I was pleased to attend the AFWA grant awards ceremony at the ATT Executive Conference Center. It is a pleasure to be involved with an organization that raises money through fantastic events like Wine and Swine to invest back into our culinary community. Here are the results from the evening.
Austin Food & Wine Alliance Realizes a Second Year of Success with First-of-its-Kind Grant Program, Celebrated Foodie Events & Unequaled Community Support
AUSTIN, TX (December 11, 2013) – Fueled by $25,000 in grants given today by the Austin Food & Wine Alliance, four Austin-area culinary innovators will receive funding to help realize their dreams and further propel the city’s already skyrocketing culinary scene.
The 2013 Austin Food & Wine Grant Award Winners will be announced at a ceremony tonight at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center. The grant winners areConfituras for $10,000; and $5,000 grants each for Salt & Time Butcher Shop & Salumeria, Blacklands Malt, and Skinny Lane Farm
The grants will help fund a unique food preservation project that includes oral histories and the creation of a mobile kitchen and traveling canning museum (Confituras); the first USDA-inspected salumi producer in Texas (Salt & Time Butcher Shop & Salumeria);the first locally grown and malted barley in the state, which will support craft beer production (Blacklands Malt); and an on-the-farm cooking program, the first in the Elgin area (Skinny Lane Farm).
The Alliance’s grant program is the first in the nation to provide funding to support culinary innovation that contributes to the local community and isintended tosupport chefs; farmers; wine, beer and spirit makers; artisan producers; and food-focused nonprofits based on culinary innovation and community giveback. The grants align with the AFWA’smission tofoster education, awareness and innovation in the Central Texas food and wine community.
The nonprofit received 22 grant applications and announced in September that it had reached its fundraising goals to be able to offer $25,000 in grants this year due to strong community partnerships and successful fundraising events. The AFWA annually hosts some of Austin’s most popular and successful charity culinary events including last month’s3rd Annual Wine & Swine Pig Roast and Live Fire!, a beef-centric, chef-driven tasting extravaganza held each spring as a kickoff to the Austin Food & Wine Festival. Both events routinely sell out and win praise by attendees and participating chefs.
Austin Food & Wine Alliance, formed just two years ago, now has awarded $45,000 in grants to the Central Texas culinary community with 2012 winners receiving $20,000 in grants to include funding for the first Texas apple orchard using organic practices (Argus Cidery); a program to humanely raise endangered heritage breed hogs and an initiative to provide local and organically grown CSAs to low income families (Tecolote Farms); and a documentary to teach more than 20,000 high school students about the process of raising beef in Texas from pasture to plate (Connally High School).
“We were delighted and impressed by the number and quality of applicants for the grants, and the committee had a difficult choice in selecting the four grant winners,” said Mariam Parker, the Alliance’s executive director. “We’re so appreciative of the community support we’ve received this year and that has allowed us to exceed our expectations at every turn.”
The grant recipients were chosen by the AFWA 2013 Grant Selection Committee, a private panel composed of prominent culinary and community-minded professionals. In addition to the four grant winners the selection committee specifically called out, three additional innovative projects were named as “honorable mentions” – worthy initiatives deserving recognition.
“The winning grant projects clearly demonstrate innovation and value to the community,” said Paul Barnes, Alliance president. “We are so fortunate to have the ingenuity, talent and commitment of these individuals and organizations focused on the advancement of food, wine and spirits in our community. It’s an extraordinary honor to be able to help these projects come to fruition.”
AFWA 2013 Grant Winners
- Confituras (Austin) – Since 2010, Stephanie McClenny’s mission has been to create the most delicious, locally sourced and responsibly produced preserves available. After numerous awards and national recognition, Stephanie will take her mission a step further and use the grant funds for a new focus for her company to incorporate the Preserving Austin Project. Her goal is to change the way Central Texas thinks about preserving; the project will preserve the local history of canning in Central Texas through education and community involvement. This will include company rebranding, oral histories, and creation of a mobile kitchen and traveling canning museum.
- Salt & Time Butcher Shop & Salumeria (Austin) – Opening this year in its first brick and mortar location, Salt & Time is Austin’s first whole animal butcher shop. The grant funds will be used towards gaining federal certification for Salt & Time to become the first USDA-inspected salumi producer in Texas. This certification will allow Salt & Time to expand its cured meat operation and provide wholesale, Texas-made salumi to chefs and restaurants. Salt & Time was recognized as an honorable mention for the 2012 AFWA Grant Awards.
- Blacklands Malt, LLC (Leander) – Founder Brandon Ade is providing the first locally grown and malted barley in Texas to support the meteoric rise in craft beer production. A century ago, every brewery malted its own locally sourced grains. The drive to maximize profits and increase yields has resulted in grain producing conglomerates replacing local production. In September 2013, Blacklands Malt began the initial batch of the first locally malted barley in Texas. They will use grant funds to expand onsite storage capacity, source additional barley and hopefully bring one more regional farmer onboard as a producer. With Blacklands’ efforts, beer will soon be available made from 100% Texas grown malted barley.
- Skinny Lane Farm (Elgin) – A boutique, family-owned vegetable farm started in Spring 2011 by Bekki Callaway and Michael Moser, Skinny Lane Farm will use grant funds to create an ‘On-the-Farm’ cooking program, the first in the Elgin area. The farm will build a teaching kitchen to prepare just-harvested produce and host educational events that encourage local food production and healthy lifestyles. Skinny Lane Farm was recognized as an honorable mention for the 2012 AFWA Grant Awards.
AFWA 2013 Honorable Mentions
- Dewberry Hills Farm (Lexington) – Owners Jane and Terry Levan are widely recognized for providing “really good chicken” at local farmers markets and to chefs and restaurants. Their mission is to provide Central Texas with humanely raised, antibiotic-free, pasture chickens at an affordable price. Committed to good stewardship and environmental responsibility, the Levans hope to gain funding to install a rainwater collection system that will ultimately allow them to reduce stress on their local aquifer and expand their operations while maintaining lower costs for their chickens.
- Jester King Brewery (Austin) – An authentic farmhouse brewery committed to making artisan ales of great depth and character, Jester King Brewery fully embraces local terroir in brewing to give their beers a true sense of place. The brewery is the first in Texas and among the few on Earth to make spontaneously fermented beer. Founder/Brewer Jeffrey Stuffings hopes to gain funding to grow Jester King’s spontaneous fermentation program, which will be extremely unique and a first for the Texas Hill Country.
- Fresh Chefs Society (Austin) – An Austin nonprofit just over a year old, Fresh Chefs Society empowers youth transitioning out of foster care to take charge of their eating lifestyles and connecting those who are interested in a career in the culinary field. Through a series of unique “iCook” cooking classes, Fresh Chefs Society provides hands-on cooking experiences and basic knowledge needed to cook independently and healthily. The organization seeks funding to expand and strengthen culinary experiences of foster youth in Texas and better meet the true need of our community.
Grant funding was generated through direct support from the Austin Food & Wine Festival,Whole Foods Market®, Becker Vineyards, FreshPoint, ABC Bank and the CultureMap Tastemaker Awards.
The Alliance is the designated beneficiary of the Austin FOOD & WINE Festival, a three-day tribute to world-renown chefs and winemakers April 25 – 27, 2014.
For more information about the AFWA, visit AustinFoodWineAlliance.org, call 512.348.6847 or email Info@AustinFoodWineAlliance.org. Stay up to date with Austin Food & Wine Alliance happenings on Facebook http://facebook.com/austinfoodwinealliance and Twitter http://twitter.com/ATXFoodWineAlly