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As Austin farms face devastating loss, farmers markets and relief funds open to help them

Addie Broyles
Austin 360
Boggy Creek Farm started the post-freeze recovery on Friday. The East Austin urban farm says its Saturday farmstand will be open.

Central Texas farmers have been devastated by this week's freeze and power outages, and local organizations are already finding new ways to get financial relief to farmers who need it.

One way that people can help farmers whose winter crops have been decimated in the past week is to shop at local farmers markets, which will be open this weekend. Many are waiving booth fees for farmers, who will be bringing produce they harvested before the freeze and any other shelf-stable products they sell, such as pickles. 

"Some vendors will not have anything to sell at the market for weeks as they start over and re-plant," says Nora Chovanec, deputy director of Texas Farmers Markets. Others will have limited inventory.  ⁠

More:Which Austin-area grocery stores are open during Texas winter storm, power crisis

Here are more details about some of the major markets and farmer relief funds.

The Texas Farmers Markets at Lakeline and Mueller will be open this weekend, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, respectively.

Texas Farmers Market has an ongoing Ag Support Fund, which helps farmers who have experienced some kind of medical or natural disaster, and it is also working with a statewide organization to offer assistance to farmers who have lost crops, animals or infrastructure during this week's weather.

Both Sustainable Food Center farmers markets will be open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and they've waived booth fees for vendors.

The Sustainable Food Center has established a relief fund for Central Texas farmers and ranchers to help recoup some of the losses. The nonprofit, which runs the downtown and Sunset Valley farmers markets, is accepting donations online, which it will distribute to farmers in need.

The Barton Creek Farmers Market is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at the Barton Creek Square mall. 

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Boggy Creek, Eden East and Green Gate Farms farmstands will be open on Saturday. 

Slow Food Austin also has a Farmer Relief Fund, which gives $500 grants to local farmers. They're collecting donations online.

A coalition of farm organizations around Texas — Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Grow North Texas, Texas Center for Local Food, Central Texas Young Farmers Coalition, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, UT Rio Grande Valley — has set up the Texas Farmer Winter Storm Relief fund, a statewide fundraiser to provide cash relief for small- and medium-sized farms, prioritizing Black and Latino farmers and family farms that grow using sustainable methods. Applications will be available next week.

Central Texas Young Farmers Coalition president Carolina Mueller says she expects many individual farms will set up GoFundMe accounts, too.