Keeping good food from going to waste is what drives the people who run Keep Austin Fed.

The volunteer-run nonprofit distributes extra food from restaurants and catering companies to Central Texas service organizations, which deliver it to the people they serve.

With an annual budget of less than $20,000, Keep Austin Fed rescues more than 50,000 pounds of food each month. Think what they could do with an extra $10,000.

Next year, they’ll get to do just that.

In 2014, Ira Kaplan, co-founder and events director for Keep Austin Fed, collected donated meals from the Snap Kitchen on Research Blvd. to deliver to a local service organization. Rodolfo Gonzalez / American-Statesman

At a ceremony tonight at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center, the Austin Food & Wine Alliance gave out more than $27,000 in grants to groups like Keep Austin Fed, the top winner of the night.

The nonprofit plans to use the money to hire part-time staff to coordinate the more than 200 volunteers who keep the organization running.

Miche Bread is a local bread subscription service whose founder, Sandeep Gyawali, won a grant to help bring mesquite flour to market. Contributed by Miche Bread

The other winners include: Miche Bread, the bread subscription service from baker extraordinaire Sandeep Gyawali, for $7,500 to go toward producing the first commercially available source of flour made from locally foraged mesquite; La Flaca Urban Gardens, whose founder Alejandra Rodriguez Boughton won a $5,000 grant to further her effort to transform underused urban spaces into sustainable gardens and microfarms; SRSLY Chocolate, which won $2,500 to buy a stone mill grinder the company can use to make more bean-to-bar chocolate, and capturing the first-ever Premiere Events Community Grant, the Austin Ed Fund for $2,500 to buy appliances and kitchen gear for local schools.

AFWA named Spun Ice Cream and LeRoy & Lewis as honorable mentions this year.


A reminder about the grant program, from a release:

The Alliance’s grant program is the first in the nation to provide funding to support culinary innovation that contributes to the local community. It is intended to support chefs; farmers; wine-, beer-, and spirits-makers; artisan producers; food-focused nonprofits; and educational groups. The grants align with the AFWA’s mission to foster education, awareness, and innovation in the Central Texas food and wine community.

Over the past five years, the Austin Food & Wine Alliance has given out $142,500 in grants and hosted dozens of events, including annual fundraisers, such as Wine & Swine and Live Fire. It also hosts a culinary conference every year for high school students pursuing careers in the food industry.

The organization is also the recipient of donations from the Austin Food & Wine Festival, which this year was canceled due to rain.