News

Howdy all! I participated today in a virtual tour of an online set up for farmers markets in northeast Iowa. The customers order and pay online, the group aggregates from the various producers and delivers at the farmers markets. The system is convenient for lots of shoppers and seems to work best for non-weekend markets when customers are more in a hurry. It’s a new project and the folks in Iowa are learning a lot and they’re happy to share. Check them out and be sure to tell them Texas Local Food sent you at Curbside Markets!

Curbside Markets – northeast iowa

The Texas Center for Local Food team joined our peers at the Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association conference in Georgetown, TX. We hosted the 1st annual Texas Network of Farmers Markets Meet Up, led 4 TXFED.org sessions in person, facilitated a Farmers Discussing Farmers Market panel, and distributed information at our booth. It was a great experience to meet with our current collaborators, network with potential partners, and better understand the needs of food producers and market organizers we serve. Our time at the conference has further motivated our mission to create more market opportunities for local food producers & offer technical support to increase the exchange of food & money within Texas.

Texas Farmer & Rancher Conference, over crops image

Direct Marketing & TXFED.org

At this year’s Texas Hispanic Farmer & Rancher conference on Wednesday, January 12, TCLF’s Sue Beckwith will share information about TXFED.org and other programs specifically developed to help farmers succeed and thrive.

The conference is free, virtual, and there are stipend payments available to qualifying producers.

Sue’s session begins at 3 PM on Wednesday, January 12. You’ll learn:

  • Successful social media and other digital marketing tactics to boost your sales
  • How to access online marketing, pricing, and business courses through TXFED.org — free
  • Other programs and initiatives available to help your farm or farmers market sell more local food to Texans, their families, as well as local businesses such as schools

See you there!

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