$1000 City of Austin Sponsorship for a Black-led Organization Addressing Food Access – Apply by 7/27/2020

Here is a funding opportunity from the City of Austin:

The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability would like to extend a $1,000 sponsorship to a Black-led organization that is addressing food access within the Austin-area.  Please use this form to submit your interest for consideration.  

This form closes on Monday, July 27th.  We will consider survey responses and reach out to the recipient organization by August 1, 2020.  Thank you for sharing with your network!

UPDATE: Parks to remain closed after July 4th weekend

Hello Community Gardeners,

Due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, the public parks will continue to remain closed after Monday July 6th . Please continue to follow the guidance from my previous email about community gardens after the July 4th weekend. More information about the park closures can be found online at austintexas.gov/parkclosures.

Please call me if you have any questions about the park closures. My cell phone number is 512-974-9461.

Thank you for your cooperation and stay safe this weekend.

Jennifer Steverson, Environmental Program Coordinator

Community Gardens Program| Natural Resources Division

Jennifer.Steverson@austintexas.gov| 512.974.9461

Working Remotely

Learn more about the Community Gardens Program at

http://www.austintexas.gov/department/city-austin-community-gardens-program

City of Austin Parks closed July 4th weekend

Hello Community Gardeners,

All public parks and recreational facilities will be closed during the upcoming July 4th weekend.

Thank you for your cooperation, these measures are being taken in response to the recent in increase in COVID-19 cases in our city.

Please contact me if you have any questions,

Jennifer Steverson

UPDATES

June 29, 2020  

Prompted by an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the City of Austin will close all parks and recreational facilities from Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5. This includes all City parks, as well as recreational facilities (e.g. golf courses, tennis courts, boat ramps, recreation/cultural centers, museums, Austin Nature & Science Center, Zilker Botanical Garden, preserves, pools, etc). All pre-paid park admission passes will be credited to the park patron’s account or refunded.

Jennifer Steverson, Environmental Program Coordinator

Community Gardens Program| Natural Resources Division

Jennifer.Steverson@austintexas.gov| 512.974.9461

Working Remotely

Learn more about the Community Gardens Program at

http://www.austintexas.gov/department/city-austin-community-gardens-program

All Austin Parks and Rec Facilities Closed Easter Weekend

Hello Community Gardeners,

All Austin Parks and Recreation Department facilities are closed to the public this weekend as part of ongoing efforts to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. These closures will include all community gardens on city owned land.

Garden Leaders need to contact all community garden members as soon as possible today to notify them and to place signs on the gates to inform people of the closures which will be in effect from Sunset on April 9th through sunrise on Monday April 13th.

We do realize the notice was short, and apologize for any inconvenience. Please understand that there is a lot of information, which changes quickly. We did not have any more notice than did the community on this one, but will work with them to help where we can. In the case of needed animal care (such as chickens), please let us know if you need assistance in having them checked. We can request Park Rangers to stop by and check on them during their rounds.

It is vital that all gardeners adhere to the Austin Public Health Guidelines while they water and prepare for the closure. This includes maintaining social distancing, wearing a face covering, and wiping down shared tools, hoses and gate handles.

Please work together to follow the guidelines and help our city flatten the curve during this challenging time.

More information is available at http://austintexas.gov/news/city-austin-parks-will-close-easter-weekend

I’m here to help, please contact me if you have any questions.

Jennifer Steverson, Environmental Program Coordinator

Community Gardens Program | Austin Parks and Recreation Department

Office and Mobile | 512.974.9461
Jennifer.Steverson@austintexas.gov

Learn more about the Community Gardens Program:

http://www.austintexas.gov/department/city-austin-community-gardens-program

COVID-19 and Community Gardens

Community gardens provide us with important access to fresh food in this time of social distancing and economic challenge. Please see the message below from Jennifer Steverson, the City of Austin’s new Community Garden Program Coordinator, for information and guidelines about how to stay safe, continue gardening, and help share our harvest with others.

Stay well!


Hello Community Gardeners!

I am writing with some information and updates related to the COVID-19 concerns that may be helpful in maintaining safe practices in your community gardens and at home.  Please know that we are limiting communications to COVID-related messaging at this point to focus attention on the most important needs and to minimize distraction; however, we hope to be able to provide more/broader information soon. I look forward to meeting you all and working with you! Here are the updates related specifically to the Austin Community Gardens Program, and I have included general resources and information from the City related to COVID-19 below:

City of Austin COVID-19 Updates: http://austintexas.gov/COVID19

Stay at Home – Work Safe Order: http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=337824

Stay at Home – Work Safe Order and Community Gardens

I know that there are a lot questions about how the Stay at Home Ordinance will impact community gardens. The ordinance outlines Essential Activities that are permitted and Essential Businesses during this time. Essential Businesses includes Food Cultivation and Charitable Organizations. You will have access to your gardens during the Stay at Home Order. Please review Section 6-F of the order for more details.

Essential Activities “. . .Individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following, “Essential Activities.” These essential activities include:

i.         For Health and Safety. Individuals may engage in activities or perform tasks essential to their health and safety, or to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets) . . .”

ii.         For Necessary Supplies and Services. Individuals may obtain necessary services or supplies for themselves and their family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, such as, by way of example only and without limitation, groceries and food . . .”

Essential Businesses include: “Stores that sell Groceries and Certain Other Essential Supplies. Grocery stores, supermarkets . . .farmers’ markets, food banks . . .”

   iii.         Food Cultivation. Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing

   iv.         Social Services and Charitable organizations. Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals

Social Distancing Recommendations and Guidelines for Community Gardeners

Please remember to maintain a safe distance when working in the community garden, and follow the guidelines recommended by the CDC and Austin Public Health:

  • Maintain social distancing of at least six feet or more
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, then use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  • Please keep disinfectant, soap or hand sanitizer in the garden to assist with cleaning and disinfecting. For more specific information on the requirements go the City of Austin website.
  • Please also remember to disinfect tools and surfaces including gate handles, and shed door handles, and hose bibs that are in common areas before and after use.
  • Communicate within your community garden: Please use the bulletin boards and message centers in your gardens to communicate with each other as needed.
  •  If you have gardeners who are elderly, consider designating garden times specifically for them so that they can minimize contact with others.
  • Please also consider calling or texting your members to check on them and see if they need support.
  • Consider creating a schedule if needed to maintain social distancing, especially when it comes to caring for chickens and bees.

Increase Yields and Donate to Local Emergency Food Providers

Here are some online resources that can help you learn more about increasing productivity in the garden and preserving your harvest, which will be extremely helpful in the coming weeks and season. Please consider planting additional food for yourself and to share with those in your neighborhood who may be in need. Please see some links below.

USDA Guidelines for Home Preservation

Agrilife Online Classes: Introduction to Plant Disease Diagnostics

Sharing the Harvest Resources

 

I will reach out again soon with information on more resources. Please feel free to reach out to each other to share best practices. I’m always available to answer questions.

Jennifer Steverson, Environmental Program Coordinator

Community Gardens Program| Natural Resources Division

Jennifer.Steverson@austintexas.gov

Learn more about the Community Gardens Program at

http://www.austintexas.gov/department/city-austin-community-gardens-program

 

 

SFC’s Garden Leadership Training is around the corner 2/26/19 & 2/27/19!

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SFC: Garden Leadership Training

This 2-part training is for teachers, parents, and community members interested in starting (or reviving) and sustaining a school or a community garden. The training will cover key components to running a successful garden. Teachers may register for free!

When: Tuesday & Wednesday, February 26 & 27, 2019 6:00-8:00pm

Where: Sustainable Food Center: 2921 E 17th St Bldg C, Austin, TX 78722

Price: $30 (free for teachers & 5 additional need based scholarships are available – please email bianca AT sustainablefoodcenter.org to request a spot) Register here.

Grant Opportunity: 2019 Chronic Disease Prevention Mini-Grant

From the Austin Public Health website:

 

Chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic lung disease and diabetes make up nearly three out of five deaths in Travis County.

The good news is that active living, healthy eating, and not using tobacco can help prevent chronic disease. Austin Public Health funds projects to prevent chronic disease in Austin and Travis County. Grants can be up to $2500 with a focus on making a lasting change.

Projects should address health disparities by reaching people who face higher rates of chronic disease (such as people with lower incomes, and people who are African American, Hispanic/Latino, or Asian American).

Projects should focus on one (or more) of these topics:

  • Active living
  • Tobacco-free living
  • Healthy eating
  • Community gardens
  • Healthy food pantries
  • Breastfeeding support

 

Austin Public Health LogoTo Apply Online Click Here: https://www.healthyplaceshealthypeople.org/mini-grant/

For more information on eligibility requirements, please follow this link: https://www.healthyplaceshealthypeople.org/mycommunity/

City of Austin Soil Kitchen April 14 & 15 and Texas AgriLife Extension East Austin Garden Fair April 14 at Parque Zaragoza

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Get your soil tested for free (heavy metals and nutrient levels) at the City of Austin Brownfields Office Soil Kitchen event on April 14 & 15 at Parque Zaragoza. Backyard gardeners, school, and community gardens are all eligible to bring samples! For details on how to collect soil samples: http://www.austintexas.gov/soilkitchen

If you’re there on Saturday, April 14, enjoy the East Austin Garden Fair (9am-2pm), which will be full of DIY and educational gardening activities: https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/travis/local-extension-resources/east-austin-garden-fair/

 

Two free Community Garden Trainings Coming up at Sustainable Food Center

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Sustainable Food Center’s Garden Leadership Trainings empower school staff, parents, and community members to start and sustain a school or community garden. Registration is required.

Trainings are free and will take place at SFC (2921 E. 17th St., Building C, 787802). We will provide free childcare.

For more details and to register visit SFC’s Classes webpage or contact Bianca Bidiuc Peterson, Grow Local Program Manager, (512) 220-1097, bianca@sustainablefoodcenter.org.