The Food Justice Mini Grant Program to award 20 community-driven projects that empower people to grow, sell, and eat good food.
The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability has launched a new mini grant program focused on food justice, which offers up to $3,000 in grant funding to projects supporting people in our community most negatively impacted by food-related injustice. The program intends to provide flexible support for organizations leading transformational change in how our food is produced, sold, and consumed.
The Office of Sustainability received project proposals that improve access to healthy food for underserved communities and address the structural inequities that lead to disparate health and economic outcomes. The grant will fund projects such as community-based “free fridges” that provide free groceries, paid opportunities for underrepresented communities in edible education and journalism, and gardening workshops by and for people of color.
One organization that will receive funding is Black Lives Veggies, which teaches sustainable and organic gardening skills to people of all incomes. “I was always smart, but I didn’t have many opportunities. I never fit the mold of the basketball player or rapper that I was told to be,” said Larry Franklin, Black Lives Veggies Founder. “I felt limited because I didn’t fit those categories and was always bored. Today, with Black Lives Veggies, we put a spin on gardening like it’s basketball — we make it cool to grow vegetables.”
While most of the awardees were established before the most recent disruptions to the food system, some manifested in direct response to the spike in food insecurity caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Winter Storm Uri. Out Youth will provide grocery gift card assistance to Black members of the trans community. Communities of Color United for Racial Justice will use the funding to pay current volunteers to expand deliveries of healthy, culturally appropriate food and essential items to households that have been displaced.
“Food injustice in our community is real. No one in a city as wealthy as Austin should be going hungry,” said the City’s Chief Sustainability Officer Lucia Athens. “We are thrilled to offer support to these groups that are improving access to food in our community.”
Organizations will report back on the impact of their projects in early Summer 2022.
The complete list of grant recipients include:
- African American Youth Harvest Foundation
- ATX Free Fridge Project Dove Springs
- Austin Area Urban League
- Book Boosters – The Kitchen Diva Health Outreach
- Black Leaders Collective
- Black Lives Veggies
- BRAVE Communities
- Communities of Color United for Racial Justice
- Drive a Senior, Austin
- El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission
- Freedman's Community/Freedman Eats
- Good Apple
- Multicultural Refugee Coalition
- Out Youth
- PEAS (Partners for Education, Agriculture, and Sustainability)
- Prep to Your Door
- Project Liferaft
- Sunday Lunchbox
- The Austin Common
About the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability
Austin’s Office of Sustainability works to ensure a thriving, equitable, and ecologically resilient community by providing leadership, influencing positive action through engagement, and creating measurable benefits for Austin. The Office works to achieve net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, a healthy and just local food system, resource-efficient strategies for municipal operations, tangible projects that demonstrate sustainability, and a resilient and adaptive city. Find out more at austintexas.gov/sustainability.