News

The Texas Center for Local Food (TCLF) is collaborating with Coy Poitier, Chairman of the USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Dallas Urban County Committee, to explore a series of webinars about how Texas farmers and ranchers can benefit from participating in USDA programs. One of our goals is to highlight small, urban, and historically underserved producers who have successfully accessed technical or financial assistance from USDA.

Register today and please share with other farmers – experienced, new, and aspiring farmers are welcome!

FSA Farm Loan Opportunities – May 8, 2024 – 6:00 – 7:30 PM CST

Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvf–prjIqHNJybYGzOIVI27ax6gzY9wpc

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is a USDA agency that provides farm loans, disaster assistance, and much more. FSA loan programs can be a powerful tool to help you start or grow your farm business, but can seem daunting.

Join us in this webinar to learn about FSA farm loan opportunities with a particular focus on Farm Ownership, Farm Operating, and Microloan programs. You’ll hear from an FSA representative and three Texas farmers/ranchers on their experience working with FSA farm loans.

Bring your questions!

P.S. You need a farm number to access FSA loans. Check out the recording from our first USDA program webinar to learn more: https://www.txfed.org/courses/fsa-farm-numbers-what-why-and-how

A digital flyer for the webinar event. It provides the same details and adds that the webinar will be about FSA operating loans, ownership loans, and microloans, as well as USDA county committees. The facilitators are Coy Poitier & Fred Henderson. The speakers are Norma Morales, Joshua Coleman, Shakera Raygoza, and Alvaro Saucedo.

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.

The Texas Center for Local Food (TCLF) is collaborating with Coy Poitier, Chairman of the USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Dallas Urban County Committee, to explore a series of webinars about how Texas farmers and ranchers can benefit from participating in USDA programs. One of our goals is to highlight small, urban, and historically underserved producers who have successfully accessed technical or financial assistance from USDA.

Register today and please share with other farmers – experienced, new, and aspiring farmers are welcome!

FSA Farm Loan Opportunities – May 8, 2024 – 6:00 – 7:30 PM CST

Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvf–prjIqHNJybYGzOIVI27ax6gzY9wpc

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is a USDA agency that provides farm loans, disaster assistance, and much more to provide a “safety net” for farmers and ranchers nationwide. FSA loan programs can be a powerful tool to help you start or grow your farm business, but can seem daunting.

Join us in this webinar to learn about FSA farm loan opportunities with a particular focus on Farm Ownership, Farm Operating, and Microloan programs. You’ll hear from an FSA representative and three Texas farmers/ranchers on their experience working with FSA farm loans.

Bring your questions!

P.S. You need a farm number to access FSA loans. Check out the recording from our first USDA program webinar to learn more: https://www.txfed.org/courses/fsa-farm-numbers-what-why-and-how

A digital flyer for the webinar event. It provides the same details and adds that the webinar will be about FSA operating loans, ownership loans, and microloans, as well as USDA county committees. The facilitators are Coy Poitier & Fred Henderson. The speakers are Norma Morales, Joshua Coleman, Shakera Raygoza, and Alvaro Saucedo.

Working with NRCS – Conservation Planning & EQIP – April 17, 2024 – 6:00 – 7:30 PM CST

Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0kduqrqDIsHdG545vGbpcwhxU3WXudBzAY#/registration

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is a USDA agency that provides technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers throughout the country. Conservation planning is the first step to begin working with NRCS and their Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is often the first financial assistance program agricultural producers apply to.

Join us in this webinar to learn about these two popular programs from NRCS. We’ll hear from an NRCS Texas Urban Conservationist and 3 Texas farmers/ranchers who will share their experiences working with the agency.

Bring your questions!

P.S. You need a farm number to access NRCS resources. Check out the recording from our first USDA program webinar to learn more: https://www.txfed.org/courses/fsa-farm-numbers-what-why-and-how

Coming Soon…

  • FSA Farm Loan Opportunities
  • RMA Programs for Small & Urban Farms

Previous Webinars:

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!

The Texas Center for Local Food (TCLF) is collaborating with Coy Poitier, Chairman of the USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Dallas Urban County Committee, to explore a series of webinars about how Texas farmers and ranchers can benefit from participating in USDA programs. One of our goals is to highlight small, urban, and historically underserved producers who have successfully accessed technical or financial assistance from USDA.

Register today and please share with other farmers – experienced, new, and aspiring farmers are welcome!

Working with NRCS – Conservation Planning & EQIP – April 17, 2024 – 6:00 – 7:30 PM CST

Register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0kduqrqDIsHdG545vGbpcwhxU3WXudBzAY#/registration

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is a USDA agency that provides technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers throughout the country. Conservation planning is the first step to begin working with NRCS and their Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is often the first financial assistance program agricultural producers apply to.

Join us in this webinar to learn about these two popular programs from NRCS. We’ll hear from an NRCS Texas Urban Conservationist and 2-3 Texas farmers/ranchers who will share their experiences working with the agency.

Bring your questions!

P.S. You need a farm number to access NRCS resources. Check out the recording from our first USDA program webinar to learn more: https://www.txfed.org/courses/fsa-farm-numbers-what-why-and-how

A flyer for the NRCS webinar on April 17, 2024 featuring a photo of a butterfly on bee balm flowers. The flyer provides some additional information beyond the blog post. First, it shows that the webinar will cover two programs: Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). It also lists the  planned speakers: Coy Poitier, Fred Henderson, Michael Brooks, Ty and Tokie Morgan, and Kay Bell.

Coming Soon…

  • FSA Farm Loan Opportunities
  • RMA Programs for Small & Urban Farms

PREVIOUS WEBINARS:

FSA Farm Numbers: What, Why & How – March 6, 2024 – 6:00 – 7:00 PM CST

Recording: https://www.txfed.org/courses/fsa-farm-numbers-what-why-and-how

A farm number from USDA is the gateway to many public programs that can help grow, improve, and aid your farm or ranch in times of need. If you’re interested in working with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) or Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), you’ll need to get a farm number! 

In this online community meeting, we’ll hear from an FSA representative on the benefits and process of getting a farm number, and three Texas farm businesses who have used farm numbers to access technical and financial resources for their farms. We’ll leave plenty of time for Q&A, so come ready with questions.

We’ll update this page with new webinars as we plan them. Stay tuned by following us at @TexasLocalFood on Instagram or Facebook.

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.