Food is at the heart of just about everything in life. Food is a necessity. Food is family. It enables connection through a shared language. Food is comfort.
Unlike many other parts of Chicago, the Austin community is uniquely faced with a variety of challenges stemming from decades of systemic inequalities, disinvestment and discrimination. Of these challenges, access to healthy food options is one of the most glaring because, without it, quality of life is threatened.
The Austin Eats initiative was born out of the need to revitalize and strengthen Austin’s food ecosystem. Through a network of strongly devoted organizations, the initiative works to combat food insecurity by promoting healthier food choices and building up the community’s food access infrastructure.
The Austin Eats initiative envisions an Austin community where residents:
- Have quick and easy access to a variety of healthy food options
- Do not feel the burden of barriers to their health and well-being
- Feel empowered to lead healthy lives
- Encourage others to lead healthy lives
- Can heighten their overall quality of life
The fight for food equity in Austin calls on the deep commitment, support, and strategy of a wide range of organizations. Austin Eats seeks to build a structure that maximizes collective impact and believes it is vital to support partners’ efforts through careful coordination. Individual efforts must be connected to Austin’s overall strategy. By coming alongside the groups already steeped in this work, it is possible to collectively attract the financial resources needed to position Austin Eats for sustainability.
The power of this initiative will transform the Austin community from a “food desert” into a “food oasis” and enable residents to lead happier healthier lives.
As outlined in their Action Plan, the Austin Eats initiative has goals to:
- Tie together and create awareness for the many existing projects, events, and organizations actively working to create a healthier Austin
- Use a more established delivery system to distribute more boxes of healthy food to families that experience food insecurity
- Collaborate to increase the number of customers and vendors at Austin farmers’ markets
- Host two educational film events annually in Austin that attract 200 people per event
- Build a new Community Garden in northeast Austin, as well as a freight farm on a commercial corridor, to both grow food and also operate as an educational space
- Launch a marketing campaign to spread the word about Austin Eats efforts and help inspire residents to pursue a healthier lifestyle
- Facilitate continued collaboration and investment to sustain the efforts of Austin Eats partners
To learn more about the initiative, see the list of partners, get local food resources, or view a food-related event calendar, visit AustinComingTogether.org/AustinEats.