The Austin Food & Wine Alliance grants just keep growing.
In the seven years since this local nonprofit starting giving away money to local culinary innovators, the beneficiary of the Austin Food & Wine Festival has given away more than $250,000 to dozens of Central Texas food businesses and nonprofit organizations.
At a ceremony earlier this week at the Fairmont Austin, nine local winners were granted $60,000 for their businesses and special projects. The biggest winner of the night was Barton Springs Mill, the first Austin-area flour mill since the late 1880s, which took home $15,000, the largest single grant in AFWA's history.
The Multicultural Refugee Coalition won a $10,000 grant to support New Leaf Agriculture, a paid-apprentice program that trains refugees in Central Texas in organic and sustainable farming practices and helps them expand production of plants traditionally eaten and highly desired in refugee communities. Foodways Texas took home a grant for $7,500 to document the history of the modern Texas wine industry, and Bee Tree Farm won $10,000 to produce two farmstead cheeses, whole goat milk halloumi and whole goat milk skyr, two cheeses not made by any other artisan producer in the southern United States.
Lost Pines Yaupon Tea received $5,000 to continue making a tea from sustainably and wild-harvested yaupon from the Lost Pines area in Bastrop, and for the first year, Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion Grant went to a local chef who "follows his/her dreams without compromise and whose inspiration and vision have similarly contributed to the American roots narrative by leaving a distinctive mark on culinary culture." This inaugural $5,000 award went to Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due.
A statewide initiative called Texas High School BBQ Cookers Association won a $2,500 grant to create high school barbecue team competitions, and Zanzenberg Farm in Kerr County received $2,500 to continue raising heritage pigs and teaching classes on butchery and regenerative farming. Urban Roots won a $2,500 grant for a digital agriculture course that is supported by hands-on time at the East Austin farm.
“We are continually amazed by the cool and outstanding projects that are happening in our community,” said Cathy Cochran-Lewis, grant chair and board vice president, in a release. “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 Central Texas. It’s an extraordinary honor to be able to help these projects come to fruition.”