News

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.
  • Tthe % of SNAP benefits redeemed at farmers’ markets is almost 0 (0.003%), ranking Texas 47th in the country.(including DC, 47th excluding DC)
  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.

Hello food system folks!
Do people tell you that you’re pleasant to work with, competent, and a dedicated worker?  If so, then one (1) of our four (4) open positions in Texas may be a good match for you. All are full-time.  Please share with others too!

We have three (3) positions to support farmers markets across Texas to increase sales of Texas-grown fruits and vegetables to SNAP shoppers. These farmers market support positions are all remote and will require travel within Texas. Texas residents and those willing to relocate to Texas are preferred; (no relocation costs are paid.)

We have one (1) Education Specialist position to lead the Farm-to-Kids Texas after school program in Elgin, TX and support online course development for adult learners with TXFED.org. This position requires in person work in Elgin, TX and travel within central TX.

If you think we might be a good match together, please apply today!
https://apply.workable.com/texas-center-for-local-food/
We appreciate you sharing with colleagues.  Let’s keep building a stronger food system.

My co-workers and I found or co-created this sequence in the 1990’s when we were facilitating workshops for child and youth program teachers and administrators. I do not know the source but find the awareness helpful in understanding miscommunication and the need to actively listen. 

– Jules Assata

  1. What the speaker intends to say
  2. What the speaker actually says; what words come out of their mouth
  3. What the receiver hears~ environmental influences on what gets heard (cars, wind, noises)
  4. What the receiver believes the speaker intended to say with their words ~ personal culture and bias influence what someone believes another person meant
  5. What the receiver intends to express in return
  6. The words the receiver actually says; what comes out of their mouth
  7. What the first person hears~ environmental influences
  8. What the first person believes the receiver intended to say with their words

At any point miscommunication may occur, which is why it is so important to;

Consider your words carefully before speaking

Understand how impediments and personal culture impact what others hear and what it means to them

Make sure you’ve actually heard the words the speaker intended to say~ active listening~ 

repeat back and check that you heard right

Make sure you understand the intention the speaker has for what they said~ active listening, 

“Did you mean…?”~ gives the speaker an opportunity to review, clarify, adjust

Give each other the benefit of the doubt; be sure you understand before responding, reacting

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.

Here’s a developing list of resources related to creating virtual farm tours and other farm events.

Virtual Farm & Food Experiences webinar. Univ of Vermont and International Workshop on AgriTourism. Visit the latter for more webinars. Sponsored by Yonder, a new agritourism and farm stay platform. Also see the resources from the webinar: Eleanor Leger, Eden Specialty Ciders, Vermont, USA and Caroline Millar, Balkello Farm and Go Rural, Dundee, Scotland.

Pony Power Therapies in New Jersey. Webinar recording of farm tour.

This is our list of our bests for 2020.. we begin this blog post on Dec 7 and will add to it as we approach year end..

Best Report: The Food system: Concentration & Its Impacts by a respected group of authors including our own Douglas Constance from Sam Houston State University. Report presentation video.

Best Books we read: Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas. Gratitude to the National Good Food Leadership Network book club for including this book. Grain by Grain, another winner by Elizabeth Carlisle with Bob Quinn takes the reader through the long process to establish sound, durable businesses based on values of nutrition and retention of footways that are good for people and planet.

Best Virtual Conference: Mission Capital Data Institute Conference. The combination of pre-recorded 15m sessions coupled with 45m live sessions was a lively experience. This is one of the few conferences where I went back and viewed recordings of sessions I’d missed. The main benefit was the relevant topics including How to Make An Infographic and How to Use Pivot Tables in Excel. The agenda was laid out clearly and it was pretty easy find sessions. I found myself rushing a bit from session to session – not that different from in person life. -SB

Best New Way to Think About Food System VisionFood System Vision Prize Themes from OpenIDEO When we look at our work from different perspectives, we see more open doors to creating the new food system we want. (1) Traditional Wisdom & Practices (2) Community-informed Policy (3) Hyper-localization (4) Human-first Technology.

Best Indicators of a Shift in Academic Thinking About Food Systems – National Academy of Sciences workshop “Healthy People, Healthy Planet: Building a More Sustainable, Resilient, Equitable, and Nourishing Food System – A Workshop“, July 2020. The introduction by Dr. Patrick Stover, Dean Texas A&M AgriLife describes changed expectations of our food systems shifting to a more systemic analysis focused on long term health and environmental impact. Dr. Stover draws on the 2015 report, “A Framework For Assessing Impacts of the Food System” as the basis for this shift in expectations. Dr. Ricardo Salvador of the Union of Concerned Scientists walks through one example (among many) of COVID-19 among meat packing plant workers to demonstrate that scientists cannot legitimately address food as system without considering work welfare. Watch the videos here. Stover Salvador

Best New Government Resource – The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Transportation and Marketing Program webinars and resource listings during COVID-19 have been excellent resources, highlighting outstanding COVID responses for us all to leverage across the nation. The website design highlights sharing of the multitude of local food resources offered and gathered by this critical front line agency.

Local Food As Economic DevelopmentWorking Landscapes video. Food processing for schools and rural communities in Warren County, North Carolina. Worth a watch for economic development professionals! they used in depth participatory process called “Community Voice“.