What’s the fix? A food-secure community where adults grow, share and prepare healthy, local food

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that diet is the leading cause of death in the United States, causing 530,000 deaths in 2016. These are mainly the result of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer and other diseases. The best “medicine” for these diseases can be found at our dinner table, in our gardens and at our local farmers’ markets. At Sustainable Food Center, we strongly believe that we can cultivate healthier lives and communities by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food. We do our work through three main programs—

Grow Local empowers children and adults to grow their own food by offering the education and resources they need to start and sustain gardens at schools, homes, and neighborhood hubs. Through Spread the Harvest we offer year-round free gardening resources to qualifying participants. In our Teaching Garden, we offer field trips, as well as host our food gardening classes available to the general public. We also offer free trainings in school garden leadership and community garden leadership.

Farm Direct connects consumers with local growers producing the freshest, tastiest and most nutritious food around. Two weekly SFC Farmers’ Markets are held every Saturday, 9-1, rain or shine, 52 weeks per year.  Through our Farm to Work and Farm to School projects, we connect producers directly to buyers as well as provide education that explains the importance of this work.

The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre® program is a nationally recognized cooking and nutrition education program that nurtures skills in food selection and preparation. We offer free 6-week community cooking and nutrition education classes taught by peer facilitators, affordable cooking classes available to the general public, and private classes and team building experiences.

Our Food Access department supports all three SFC programs by coordinating community engagement efforts across all teams and advancing projects that make healthy food more equitable and accessible to all Austin-area residents. SFC Double Dollars doubles the dollar amount of Lone Star (SNAP), WIC and FMNP Vouchers. This way, families can get more fruits and vegetables at SFC Farmers’ Markets and partner sites. Through our School and Community Farm Stands, we offer fresh, affordable, convenient, and nutritious food from local Austin farms at reduced prices, making it more affordable than a traditional farmers’ market.

So, what’s the fix? A food-secure community where adults grow, share and prepare healthy, local food.

Joy Casnovsky
Joy first became interested in the dynamics of food after taking the life-altering class, “Food, Cuisine and Kitchenspace” as an undergraduate student. After graduating with a BA in Geography and Spanish from UT Austin, Joy served as a representative of the U.S. Peace Corps in Bolivia for two years. In 2007, Joy joined Sustainable Food Center (SFC) as The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre® (THK) Program Coordinator. Shortly thereafter, Joy became Program Director of THK. Coinciding with the move into SFC’s new building in 2013, she obtained a Culinarian Certificate from Austin Community College in order to better prepare her and her team for expanding their culinary and nutrition offerings in the new teaching kitchen. Under her leadership, THK more than tripled the number of people served through a variety of innovated programming. A glutton for studying, Joy returned to school again, this time to obtain her Master in Public Leadership from UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. Joy became Deputy Director of SFC in July 2017. She oversees all programmatic and policy efforts for the agency. In her free time, she loves exploring Texas State Parks and spending time with her husband and furmaly: one dog, two cats and a chicken.

Comments are closed.