At Farmshare Austin, our mission is to grow a healthy local food community by increasing food access, teaching new farmers and preserving farmland. We are a certified organic, non-profit teaching farm located about 20 miles southeast from downtown Austin with 3 acres in produce row crop production and 1 acre in fruit orchard.
Farmshare Austin was founded as a 501(c)(3) non-profit in 2012 by a handful of Austinites who believed that a sustainable local food system is the only way to a healthy and equitable city. The group identified a lack of farmer training programs within the Central Texas region, a rapidly urbanizing community leading to an ever-growing disparity in food access, and reliance on non-local food.
In 2014, we started our teaching farm, completed the first six-month Farmer Starter adult farmer education program, and provided healthy produce to low-income individuals in our community. Our program continues to thrive and cultivate a new generation of farmers, graduating seven Farmer Starter classes as of June 2019 and 31 students. Of the Farmer Starter graduates, 80% are farming or are in farm-related businesses and over 50% are actively farming.
Farmshare expanded our commitment to food equity in 2016 by increasing food access within our community for families experiencing geographic and economic barriers to healthy, affordable culturally-appropriate food. Partnering with the City of Austin, Farmshare now runs seven weekly Mobile Markets providing produce from our farm, other local farms and healthy grocery items to vulnerable communities. We anticipate doubling the number of Mobile Markets to 14 within a year.
We are fiercely collaborative and foster collaborative partnerships that work toward achieving our mission and complement our work to enhance other social movements, such as improved health, environmental sustainability and community development.