Over the weekend I participated in Edible Austin, Eat Local Week, a winter fundraiser event for Urban Roots. The Urban Roots project is “a youth development program that uses sustainable agriculture as a means to transform the lives of young people and to increase the access of healthy food in Austin. This season farm interns have raised over 25,136 pounds of produce —donating 40% of that to hunger relief and selling 60% at farmers’ markets and farm stands run by the farm interns.” The weeklong event started with the URBAN FARM BICYCLE TOUR, this is where I came in.
When you think of farming you automatically think of open fields, large irrigation systems, and tractors. Not the case here. Tucked away in the center of Austin is a wonderful collection of farmers markets, farms, and community gardens. The farms sizes run anywhere from a double lot to 5 acres and grow over 30 different types of vegetables. For example the Springdale Farm is currently growing: chives, marjoram, thyme, sage, fennel, lavendar, oregano, winter squash, eggplant, collard greens, mustard greens, asian greens, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, beets, sugar snap peas, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, lima beans, onions, swiss chard, kale, lettuce, rutabaga, turnips, brussels sprouts, fava beans, endive, lemongrass, snow peas, and shallots.
The farms are surrounded by housing subdivisions, schools, and commercial enterprises. Many of the farms offer CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) memberships. Each week CSA members receive a box of produce picked fresh from the field and delivered to convenient pick up sites around town. Members will have their produce within hours of being harvested. All of the farms offer produce for sale on the farm and in the farmer’s markets around town.
We started our ride at the Triangle Farmer’s Market and visited 6 farms. Each offered a sampling of the produce or dishes made with the produce. This was not a sporting event, I’m pretty sure you can’t even qualify it as exercise with the frequent stops and the amount of food we consumed. It would qualify as educational, informative, but most of all a family event. Any time you are able to bring family and extended family together to enjoy perfect weather, common interests, and each other, it binds you a little closer and you appreciate each for their own attributes. We talked, poked fun, laughed, shared stories, and over all had a great time.
Eat local and explore the world with your family!
Farm Tour Stops