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Austin's Eat Drink Local Week celebration provides many events benefitting Urban Roots farm

Addie Broyles
abroyles@statesman.com

As Edible Austin grows, so does Eat Drink Local Week, the quarterly magazine's annual celebration of the Central Texas food community.

The magazine, which publisher Marla Camp launched in 2007, has become a fundraising machine, bringing in money for local nonprofits and helping promote cookbook authors and chefs with events throughout the year.

In June, the magazine's Edible Texas Wine Food Match raised $10,000 for the Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts, a food and wine educational center that will be built in Fredericksburg, and in May, Edible Communities, the network of more than 60 Edible magazines that includes Edible Austin, won a James Beard Award for Publication of the Year.

But Eat Drink Local Week, which starts Saturday, is Edible Austin's biggest effort: a collection of events that showcase the vibrant food community and raise money for Urban Roots, the local nonprofit program that uses agriculture to teach and empower teens. (Urban Roots started out under the umbrella of YouthLaunch but recently became an independent nonprofit. This year, in addition to Urban Roots, Edible Austin will give a portion of the proceeds to the Sustainable Food Center.) Last year, they raised more than $40,000 for Urban Roots, and this year, Camp says she hopes to double that.

Throughout the week, more than 40 restaurants will offer special dishes made from all local ingredients, but the big news is that eight Central Texas' chefs — David Bull, Bryce Gilmore, Sibby Barrett, Jesse Griffiths, Terry Thompson-Anderson, Zack Northcutt, Will Packwood and the staff of Cocina Alegre, a cooking and nutrition branch of the Sustainable Food Center — are participating in an online auction, the winners of which get a personalized dinner for eight.

As always, the Eat Drink Local Week events kick off with the Urban Farm Bicycle Tour on Saturday ($30, free for children younger than 16), a self-guided tour which takes cyclists from Bicycle Sport Shop, the SFC Farmers' Market Downtown or the Triangle to 20 urban farms and community and school gardens. After the tour, Springdale Farm is hosting a pig roast and harvest dinner ($30) at 4 p.m. Saturday.

On Sunday morning at 11, learn about local chocolatiers and coffee roasters at the Coffee and Chocolate Festival ($25), which will take place at Texas Coffee Traders, 1400 E. Fourth St.

Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson, who have been sustainable agriculture advocates and pioneers since long before most omnivores knew they had a dilemma, are giving two sold-out talks on Sunday at Stateside at the Paramount.

The Alamo Drafthouse is serving a multicourse BeneFeast dinner to go with "Moonstruck" ($70) at 7 p.m. Monday, and from 4 to 9 p.m. Dec. 7 , you can sample food and beverages from local chefs and stock up on gifts from local vendors and artisans at the Better Bites of Austin Holiday Fair at the Domain (free admission).

At 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8 , cocktail and spirits enthusiasts will convene at the grand ballroom at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center for the annual Drink Local Night ($35), which for the first time will incorporate the Official Drink of Austin contest, a former Austin Convention and Visitor's Bureau event that had waned in recent years.

Eat Drink Local Week comes to a close Saturday, Dec. 10, with the Local Brew Fest ($20), an event showcasing the best craft beer made in and around Austin, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Black Star Co-op, 7020 Easy Wind Drive.

Information, tickets and VIP passes ($150) are available at edibleaustin.com/eatdrink

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