Latest News

TCLF is hiring! This temporary, remote position is an excellent opportunity for recent graduates to gain hands-on experience, mentorship, and the chance to shape the future of sustainable agriculture with flexibility.

We’re looking for an enthusiastic individual to work 20 hours a week from May – September to promote the Beyond Fresh Online series of courses on value-added products on TXFED.org. Pay starts at $20/hr with potential raise to $25.

Apply today!

Review the job description here.

Email your resume, cover letter, and a writing sample to AskMe@TexasLocalFood.org.

At the Texas Center for Local Food (TCLF), we’re dedicated to fostering equitable local food systems while ensuring farmers can earn a decent living from farming year after year. Our initiative, “A Fresh Look at Your Farmers Market” SNAP-Ed Program, seeks proposals from qualified organizations to increase access to locally-grown fruits and vegetables at farmers markets among SNAP shoppers in Brownsville and Harlingen, Texas. SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is the largest and most successful anti-hunger program in the U.S. and helps boost local economies when shoppers use their benefits with local food producers. 

Project Overview

The chosen contractor will collaborate closely with TCLF Farmers Market Specialists to engage SNAP recipients within a 30-minute radius of Brownsville and Harlingen. With a $10,000 budget, we aim to reach 5,000 unique SNAP recipients, distributing educational materials, participating in monthly outreach events, fostering community partnerships, and providing feedback to TCLF staff.

Desired Qualifications

We seek bilingual (English and Spanish) contractors with experience in serving SNAP beneficiaries and conducting outreach in the targeted regions. Alignment with TCLF’s mission and goals as well as collaborative communication are essential. Our ideal candidate shares our vision of equitable food systems and is committed to empowering communities through access to nutritious, locally sourced produce. Successful candidates will demonstrate initiative, a spirit for innovation, and high levels of reporting and evaluation transparency. 

Submission Details

Please review the Request for Proposals document. Interested parties are invited to submit proposals to Yelitza Garcia (Yelitza@TexasLocalFood.org), detailing qualifications, proposed strategies, and references from previous projects. Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis until a contractor is selected.

Join Us in Making a Difference

At TCLF, we’re driven by the belief that everyone deserves access to fresh, healthy food. By partnering with farmers markets and dedicated organizations, we can make this vision a reality. Together, let’s empower SNAP recipients, support local agriculture, and build stronger, healthier communities. We eagerly anticipate your proposals as we embark on this journey of positive change.

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. 

Sanger, a small town in Denton County, is not what most folks picture when they hear the term “food desert.” That phrase connotes big cities, not small towns–especially in Denton County with its many food producers: farmers, ranchers, bakers, and other small food businesses.

But despite these numerous producers, Sanger doesn’t have a grocery store with consistent access to fresh produce. And many of the choices that do exist are national chains, which funnel money out of the community and away from small businesses.

Amber Whitworth-Spigner and a team of volunteers started the Downtown Sanger Farmers Market in 2022 to help alleviate both problems. They aim to support small food producers and the Sanger community. “This market was inspired by the people who will stand in the cold and in the rain to support their families and keep the food on the table no matter what the circumstances,” Amber said. 

Even though they’re all volunteers and no one is getting paid for this work, the market team continues to identify needs in the community and expand the work that they’re doing in response.

The Downtown Sanger market is open every other weekend on both Saturdays and Sundays with varying hours to make sure as many folks as possible can make it to the market, rather than the usual Saturday-morning-only model. 

The market is also going to start accepting SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) when they reopen for the season in March–another initiative to make sure as many Sanger residents as possible can take advantage of what the market has to offer. Amber and her husband are also working to start a second market in Valley View, another community with low food access.

“We want to be there for the community,” Amber said. “Having a place in town to shop locally-made or locally-grown items is a privilege that not many have.”

The Downtown Sanger Farmers Market market brings farmers, ranchers, and local producers together with local consumers of the Sanger and surrounding communities. The market is open the first and third weekends of the month from mid-March through early December, on Saturdays from 9 AM-1 PM and on Sundays from 10 AM-2 PM. 

The 2024 market season opens on March 16–click here for more details!

Farmers Market managers convened in San Antonio during the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (TOFGA) Conference on January 29, 2024 for the 3rd annual Farmers Market Track meetup and market-focused sessions.

Nino Budabin McQuown, the Farmers Market Coalition Food Access Project Manager, broke down 2022 data on national farmers market statistics and highlighted specific impacts in Texas. Check out Nino’s recorded presentation with a free login and enrollment at TXFED.org.

TCLF’s Anna Wright Smith taught a course on how to accept SNAP, and the Sustainable Food Center’s Wanda Hernandez and Jeanette Castañón shared about nutrition incentives and how they work. Yelitza Garcia of TCLF led market leaders in “How to Make your Market Welcoming to SNAP Shoppers,” featuring excellent advice and tools from Liz Shafer of Texas Farmers’ Markets.

MarketLink and FNS joined us at TOFGA for the first time this year, approving 4 farms and 2 markets to receive the EBT equipment grant and start accepting SNAP!

We hope you’ll join us next year at the TOFGA Conference!

Don’t miss out, are you interested in accepting SNAP at your farmers market? Join us for an information session on Wednesday, February 28 at 5:30 PM Central. Register for the webinar on Zoom and prepare your questions. We can’t wait to see you there!

Visit our Community page to join the Texas Network of Farmers Markets: https://texaslocalfood.org/community/

Our farmers market services project, A Fresh Look at Your Farmers Market, strengthens SNAP programs at Texas farmers markets. Accepting SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) boosts farmers’ profits and increases community access to fresh, healthy local food.

Working alongside our Fresh Look partner markets, TCLF has achieved the following results this year so far.

Interested in accepting SNAP at your farmers market? Already accept SNAP and want to increase your vendors’ SNAP sales? Fill out the Fresh Look interest form, and a member of our team will be in touch soon.

All of our Farm-to-Kids recipes are now organized on a new webpage! You’ll find sweet treats like Texas Peach Jam and savory dishes like fresh pesto sauce that may help you incorporate more locally grown produce into your home cooking. Inspiring youth to eat seasonally and locally is one of the goals of Farm-to-Kids Texas; simple recipes like these make reaching that goal easy and delicious. We love getting creative in the classroom and seeing what works well with our K-8 students. These recipes are classroom favorites, and maybe they’ll become some of your favorites too! Find them all here

Screen shot of Farm-to-Kids Recipe Page, includes list of recipe titles at the top and 6 oval shaped photos of students making different foods during class
  • We take individual responsibility for our actions.
  • We take initiative and can work independently.
  • We hold each other accountable.
  • We are transparent and share progress reports on our work.
  • We accept constructive criticism and compliments. we practice grace.
  • We ask ourselves “What is here for me to learn?“.
  • We strive for progress. We report accomplishments.
  • We first try to answer questions ourselves and then we ask questions.
  • We help each other.
  • We respect each other’s time & capacity.
  • We are well-prepared for meetings.
  • We rehearse presentations, especially for people outside of TCLF; we are polished in our presentations even if they’re just a quick update.
  • We present ourselves physically in our attire according to the situation.  Example: We are a little more dressed up when meeting with folks outside of TCLF. When we go to an in person meeting at a school, we are dressed to school dress codes.
  • We never forget that if we are serving our primary customer, Texas sustainable and organic farmers and ranchers, we will be successful.
  • We never forget that taxpayers fund most of our work and we owe them excellent value for their investment in us.
  • We work at the center, not the edges.  We focus on the outcomes and impact.
  • We work within our sphere of influence.
  • We are prompt and show up for others fully present.
  • We work smarter, not harder and are time-efficient in achieving our tasks.
  •  We don’t reinvent the wheel and leverage pre-existing resources.
  • We focus on doing the right thing as well as doing things right.
  • We create a safe space for honest communication; if there is an issue, directly speak to with those involved.
  • We value collaborative work.
  • We strive to listen actively. 

The Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) Young Farmer Grant application is open now through October 11, 2023. This grant opens two times per year and is an excellent opportunity for Texas farmers between 18 and 45 years young. There are very few *true* grant opportunities for for-profit farmers in Texas, and this one allows you to fund operational supplies, livestock, seeds/plants, labor, contract work, equipment (TDA will cover up to $5k), and more. The minimum request is $5k and maximum is $20k.

I’ve worked on several of these applications with farmers the past few years. Here are a few things to consider if you want to apply:

  • Funders love projects with specific goals, tasks, and timelines. And in this case, TDA wants to see that you have a specific project that will increase your farm’s production in terms of acreage planted, number of animals, yield, etc.
  • This grant is best for farmers with some sales and/or production history. It’s not required! But since TDA wants to fund commercial and not hobby farms, having a Schedule F (or other agricultural income tax form) or other production history documents will be a benefit to your application during review.
  • It is a 1:1 matching grant. In other words, if you request $10k from TDA, you have to “match” that with your own $10k. There is some flexibility around how you can provide match – it’s project dependent and we’re happy to chat with you more about it. While match can feel discouraging, the thing to keep in mind is… if you know you’re going to spend, for example, $10k on a specific project this year on your farm… why not apply to the grant and try to get 50% of that covered?
  • The grant is reimbursement based. You will have to cover costs of the project up front and then submit receipts to get funding. TDA knows things won’t always line up exactly to the penny if you’re awarded; it’s most about being in communication and getting approval for major changes!

To learn more, visit TDA’s webpage and read the Request for Grant Application. You can also watch a recorded presentation below about the grant by TDA’s Kat Neilson, who partnered with the Central Texas Young Farmers Coalition to host a virtual info session last year.

If you’d like to talk to someone at TCLF about applying and getting assistance with your application, then please submit an intake form with us!

TDA Young Farmer Grant Info Session – April 2022