Are you a farmer creating value-added products from locally grown crops? We’re looking for farmers like you to share your experiences in a video interview for our online training for the Beyond Fresh Online project! 

We’ll discuss topics such as product development, storage & distribution, financial management, regulations, labels & packaging, sales strategies, market trends, and more. 

We have stipends to compensate you for your time!

Please fill out the contact form below and we’ll get in touch ASAP.


Howdy! I’m Jane Levan and I want to talk to you about locally grown in Texas, what’s happening right now, and how we can make it better for all of us.

One of the first questions new customers asked me when we sold our pastured chickens at a farmers market was “Why did you decide to become chicken farmers?”
My standard reply became “We were drinking heavily that night” because it was much snappier than saying “Some people buy sports  cars when they go through a mid-life crisis, some people pursue a favorite hobby but we became middle-aged pastured chickens farmers instead.”  That decision came partially by accident, partially because our growing awareness of the need for sustainable local farms and partially because we really wanted to do something that would allow us to earn a living while working together and doing something that was right for the land, right for our neighbors and right for us.

We never intended to become farmers when we bought 20 acres in Lee County Texas.
We’d moved to Austin for 17 years prior and the city was growing rapidly.
We lived off of Brodie Lane and our running joke was that we wanted to move to the country before the last little collection of goats in the field by our house became a shopping center.
We just made it. And we were very lucky in our timing.
The Hill Country west of Austin was becoming increasingly popular but east of Austin was not as fashionable an area yet.
Land was cheap in Lee County and Terry was self-employed which allowed him to be flexible.
He could base out here and drive to the city for service calls.
We did that for 8 years and it worked to pay the mortgage until it didn’t.
Terry was tired of constantly driving. He saw more of 290 and IH-35 than he did of our back pasture.
I was tired of trying to run the business from the house and tired of managing the farm-related chores all week.
We saw each other less than we did when we lived in Austin.
We needed a change but we still also needed to generate an income.
And then I read the article in the Smithsonian magazine about Joel Salatin and Polyface Farms one evening and that was our eureka moment.  Our land was not big enough to run cattle on and our fencing at the time wasn’t good enough to maintain sheep, pigs, or goats.
I had a big vegetable garden for our own consumption but I couldn’t imagine raising rows of tomato plants or spending hours picking off zucchini bugs.
We tried egg layers but washing and sorting the eggs was not really my cup of tea. I always maintained that a little chicken poop was just a testimony to the fact that our product was authentically pasture raised but that didn’t hold water with the health department regulations.
Pastured meat chickens seemed like the obvious solution and it was for 15 years during 6 of which we also ran a USDA-certified processing plant for other farmers. We stopped raising chickens and closed the plant in October of last year and I’ve had a lot of time since to think about the current state of the Texas local food movement recently.

I want to use this space to talk about the small farmers, the customers that support them, the effects of government regulations and programs that can be accessed to make small farms both more successful and accessible.

I want to talk the obstacles that new farmers face when they embark on this journey.
I want to talk about successful small local farmers and how they remain competitive in a really tough market.
I want to talk about programs available to help farmers grow and improve.
Farmers are really busy folk and marketing and sales are generally not their forte and when you’re a small local farmer you wear 100 different baseball caps.
Your first job is, of course, the raising of food but you also have to be an accountant, a delivery driver, an equipment engineer, a construction worker, a conservationist, an educator and a meteorologist.
Time is one of your most precious commodities and one that there never seems enough of.
And while farming becomes a little bit easier as you learn and grow, there are still only 24 hours in each day which limits the amount of time you can spend learning about the improvements that can make farming easier and increase your profitability, the State and Federal programs available to assist you, as well as community resources.
To say that we were overwhelmed when we began selling our chicken at the Sunset Valley farmers market back in 2008 would be an enormous understatement.
All of our energies were concentrated on raising, processing and transporting our finished birds to Austin.
There were no resources that I was aware of to assist us in evaluating our price structure, making valuable sales connections or even how to create an attractive booth to increase our customer sales.  TCLF to the rescue! Their webpage has great links for the neophyte as well as the experienced farmer.  They offer training on how to build sales and increase your market share on their educational platform

I also want to spend time discussing what we, the community, can do to support our local farmers.
It’s not easy, I know.
Farmers markets aren’t as convenient as grocery stores.
They’re only open a few days a week and they’re not temperature controlled.
Local produce and meats are seasonal and not always available.
They’re also usually more expensive.
It requires a commitment to learn how to cook what’s here and not what’s flown or trucked in from thousands of miles away.
I remember the lovely woman that purchased a whole chicken from my booth because her mother had brought one the week before and roasted it for a family dinner and she loved it.
She stood there after the sale and said “I don’t know what to do with this. I’ve never cooked a whole chicken before.”
All I could think of as a reply at the time was “Call your mother”, a suggestion that my customer loved and it made me aware of how so much of the simple art of cooking has been lost with the advent of processed foods and fast foods.

 Add to that the fact that so many families have both parents working, or are single parent families, with time and economic constraints.
Purchasing from a farmers market, joining a CSA, or driving to a farm to buy onsite requires dedication and we need to make it easier for all the people that want to eat healthy food here in Texas to access their choices.
TCLF promotes SNAP programs at farmers markets across Texas, making it easier for lower income families to purchase healthy, locally grown foods while increasing the sales of the farmers.
It’s a win-win solution.
To find a list of our partner farmers markets that accept SNAP benefits, click here:

Finally, I’d like to promote conversations about the resources that the U.S.D.A. and the Texas State Agricultural Program can provide for small producers. When we farmed, I was unaware of the programs available to help small Texas farmers succeed or how to even access them.   I felt that trying to negotiate what appeared as a labyrinth of government legal speak would be impossible especially since my window of opportunity to sit and focus on my computer only occurred at 5 am as I was having a cup of coffee while trying to organize everything else for my day or after everything else had been accomplished that evening.
TCLF helps to foster awareness of the existing agencies that can lend support to farmers and communities that want to eat healthy, local foods.

If you managed to stick with me this far, I know you care about where your food comes from and how it is grown.  I know that you want to help build a stronger, more sustainable food community where you live.
I welcome all feedback, suggestions, and questions that you may have.
Let’s work together to create sustainable local farms that are accessible and equitable for all the citizens of Texas.

Happy Birthday! After the 2nd year, has more than 1,000 students and 15 courses with an average 4.6 stars rating!  In collaboration with 13 organizations that serve Texas producers, and 75 content contributors sharing their expert insights, there is no other platform of its kind. In our 2nd year, released 7 exciting new courses, piloted our first community group, and created our first custom course bundle. 

Learn more and check out the TXFED Year 2 Report is available on any device, anywhere, anytime and is accessible for most learning types. All courses include closed captions, Spanish subtitles, and screen-reader friendly downloadable activities. The courses are free for a limited time, so enroll today at

You can send TXFED a birthday gift at!

April 10, 2023

Media Contact: Sue Beckwith
SueB (at)

ELGIN, TEXAS – The Texas Center for Local Food today announced this year’s “Fresh Look” partners – farmers markets in Texas that accept SNAP EBT, formerly known as “food stamps.” SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides food assistance to lower income households. The Texas Center for Local Food launched “A Fresh Look at Your Farmers Market” in 2021 to promote farmers markets that accept SNAP EBT. 

“Farmers markets are a critical link in our Texas food system, and lower income families have access to fresh, local food — but too many don’t know it — yet!” says Sue Beckwith, Texas Center for Local Food Executive Director. According to 2020 statistics from the USDA, Texas was second in the nation for SNAP benefits issued, but ranked nearly last in the percentage of SNAP funds used at farms and farmers markets. “Our ‘Fresh Look’ project makes Texas-grown, farm fresh produce more accessible to families shopping with SNAP benefits and helps small Texas farmers and ranchers too,” Beckwith said.

The spring growing season offers a great opportunity for families to purchase locally-grown produce at their local farmers markets, like carrots and leafy greens. Families can use their Lone Star Card to buy any SNAP eligible foods including produce, eggs, meat, bread, and more!  

These ‘Fresh Look’ partner farmers markets currently accept SNAP EBT, also known as Lone Star Cards. Farmers market hours are subject to change.

Central Texas

East Texas

North Texas

South Texas

West Texas

  • Bodega Loya (El Paso) Friday and Sunday 12-5pm, Saturday 10am-5pm

The Texas Center for Local Food was created by small farmers and ranchers in 2016 to strengthen the economic viability of Texas communities and family farms through local food economic development.  For more information, visit or contact Sue Beckwith at or 512-496-1244.

Data Points & Sources

  • In FY 2020, Texas ranked second in the nation in total SNAP benefits issued at $6.3 billion, second only to California.
    • SNAP $5 billion + Emergency Allotment $1.3 billion 
    • The $6.3 billion total includes regular SNAP issuance and additional emergency allotment COVID relief funds. Emergency allotments ended in March 2023 for all SNAP recipients in Texas.
  • In FY 2020, Texas ranked 47th in SNAP redemption at farms and farmers markets as a percentage of total SNAP redemption for the state (.0030%).

10 de abril de 2023

Contacto con los medios: Jesús Reyes
Texas Mexico/Border Coalition, CBO
info (at)

ELGIN, TEXAS – El Texas Center for Local Food anunció hoy a los socios del programa “Fresh Look” de este año: mercados de agricultores en Texas que aceptan SNAP EBT, anteriormente conocidos como “estampillas de alimentos”. SNAP es el Programa de asistencia nutricional suplementario, que brinda asistencia alimentaria a los hogares de bajos ingresos. El Texas Center for Local Food lanzó “Una nueva mirada a su mercado de agricultores” o “A Fresh Look at Your Farmers Market” en 2021 para promover los mercados de agricultores que aceptan SNAP EBT.

“Los mercados de agricultores son un vínculo fundamental en nuestro sistema alimentario de Texas, y las familias de bajos ingresos tienen acceso a alimentos locales frescos, ¡pero muchos aún no lo saben!” dice Sue Beckwith, Directora Ejecutiva del Texas Center for Local Food. Según las estadísticas de 2020 del USDA, Texas ocupó el segundo lugar en la nación por los beneficios de SNAP emitidos, pero ocupó el último lugar en el porcentaje de fondos de SNAP utilizados en granjas y mercados de agricultores. “Nuestro proyecto ‘Fresh Look’ hace que los productos agrícolas frescos cultivados en Texas sean más accesibles para las familias que compran con los beneficios de SNAP y también ayuda a los pequeños agricultores y ganaderos de Texas”, dijo Beckwith.

La temporada de cultivo de primavera ofrece una gran oportunidad para que las familias compren productos cultivados localmente en los mercados de agricultores locales, como zanahorias y otras verduras. ¡Las familias pueden usar su tarjeta Lone Star para comprar alimentos elegibles para SNAP como verduras, huevos, carne, pan y más!

Estos mercados de agricultores asociados a ‘Fresh Look’ actualmente aceptan SNAP EBT igual conocido como su tarjeta Lone Star. Los horarios del mercado de agricultores están sujetos a cambios.

Centro de Texas

Este de Texas

Norte de Texas

Sur de Texas

Oeste de Texas

  • Bodega Loya (El Paso) viernes y domingo 12-5pm, sábado 10am-5pm 

El Centro de Alimentos Locales de Texas fue creado por pequeños agricultores y ganaderos en 2016 para fortalecer la viabilidad económica de las comunidades y granjas familiares de Texas a través del desarrollo económico de alimentos locales. Para obtener más información, visite o comuníquese con Jesus Reyes a o 956-298-0708.

Puntos de datos y fuentes

  • En el año fiscal 2020, Texas ocupó el segundo lugar en la nación en el total de beneficios SNAP emitidos con $6.3 mil millones, solo superado por el estado de California.
    • SNAP $5 mil millones + Asignación de emergencia $1.3 mil millones
    • El total de $6.3 mil millones incluye la emisión regular de SNAP y fondos adicionales de ayuda de asignación de emergencia por COVID. Las asignaciones de emergencia terminaron en marzo de 2023 para todos los beneficiarios de SNAP en Texas.
  • En el año fiscal 2020, Texas ocupó el puesto 47 en el canje de SNAP en granjas y mercados de agricultores como porcentaje del canje total de SNAP para el estado (.0030 %).

Our Farm-to-Kids students love learning how to prepare fresh Texas vegetables in new and exciting ways. We love supporting Texas Farmers Market and farms in the area (including Vermillion Farms, VRDNT, Hamilton Pools, Growtopia, Bouldin Creek Food Forest)  to get fresh food into our classrooms. Two highlights this spring have been Simple Carrot Salad and Rainbow Spring Rolls. Find recipes for these student favorites below! 

It’s been an exciting month at TCLF! We’re delighted to share that Grow Local Farmers Market, a Fresh Look partner in Corpus Christi, is officially launching SNAP acceptance on Wednesday, March 1, 2023!

The Grow Local Farmers Market is a project of Grow Local South Texas, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the community’s quality of life, vitality, and exemplifying healthy living. By accepting SNAP at the farmers market, they are increasing access to healthy local food for all families in their community.

In addition, shoppers who use SNAP at Grow Local Farmers Market will receive up to $20 in matching funds to spend on SNAP-eligible foods, while funds last. Funding for this program is provided by Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, Inc.

Grow Local Farmers Market is open every Wednesday from 5:00-8:00 PM at the Art Center of Corpus Christi (100 N. Shoreline Boulevard, Corpus Christi, TX 78401).

Read more about Grow Local Farmers Market’s work in this article from KZTV10, or watch a report from KIIITV3 News.

Interested in accepting SNAP at your farmers market? Contact the Fresh Look team here, and we’ll be in touch.

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.

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, 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.