Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Update-My Favorite Spring Events, 2015 March 5, 2015

It most certainly feels like Spring may never get here, but surely things will start to warm up soon.  I’m cheering myself up by looking forward to some of my favorite Springtime Events.  This list certainly in not all inclusive, and doesn’t include some of the obvious large annual events – these are just a few more affordable events I enjoy.  The update is to add Live Fire, the details of which were just released.

March 7, 2015  Sunshine Community Garden Spring Plant Sale This event is held the first Saturday of each March, and is my favorite plant sale for vegetable transplants.  The greenhouses will be filled with everything you need for your Spring Garden, including more tomato and pepper varieties that you can even fathom.  Peruse their online inventory and make your own list to take with you, or you might be overwhelmed.  Go early, wait in line, and be prepared for the crush of humanity that will ensue when they open the gates.  It’s part of the fun, I promise.

March 28, 2015  Fais Do Do, Gumbo Cookoff at Rain Lily Farm  This annual event sponsored by Farmhouse Delivery, is held at Rain Lily Farm on Shady Lane.  Your $35.00 ticket will get you unlimited gumbo tastings, complimentary beer, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.  Proceeds benefit Creek People.  This is a really fun time, on one of our lovely East Austin Urban Farms.

March 29, 2015  Edible Austin’s Children’s Picnic and Real Food Fair  This is a fun event for the whole family, held at the historic French Legation Museum and grounds.  There will be lots of food vendors, and lots of educational opportunities as well.  Kiddos typically pet baby goats, learn about backyard chickens, learn gardening from volunteers, and leave the event with their own little box garden.

April 4, 2015 Funky Chicken Coop Tour  This-self guided tour of some of Austin’s most interesting and innovative chicken coops.  Homeowner’s show off their coops and share their experiences keeping backyard chickens.  Drawings and giveaways will be available at the launch site, Buck Moore Feed Store.

April 9, 2015 Austin Food and Wine Alliance’s Live Fire This event is a meat lovers paradise each year.  The lineup of chefs has just been released and it looks amazing!  Many of your favorites local chefs and some from restaurants in other cities, will cook over live fire, and for $70 a ticket (early bird price), you will get to sample them all.  The event is held at the Salt Lick Pavillion, and will also feature live music, mines, cocktails, and craft beer.  Proceeds go toward the Alliance’s culinary grant program.

April 12, 2015 East Austin Urban Farm Tour  Also self guided, this is a tour of 4 of Austin’s Urban Farms, Boggy Creek Farm, Springdale Farm, Hausbar Farm, and Rain Lily Farm.  These four farms are all within walking distance of one another, and just a short 3 miles from Austin’s Capitol.  Each unique farm will host hourly tours by the farmers, and you will enjoy bites from some of Austin’s best restaurants, and sips from local beverage artisans and brewers.  While the final restaurant/artisan list has yet to be announced, the early word is very impressive, including Lenoir, Wink, Olamaie, Texas French Bread, Dolce Neve, Live Oak Brewery, Weather up, Austin Wine Merchant, Qui, Kome, Fixe, Fukumoto, Uchiko, Hops n Grain, Mescal, Paula’s, Banner Vodka, The Driskill, Swifts Attic, The Hightower, Anjore, Eden, Gardner, East Ciders, Liber & Co., Zhi Tea, Dai Due, Fresas, Odd Duck, Bola Pizza, Treaty Oak Distillery, Real Ale.  I’ll update this list once it is finalized. The tickets are $50.00 for adults, kids under 10 are free and proceeds benefit Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

Ongoing:  Keep an eye out for volunteer opportunities with Green Corn Project.  We will be installing gardens for our recipients through March.

Ongoing:  Antonelli’s Cheese Shop has events every week, including cheese and jam pairings, cheese and beverage pairings, and classes.

Ongoing:  Confituras has jam making classes throughout the year and they are really fun and informative.  It is about to be fruit season!

 

Spring Means Fabulous Outside Events in Austin! (Revised) March 25, 2014

After a long, and very cold winter in Austin, I look forward to outdoor events in the Spring.  There are many, many events, and this list is not exhaustive by any means.  I do have my favorites, all of which involve amazing food, cocktails and  support good causes. My picks also boast some of my favorite outdoor venues in the City as well.

March 29, 2014 – This weekend, there are two events that I really enjoy, this Saturday March 29th, is Farmhouse Delivery’s Fais D0-Do, Gumbo Cookoff at Rain Lily Farm.  Stroll the gorgeous grounds at Rain Lily Farm, sampling Gumbo from the varied entrants, sipping on bloody marys, listening to Zydeco music.  There are raffle prizes, too. I’m in!  $10 a ticket.  Proceeds benefit Creek People.

March 30, 2014 – this Sunday, 2nd Annual Crawfish Boil at Lenoir, benefiting Austin Food for Life, a non-profit  organization that assists Austin area food workers with health care.  This event will take place in the garden behind Lenoir.  $25 in advance, $30 at the door.

April 13, 2014East Austin Urban Farm Tour – Spend a Sunday afternoon strolling amongst the crops, visiting the chickens, donkeys and goats on four urban farms mere blocks apart. At each farm, chefs will offer tastes of their art, using farm ingredients. Local mixologists, brewers, and wine merchants will share sips. In the fields, farmers will introduce their crops, share their experiences as farmers and answer gardening questions. It will be the perfect opportunity to get your gardening questions solved, with farm tours on the hour.  Proceeds benefit Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

Your $50 ticket will tell you which farm to start at, to prevent a backlog at any of the farms. No charge for children 12 & under.
Boggy Creek Farm – 3414 Lyons Road Austin, TX 78702

Food: Wink Restaurant,  Cafe Jose, Dolce Neve, Lenoir, Bufalina.  Drinks: Austin Wine Merchant, Live Oak, Weather Up

Hausbar Farm – 3300 Govalle, Austin, TX 78702

Food: Qui, Bola Pizza, Kome, Anjore Deepa, Dai Due.   Drinks Dripping Springs Vodka, Wahaca Tequila

Rain Lily Farm – 914 Shady Ln, Austin, TX 78702

Food:  Olive and June, Fabi and Rosi, Fresa’s.  (will update with full list)

Springdale Farm – 755 Springdale Rd, Austin, TX 78702

Food:  Eden East/Hillside Farmacy, Driskill Grill, Peche, Olamaie, Confituras. Drinks  Vinyards of Florence, Hops N Grain, Peche

See my recap of the 2011 East Austin Urban Farm Tour here:

April 19, 2014Austin Funky Chicken Coop Tour – Spend an afternoon on a self-guided tour of select Austin-area produce keepers to get inspiration for your own urban coop.  Proceeds benefit the Urban Poultry Association of Texas, Inc.

My recap of the 2010 Funky Chicken Coop Tour is here:

April 17, 2014Live Fire! – Austin Food and Wine Alliance 6:30 – 9:00
This year at the Salt Lick Pavilion, local and regional chefs will exhibit their culinary mastery over open flames. Stroll the beautiful grounds of the Salt Lick Pavilion, taste the chefs’ offerings, taste a variety of wines and enjoy being outside before summer moves us all back inside. $75.00

Chef lineup:

Rene Ortiz of Angry Bear, Jesse Perez of Arcade Midtown Kitchen (San Antonio), Brandon Fuller of Cafe Josie, Kendall Melton of Contigo, Jeff Martinez of El Chile Cafe y Cantina, Aaron Franklin of Franklin’s BBQ, Matt McAllister of FT33, (Dallas), Jason Dady of Jason Dady Restaurants (San Antonio), Ronnie Killen of Killen’s BBQ (Pearland), Rick Lopez of La Condesa, Monica Glenn of qui, Ben Runkle, Bryan Butler and Josh Jones of Salt & Time Butcher Shop & Salumeria, Callie Speer of Swift’s Attic, Josh Watkins of The Carillon, Timothy Rattray of The Granary (San Antonio), Scott Roberts of The Salt Lick (Driftwood), Kristine Kittrell of Weather Up, Reece Lagunas of Whole Foods Market

More about this event from their website: http://austinfoodwinealliance.org/?page_id=610
To order tickets, go here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/live-fire-2014-tickets-10930275749
My recap of the 2011 Live Fire event here:

April 30, 2014Homegrown Revival Dinner at HOPE Outdoor Gallery.  “A very special dinner on the top level of one of Austin’s most popular landmarks – The HOPE Outdooor Gallery.  The night includes a 5-7 course locally sourced dining experience with music and pairs drinks along copy of  HOPE Outdoor Gallery; Lost &  Found Vol 1 art book & collection sticker pack.”  The dinner will be prepared by Chef Sonya Cote.   This should be a fabulous evening with amazing food, drinks and company. $150.00.  For tickets click here.

May 8, 2014 – Sustainable Food Center Farm to Plate: http://www.sustainablefoodcenter.org/donate/farm-to-plate $125.00

Sip and stroll format, with lots of local chefs, at the beautiful Barr Mansion.  Proceeds benefit the Sustainable Food Center and their many fabulous programs.

 

Austin’s Urban Farms Need Your Voice November 18, 2013

I’m hoping to return to my regular food blogging very soon, but today’s post is about food on a grander scale, and certainly way more important than what I’m growing, eating, canning or where I’m eating out.

The City of Austin has been in the process of updating the Urban Farm Code for nearly a year.  A small, very vocal  activist group  is waging war on the farms, in the name of commercialization of the East Austin neighborhood where they have quietly (and organically) farmed for years.   As far as we know, one neighbor had an issue with one farm, months ago, which started this whole process, and the complaint has long since been corrected and no longer exists.  The farms have many happy and supportive neighbors who love having green space, a place to gather, and local produce, dairy, and proteins from neareby ranches, available for purchase.

I recently heard allegation is that the farms have events that are too expensive for the neighbors to attend.  As the Vice President of Green Corn Project, a non-profit who holds it’s annual fundraiser at Boggy Creek Farm, for which we charge $35-$40 to attend, I’d like to report that this year we raised nearly $18,000, which will enable us to install and maintain organic food gardens for residents, schools and community centers  in East Austin, and other low income neighborhoods, as we’ve done now for 15 years.  The other farms host fundraisers for a variety of non-profits, including the Sustainable Food Center, Urban Roots, Food for Life, and have raised at least $100,000 in 2013 alone.  Much of this money goes to directly benefit these neighborhoods.

We have a website,  where you can read up on the issue, sign as a supporter, and stay up to date.  There is also a Facebook Page and invitation to come to City Council on Thursday, 11/21/13 at 3:30, and sign up to speak in support of the farms, or merely sign in showing your support.

If you’d like to read about the farms affected, they all have websites: Boggy Creek Farm, Springdale Farm, Hausbar Farm, and Rain Lily Farm.

With more and more news about GMO’s, Monsanto, Pink Slime,  recalls, exploding watermelons and all other scary news about our food supply, local, organic produce has never been more important – at least, to me.  (very enlightening  TedX Talk about our food supply here)

As a long time Tarrytown resident (since 1990) I would do anything to have an urban farm next to me.  The lot next to my house has been vacant for about a year, and soon to be a McMansion, I’m sure.  Plus, the soil in West Austin is inhospitable for growing food, which is opposite of the East Austin Blackland Prairie soil.   I’d rather live next to this.

Hausbar crops

Hausbar crops

Springdale Flowers

Springdale Flowers

Broccoli at Boggy Creek Farm

Broccoli at Boggy Creek Farm

Rain Lily Farm

If you’d like to read the proposed changes to the existing Urban Farm Code,  they are here:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxzylTILPsr2M1NVMHVYNUZ0TzQ/edit?usp=sharing&pli=1

Please ask the City Council to vote to approve the Urban Farm Code updates, as passed by the Planning Commission, at their meeting this Thursday, 11/21/13.

 

Urban Farms Are Good for East Austin June 27, 2013

When I got in my car yesterday morning, to head to work, I heard Susanna Almanza, from PODER, a group against urban farms in East Austin, on the radio talking about how people with “disposable income” are moving to East Austin to start farms that take up space that could be used for affordable housing.  During the course of the day, I heard several different snippets, one in particular that the farms sell produce that East Austinites cannot afford. The group has also alleged that some unnamed farm, refused to provide seedlings to someone because they “couldn’t profit” from giving them away.  They are being portrayed as profit driven commercial entities who do not support their East Austin Community.  I feel compelled to respond to this with some actual facts.  Maybe they just don’t know all of the good that the farms do?

I am long time supporter of the Sustainable Food Center, and supporter and new Board Member of the Green Corn Project, both organizations that work with low income people from all over Austin, but certainly East Austin.

Boggy Creek Farm, has hosted the Green Corn Project’s main fundraiser, for 14 years.  This October  27th will be the 15th year that Boggy Creek opens up the farm to host our Fall Festival.  This is the one major fund raising opportunity for Green Corn Project, whose mission is to install  gardens at no cost, for low income people (school and churches) who would otherwise have no access to organic food.  Green Corn Project has installed hundreds of gardens in East Austin over the years, taught recipients how to maintain them, provided compost, seeds and seedlings  and we couldn’t carry out that mission without the generosity of Boggy Creek Farm. (Picture below is from Metz Elementary Garden)  The farm gives tours to any school that asks, and has hosted free camps for neighborhood children over the years.

School Tour.  Last month they did four in one day!

https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/p480x480/1010788_10151664995412192_197046429_n.jpg

Springdale Farm frequently hosts events for and benefiting non-profits, including the Sustainable Food Center , which operates 4 local farmer’s markets in Austin, including one in East Austin, teaches low income families how to seek out healthier food, grow it and cook it in ways that work for their individual families.  The SFC also teaches gardening and installs gardens.  Most recently, Springdale hosted Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, for a pop-up picnic  which was free to the public, and accepted donations for the Sustainable Food Center.  Nearly $500 was raised for the SFC.  Springdale hosts school tours for whomever asks, at no cost, to teach children where food comes from and has worked a lot with Idea Allen Elementary, its nearest neighbor. (Idea Allen lends Springdale its parking lot behind the farm, so that events on the farm have little to no impact on the neighborhood.)  Most recently, Govalle Elementary School, in East Austin, came to the farm for a tour, and sent these thank you notes.  Community is among the most important missions of each of the East Austin Urban Farms.

Photo: Thanks for coming Govalle Elementary. Now eat your veggies!

Photo: Special delivery! Sweet notes from Govalle Elementary School.

Idea Allen Elementary Garden Club on the farm.

Photo: IDEA Allen Elementary School Garden Club visited the farm this week. Next generation coming on strong...

Hausbar Farm, just this year donated eggs to Govalle Elementary so that they could hatch their own chicks. This Spring, Hausbar hosted 3 Govalle Elementary pre-k classes on the farm.  The kids were able to walked down the street to their neighborhood farm to see where food comes from.   The farm hosted a small group of high schoolers from Austin Can Academy, and taught them about sustainable farming.  Dorsey, one of Hausbar’s owners,  went to UT’s East 6th Street Elementary School for a couple of visits to donate seeds and time to talk to their garden club and prepare their beds for planting.  Hausbar hosted a free neighborhood camp this spring so that everyone in the neighborhood could enjoy the farm. Every chance the get, they host Urban Roots youth who come and enjoy getting to know where eggs come from (since they don’t have hens at their farm) and getting to know just what the heck donkeys have to do with farming.  They recently hosted a bus-load of Walnut Creek school, Elementary School Garden Club members.  Last week we had a fantastic group from kids and adults from Communities In Schools come spend the morning with us.  2 weeks ago Hausbar  had a summer camp that included paying campers, but neighborhood campers were invited to attend free of charge.  (photo from Spring camp which was free)

Photo: Had such a great time at our Neighborhood Kids Farm Camp Saturday! We live in the best neighborhood in Austin!

Rain Lily Farm hosts an annual arts series, free to everyone in the neighborhood, called Shakespeare on the Farm.  People come to the farm, (many walk from their homes nearby,) sit on blankets and enjoy the works of William Shakespeare, performed on the farm.

Shakespeare on the Farm Fall 2011

The contributions to the East Austin (and greater Austin) communities by these farms is invaluable and way to vast for me to  include even a fraction of what they do.  They are good neighbors and I would gladly have any one them it my neighborhood, next to my house.   They are each a shining example of how we all should be treating the Earth, using organic methods in their farming, collecting rainwater and composting.  I could go on listing all the good things these farms have done and continue to do, but it would be laborious, and too long to read.

The City currently is working on amendments to the Urban Farm Code, which, as written is somewhat vague.  I have been attending the Board/counsel meetings to keep informed and show support for the farms.  Currently, the suggested amendments to the existing Urban Farm Code, limit events on the farms and would require special event permits for most events.    Farms don’t generate enough income from selling produce, to support continued farming.  Events are essential.  Farmers are not politicians, and aren’t accustomed to public speaking and political activism.  They could use our help spreading news of their good works and you can help by signing up as a supporter at http://www.austinurbanfarms.org.   The site also lists other ways you can help support our local farms.

 

Urban Farm Code Update June 24, 2013

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Do you love our  Austin Urban Farms? They need our support right now and there is now an easy way to show your support.  Www.austinurbanfarms.org is now live and explains what the farms need to stay in business, and provides a way for you to sign up as a supporter.

Photo: Love Austin's farms? The Sustainable Food Policy Board is making their recommendations for changes to the Urban Farm Code on Monday 6/24, 12:30-2:30 pm.  Please come to the meeting in support of the farms or e-mail the members and let them know that Austin farms make good neighbors and are an important part of our community. http://www.austintexas.gov/sfpb

 

East Austin Urban Farm Tour of 2011 April 22, 2011

Last Sunday, I participated in the East Austin Urban Farm Tour, benefiting the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.   I met Kristi at Hausbar Farms, but arrived a bit early to  hang out with my friends from Bola Pizza and take some pictures of the farm.  Hausbar is a relatively new farm, one of three properties owned by the owners  Eastside Cafe.   The two properties and the land surrounding the restaurant, grow approximately 85% of the produce used at Eastside.  The farm had grown since I last saw it.

Hausbar crops

As always, if there are animals around, I tend to gravitate toward them – in this case Julian the donkey.

Julian

Julian was difficult to get a good photo of, because he followed me around like a puppy, and I couldn’t get any distance.  He went on the farm tours provided by Dorsey.  He ate the button off my pants.

Eastside was serving tamales and chili, although I was too warm for such fare.  Bola Pizza was dishing up their amazing pie.

Bola Pizza

This chicken wanted nothing to do with all of the hooplah, and stayed perched above the fray.

Above it all

Next, we hoofed it over to Springdale Farm, on Springdale Lane.  The Farm, owned by Paula and Glenn Foore, was in full glorious bloom.  There were  snapdragons aplenty, and they provided a wonderfully colorful accent to the crops.

Springdale Farm

More Spring Color

I tried a delicious lamb slider from The Driskill Grill.

Lamb Slider

From Springdale, we hoofed it over to Rain Lily Farm, on Shady Lane.   Also in full Springtime glory, the farm was fully planted and looked productive.

Rain Lily Farm

There was a salad with farm fresh lettuce, pork belly, and strawberries, and Colleen from Pie Fixes Everything was also on hand with her delicious treats.

Pie Fixes Everything

Next up, we headed over to Boggy Creek Farm, which has for years been one of my happy places.  For some reason, everytime I visit Boggy Creek with a camera, I feel compelled to snap a photo of the work gloves, hung up to dry each day, on the back porch of the farmhouse.

Gloves

To me, these are a reminder that farming takes hard work.  In the distance, there are folks getting a tour of the farm.

The flowers were stunning at Boggy Creek as well.

Gorgeous flowers

After Boggy Creek, we walked back to Hausbar, where we started.

Christian and the Bola Pizza Oven

The pizzas were still flying out of the oven, so I snagged a piece and went off to re-visit the button stealing donkey.  After the tour officially ended, a few of us went back to Springdale Farm, for a lovely evening under the big oak tree, with more food, some wine, and lots more fun.

I love our East Austin Urban Farms, and the farmers are some of the most special people I’ve ever met.  We are so lucky to have access to them.  Boggy Creek and Springdale both have farmstands on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9-1:00, where you can purchase their fabulous produce.  You can help support Rain Lily Farm, by joining Farmhouse Delivery, a local food delivery service.   You can taste the wonderful bounty growing at Hausbar, by patronizing Eastside Cafe.

 

Update-East Austin Urban Farm Tour, April 17, 2011 April 6, 2011

It is almost time for the Second Annual East Austin Urban Farm Tour, and the details are out now.  There will be tours of each farm at 1:15, 2:15, 3:15 and 4:15.  The participating farms are Boggy Creek Farm, Hausbar Farm, Rain Lily Farm and Springdale Farm, all within walking distance from one another.

There will be chefs on hand at each farm, preparing locally sourced food and drink as follows:

Boggy Creek Farm – Eric Polzer of Wink; Steward Scruggs of ZOOT, Barrie Cullinan of Word on Food Bakery; Live Oak Brewery Beer;

Springdale Farm – Pesche, Driskill Grill, Jessee Griffiths from Dai Due, 512 Brewing;

Rain Lily Farm – La Condesa, Fabi & Rossi, Pie Fixes Everything, Republic of Texas Tequila;

Hausbar Farm – Dripping Springs Vodka, Paula’s Texas Orange, Bola Pizza, East Side Cafe

This is a really fun event, and a great way to get to know your local farmers.  The Tickets are available online through www. farmhousedelivery.com or at each farm gate the day of the tours.  $35.00 is the cost and the the beneficiary is the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.  http://www.farmandranchfreedom.org