Austin's Sustainable Food Center finds new home

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by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist SCOTT MCKENNEY

kvue.com

Posted on September 16, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 16 at 5:40 PM

AUSTIN -- It's a major milestone for Austin's Sustainable Food Center. After 40 years, the organization finally has a place to call "home."

The center’s mission is to teach kids and adults how to grow and prepare nutritious foods at home and in community gardens across the city.

Now the organization is putting down roots in a brand new building in East Austin that will help it continue to grow and thrive.

“Our motto is 'grow, share, prepare,'” said Ronda Rutledge, the executive director. ”Having our own Center allows us to bring people to Austin who've been asking about our services for many, many years.”

The walls of the new space are adorned with colorful artwork and the names of those who've contributed to the cause. The facility will host cooking classes as well as gardener training and house the group's office space.

There's even enough space to set up a 2.3 acre community garden next door.

“Every bit of that land will be in food production and cultivation,” Rutledge said.

Years ago, SFC helped Anne Woods learn how to grow a bountiful garden. Now she helps teach others.  Woods says the new facility is key to reaching out to the community  and keeping up with the growing demand.

“Because we teach in community gardens people are able to see that broccoli really can grow here; tomatoes really can grow here,” Woods said. “Having someone that can kind of coach you through what does well and when it does well here is really key.”

With a permanent home in place, SFC hopes it will encourage people from all areas of the city to learn to grow local.

“It's really important for us to continue to reach our clients in the community, but it's also very clear that if we're going to fix this broken food system we're not just going to do it east of I-35,” Rutledge said.

The new space officially opens next week.

Go here fore more information about the Sustainable Food Center.

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