FarmShare Austin: Empowering Future Farmers
At Nutiva, giving back to the community is a core part of our culture and business. In an effort to make a positive impact, we started the Nutiva Foundation, which donates 1% of Nutiva’s sales each year to programs that support the advancement of healthy communities and sustainable agriculture. To date we have donated over $3 million to these programs, with the goal of $10 million by the year 2020. One of the recipients of our grants is FarmShare Austin. By giving FarmShare Austin $10,000 for the construction of a greenhouse, we were able to support them in their mission to train new farmers, preserve natural resources, conduct research, and put organic food on the tables of those who are most food insecure in the local community.
Influencing the Future of our Food
Founded 3 years ago, FarmShare Austin is accelerating organic farming knowledge to improve organic food access in Central Texas. FarmShare’s core belief is that food is a right and access to healthy food should be available to all. Taylor Cook, Lorig Hawkins and Marissa Lankes make up the FarmShare Austin team. All three have a background in the farming industry and joined FarmShare with the goal of educating others about the opportunities of sustainable farming. Marissa Lankes, Lead Educator, describes the need for organizations like FarmShare:
For many of us, the concept of where food comes from is really a fuzzy one. And for those of us that grew up in cities and urban settings especially, there is little connection to nature and food systems, and very few ways to acquire that knowledge.
FarmShare offers farm education to aspiring farmers, facilitates research for sustainable farming practices, preserves land and natural resources needed for farming, and facilitates innovative giving programs that provide organic food for the community. With a 7-acre farm and education center located only 20 miles from central Austin, Lankes says they are “able to make the concepts of organic agriculture and feeding a city really accessible to many people that may not otherwise have that opportunity.”
Growing Future Farmers
Along with research, land preservation and food access, education is one of the four key areas of focus in FarmShare Austin’s work. Their educational program, Farmer Starter, is designed to provide aspiring farmers with the knowledge they need to run a sustainable farming business. Lorig Hawkins, Farm Manager, says:
[Farmer Starter] has the unique opportunity to serve two purposes; to educate and train a new generation of farmers and also supply local produce to the central Texas community in unique and new ways.
Caity James, a current Farmer Starter student, felt compelled to quit her full-time job and move to Austin after learning about FarmShare. “I believe we are called to be good stewards of our land and to live in community with others, so I’ve become passionate about organic, sustainable farming because I think it directly impacts my beliefs.” She describes this program as “an experience of a lifetime” and recommends it to anyone interested in organic farming or sustainability.
A Healthy Partnership
At Nutiva, we provide organic, nutrient-dense superfoods that are grown and processed in a sustainable manner. Having shared values surrounding sustainable and organic farming, we knew we wanted to help FarmShare continue their impactful work and support their goals for the future. Together we are able to educate consumers on the importance of knowing where your food comes from and the impact purchasing decisions can have on our community and environment. To learn more about FarmShare Austin, go here. To learn more about the Nutiva Foundation or apply for a grant, go here.