Exploring Educational Programs and Workshops at Farmers Markets in Central Texas

Farmers markets are a great way to get access to fresh, locally grown produce and support local farmers. But did you know that many farmers markets in Central Texas also offer educational programs and workshops? From shopping tips to experiential learning, there are plenty of opportunities to learn more about the food you eat and the people who grow it. The Texas Local Food Center (TLFC) is a not-for-profit organization that works to create regional food systems in Texas that support the prosperity of family farms, the health of Texans, and vibrant rural economies. They offer a variety of educational programs and workshops designed to help educate buyers on what to look for at farmers' markets.

Shopping tips and brochures are available to make your shopping trip successful and safe. In the small town of Elgin, Texas, TLFC partnered with The Common Market Texas and the Elgin Independent School District (ISD) to distribute boxes of farm-fresh vegetables to families with a child poverty rate of 19%. Staff from Elgin ISD's ACE (Texas After-School Education Centers; Texas Education Agency) and the USDA-funded farm-to-school program expanded the Veggie Box program to involve families in cooking these fresh Texas vegetables at home. At the same time, TLFC also teaches young children in Elgin where food comes from through farm visits and experiential learning.

They prepare food and eat it, learning about the importance of healthy eating habits. This farm-to-school partnership supports Texas farmers by providing them with an important outlet at a time of major supply chain upheavals. The successful outcome of TLFC's efforts is that local food producers and farmer markets increase customers and sales, develop new market opportunities, and create jobs that lead to the economic sustainability of local food systems in Texas. Consumer demand for locally produced and marketed food is generating growing interest across Texas.

We have three stands to help farmers markets across Texas increase sales of Texas-grown fruits and vegetables to SNAP buyers. At the same time, farmers market consumers have access to farm-fresh and other locally grown produce, as well as the opportunity to interact with the people who grow their food. The TLFC appears on the latest episode of Access, the Federal Reserve podcast on community development issues. This is just one example of how farmers markets in Central Texas are offering educational programs and workshops that benefit both consumers and producers alike.

Through these initiatives, shoppers can learn more about their food while supporting local farmers at the same time.