be without white supremacy? No one can say for sure, but it couldn’t be worse. I would love to be alive to see what will happen when we evolve beyond.

by Adam Orman

This is part of a series of posts from participants in the Texas Local Food Anti-Racism training by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ). Together we are creating an anti-racist food system in Texas. This post is by Adam Orman, General Manager and Owner of L’Oca d’Oro restaurant in Austin, Texas and founding member of Good Work Austin.

I have been in the restaurant industry for over 20 years.  I have advocated for restaurants to support their local economies, reduce waste, increase food access to communities in need.  My restaurant does not pay $2.13/hr and shares a mandatory service charge with all of our employees to create greater equity inside our walls.  In the last four years, we became members of a national restaurant labor organization that advocates for higher wages and educates about the racist history of tipping, the racist patterns of tipping and the connection between the tipped minimum wage and sexual harassment.  We are at the far progressive end of our industry but it is only now that anti-racist training is something that independent owners are talking about seriously.  Those who are less progressive are only now talking about overcoming implicit bias without treading in the swamp of wage inequity and theft, sexual harassment and the exlpoitation of undocumented workers.

I needed this training and our industry desperately needs this training and for more in our industry to be able to speak this language.  I learned better definitions for things as simple as race, prejudice and discrimination and more nuanced, complete definitions of white supremacy and white privilege.  I left better equipped to have sensitive conversations with our staff about why we’re going to pursue a different more inclusive model.  We have a toolkit from One Fair Wage to help us implement more equitable systems, have sought out combo virtual/in person trainings for our staff and Good Work Austin now that I see their value and have begun negotiations with OFW to hold online trainings for an Austin restaurant cohort of restaurant owners in the beginning of 2021. 

I am grateful for being pushed to greater action and hopeful that GWA and L’Oca d’Oro can effectively proselytize, change the way Austin’s restaurant’s go about their business and serve as examples of businesses that must do more for our communities instead of only being concerned about how much we can extract from them.  Thank you for this invaluable opportunity.

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