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Enroll for the News Media for Farmers course to learn how to build media relations, prepare for an interview, develop and deliver key messages, and optimize the impact of your media coverage!

Skip Connett and Erin Flynn from Green Gate Farms instruct this course and offer their professional experience on journalism, marketing, and farming. You’ll also get the inside scoop from a news media reporter and hear successful strategies farmers have used to optimize media coverage.

For only $20, students will also receive a Sample Editorial Calendar, Build Your Perfect Pitch Worksheet, Key Message Outline, Interview Preparation Checklist, and a Post Interview Guide!

Get started today!

Working and collaborating with different farmers markets across Texas and meeting different people means that we get to witness the amount of passion and resilience that fills our communities. We take a holistic approach to our work to support farmers markets. Our work emcompasses building relationships with farmers market organizers, connecting with vendors on our market visits, and learning a shopper’s perspective. As a Farmers Market Specialist, this is a very special part of my role.
Vendor and shopper having a good time at the Brownsville Farmers Market during one of our visits.
The program “A Fresh Look at Your Farmers Market” collaborates with a group of amazing individuals that are doing work to fortify our food systems. As our program grows so do our connections with different folks, and the insight that we get to learn from each Farmers Market is abundant. We also get to see the amazing outcomes of our collective work that always bring us joy. Every success that we have as “A Fresh Look at Your Farmers Market,” is a reflection of the collective hard work of our TCLF team, partnering farmers markets and organizations we collaborate with.
At TCLF, we value these connections and want to continue to uplift them. In light of Farmers Market week, we want to express our gratitude and celebrate every single farmer, farmers market organizer, volunteer, and all organizations that are working very hard to nourish our food system.

Recently the National Farm to School Network Partners email list was buzzing with an ongoing list of short videos from excellent Farm to School projects from Vermont to Hawai’i,  and several places in between! TCLF is inspired by these innovative programs as we grow Farm to Kids Texas, and we want to share. Here’s a collection of video resources that highlight the valuable impact of Farm to School programs have on student achievement, community wellness, and local economies:

  • High School F2S students’ short documentary  “Vertically Challenged: Our Beef Industry And Their Struggle” from LaMoure North Dakota 
    • An award-winning mini documentary that demonstrates students’ fantastic in-depth understanding of the local food systems and the need for more vertical integration in the beef industry 
  • Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network and local Farm to School Programming created a feature on farmer Derrik Giffen 
    • Hear the story of one farmer’s experience using regenerative practices to raise beef to sell to the public and a local school district. 
    • More information on their project of sourcing local sustainable beef and how local beef won the students’ taste test
  • A series of farm to school videos from the Michigan Department of Education and partners
    • A fantastic series of short videos that covers a range of topics from school gardens to local food procurement, as well as a 10-minute long piece answering the question: “Why Farm to School” 
  • Four short videos from the Northeast Farm to School Collaborative
    • Videos featuring F2S students and small-scale farmers presenting how F2S programming helps them all thrive 
  • Curriculum videos from the Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation’s ʻĀINA In Schools program 
    • A variety of short and sweet cooking and gardening lesson videos that highlight hands-on learning

TCLF’s Farm-to-Kids Texas program just completed an exciting semester–our first one back since before the pandemic! Here are some of the highlights: 

Expanded Programming!

This year we taught Farm-to-Kids classes for the first time at the Intermediate and Middle School levels, in addition to our K-4 programming. With our upper grades, we explored more complex cooking techniques and dove deeper into understanding our local food systems. Next school year we are excited to expand even further by teaching High School classes as well! 

Farm Tour! 

Green Gate Farms in Austin, TX hosted our Elgin ISD students for a wonderful tour this April. Students learned about how all kinds of produce is grown, tasted nasturtium flowers and other new foods, and explored a 100+ year old barn. All the families on tour also got to take a share of fresh vegetables complete with a few signature Farm-to-Kids recipes.  

Veggie Boxes!

This Spring we distributed hundreds of boxes full of fresh produce from The Common Market Texas to Elgin ISD families with the help of the fabulous ACE team. Every box helped us further our goal of getting more Texas-grown veggies onto the plates of local students and their families.  

New Instructor and Curriculum Developer!

I (Anna Marie) joined the team in January as TCLF’s first full-time staff responsible for the Farm-to-Kids Texas program. This position has allowed me to combine my passions for education, cooking, and local food systems. It’s been a delight to get to know the students and ACE staff members who make this program possible and I’m looking forward to growing along with this project!

And of course…we loved our hands-on learning and plenty of delicious vegetables!

We at TCLF understand the importance of supporting the Texas food system. This means ensuring the economic vitality of local producers and promoting the entities that help them sell their products. With the Fresh Look at your Farmers Market program or SNAP Fresh Look, we are taking a strategic approach to increase SNAP sales of local producers at farmers markets across Texas. In the past, Texas SNAP sales at farmers markets have been astronomically low and we are working hard to change that.

Our efforts include:

  • Partnering with farmers markets that already accept SNAP and those that are working towards accepting SNAP. We provide them with one-on-one technical assistance to increase SNAP sales at their markets and help transition them to become SNAP authorized.
  • Developing regional marketing campaigns with support from Texas-Mexico Border Coalition and Grow North Texas. Our goal is to generate more awareness about farmers markets that currently accept SNAP and promote fresh fruits and vegetables by Texas producers to SNAP users.
  • Creating educational online TXFED.org courses focused on SNAP at farmers markets. These courses offer insight from fellow farmers market organizers about how to broaden their consumer base and start the process of accepting SNAP.

To stay up to date on the Fresh Look at the Farmers Market program, check out our new SNAP at Farmers Markets/SNAP Mercado de Agricultores webpages. Here you will find links to our SNAP Fresh Look farmers market partners, resources for SNAP recipients and farmers market affiliates, and information about joining the SNAP Fresh Look program. 

Here are some recent social media posts welcoming our SNAP Fresh Look partners!

TXFED Logo

It’s been a year since the public launch of TXFED.org. We’ve achieved so much together in our first year of operations, and we’re celebrating:

  • 443 students served
  • 8 courses delivered with closed captions and Spanish subtitles
  • 13 collaborators
  • 42 content contributors
  • 4.6 star rating

TXFED.org is available through any Internet-capable phone, laptop, or desktop, 24/7. The courses are accessible for most learning types; they include closed captions, Spanish subtitles, and screen-reader-friendly downloadable activities and worksheets.

TXFED.org is a Team Effort

Along with the Texas Center for Local Food, 13 collaborating organizations, and 42 content contributors share their experiences in the field of food and marketing.

Free for a Limited Time!

8 courses are free for a limited time. Enroll today!

Celebrate with Us!

Help us build a robust local food system in Texas and sustain this one-of-a-kind learning platform.

Send TXFED.org a tax-deductible birthday gift today!

Howdy all! I participated today in a virtual tour of an online set up for farmers markets in northeast Iowa. The customers order and pay online, the group aggregates from the various producers and delivers at the farmers markets. The system is convenient for lots of shoppers and seems to work best for non-weekend markets when customers are more in a hurry. It’s a new project and the folks in Iowa are learning a lot and they’re happy to share. Check them out and be sure to tell them Texas Local Food sent you at Curbside Markets!

Curbside Markets – northeast iowa

The Texas Center for Local Food team joined our peers at the Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association conference in Georgetown, TX. We hosted the 1st annual Texas Network of Farmers Markets Meet Up, led 4 TXFED.org sessions in person, facilitated a Farmers Discussing Farmers Market panel, and distributed information at our booth. It was a great experience to meet with our current collaborators, network with potential partners, and better understand the needs of food producers and market organizers we serve. Our time at the conference has further motivated our mission to create more market opportunities for local food producers & offer technical support to increase the exchange of food & money within Texas.

Texas Farmer & Rancher Conference, over crops image

Direct Marketing & TXFED.org

At this year’s Texas Hispanic Farmer & Rancher conference on Wednesday, January 12, TCLF’s Sue Beckwith will share information about TXFED.org and other programs specifically developed to help farmers succeed and thrive.

The conference is free, virtual, and there are stipend payments available to qualifying producers.

Sue’s session begins at 3 PM on Wednesday, January 12. You’ll learn:

  • Successful social media and other digital marketing tactics to boost your sales
  • How to access online marketing, pricing, and business courses through TXFED.org — free
  • Other programs and initiatives available to help your farm or farmers market sell more local food to Texans, their families, as well as local businesses such as schools

See you there!

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.