Latest News

TCLF is a proud sponsor of the TOFGA 2023 Conference on January 29th – 31st in Mesquite, TX!

We are hosting the News Media Training with Green Gate Farms as a FREE pre-conference workshop on Sunday, January 29th from 1:00pm – 4:00pm. Register here

We are also hosting the very first Farmers Market Manager Track on Monday, January 30th with a session on How to Create a Welcoming Farmers Market for SNAP Shoppers, a mini-keynote presentation from the Farmers Market Coalition, and a session on Accepting SNAP at Your Farmers Market. TCLF is committed to creating market opportunities for local food producers and by inviting and integrating farmers market staff at the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association conference there will be promising network opportunities to recruit vendors and ultimately increase the sales of Texas grown produce.

TCLF will also be presenting Making Money at the Farmers Market and Optimizing Your Farmers Market TXFED.org courses as sessions on Monday, January 30th and Tuesday, January 31st. We are grateful for our TXFED collaborators from Farmshare Austin, UTRGV Rural Cooperative Center, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, and Central Texas Young Farmers Coalition who will be supporting this programming.

In collaboration with HOPE for Small Farm Sustainability, Sue Beckwith will be leading the Beyond Fresh Info Session on Tuesday, January 31st.

Come meet the full TCLF team, visit our booth to learn more about our projects, and join our sessions at TOFGA this year! We look forward to networking and being in community with y’all!

Registration is open until the Monday, January 30th

Our Fall session of Farm-to-Kids has come to a close, and we’d like to share with you how it went!

Lesson Highlights

Farm-to-Kids students continued a hands-on learning exploration of local food through several cooking activities this fall. Some class favorites included making Rainbow Veggie Spring Rolls and Local Honey Seed Snacks. Students also participated in the Great Apple Taste Test where we used the 5 senses to understand differences among varieties of a familiar fruit. We are happy to have had the opportunity to source our lesson ingredients from several local farms and farmers markets.

Farm Tour

To celebrate the season, Evergreen Farms hosted our ACE students and families for a “Pumpkin Hunt” in October. Students and their families got to play games and take home pumpkins from the farm while enjoying a beautiful fall day in Elgin.

Student Feedback

This teaching session we issued a student survey at the end of our 6 weeks of programming together. We were delighted to hear that students across grade levels learned more about their food, gained cooking skills and (most importantly!) had fun in our classes. We are looking forward to more Farm-to-Kids fun in 2023!

We are absolutely delighted with the response to our new online training system, TXFED.org. That’s the TeXas Food Education and Discovery network! This fabulous program is funded by USDA Agricultural Marketing Services to support direct sales by farmers at farmers markets and other direct sales outlets. We also have classes on How To Create a Welcoming Farmers Market for SNAP Shoppers which is a bit hit across the nation! This is just the beginning of a new way of learning together – and we’re off to a great start.

Fall is here, which means we are back in the classroom with our Farm-to-Kids students! This year we have even more hands-on fun planned with our Elgin ISD students.


Every time we meet a new group of students, our first lesson revolves around seeds. We learn about what they need to grow, how seeds contain all the information to turn into a new plant, and that some seeds are delicious to eat! This week, we learned about the plant life cycle through an interpretive dance activity and played the Seed Match Mystery Game, where students discovered which seeds grow into which vegetables. Then, we end class with making a dish that contains several types of seeds: Bean Confetti! Students are always excited to learn that black beans and sweet corn are two different types of seeds! This week’s bean confetti featured cilantro grown by Margaret’s Farm that we got from the SFC Farmers Market.

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!