4/30/2013 10:16:00 AM

Is Austin’s Food System Working? Experts Say No

On Monday night a panel of food policy experts discussed “food justice and the local food economy.” Food historian Robyn Metcalfe explores these issues and others on a daily basis at UT’s Food Lab, but now others are taking notice too.

At the top of the list on the panel was access to food, with experts like Heather Frambach, the urban agriculture planner at the Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Community Garden for the City of Austin and moderator Paula McDermott, a member of the Austin Sustainable Food Policy Board, noting that East Austin is the most limited.

Anyone who drives through the East Side has probably noticed the plethora of gentrified grocery stores (the transformation of Quickie Pickie into a gastropub is the most recent example). But that hasn’t necessarily changed anything for the majority of residents. As Frambach said,
“In Austin I think there’s a beautiful, wonderful growing local food movement here, but it hasn’t really necessarily translated into actual food access,” Frambach said. “Poverty is the root issue here, and job creation is one of the major tools that we’re going to use to fix the food system.”


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