For six years, the Austin Food & Wine Alliance has given away tens of thousands of dollars to local food businesses and non-profits, and this year, they’ll be giving away the biggest amount yet.
Last year, the organization gave away $27,500 to five local groups, but this year, they are planning to award $50,000 in grants at a ceremony in early February of next year.
Chefs, farmers, winemakers, food artisans and nonprofits are invited to apply for the grants, and the application window is open now through December 1. You can find the form online at austinfoodwinealliance.org.
The alliance distributes the awards based on innovation and impact in the community, and past recipients have included the state’s first organic apple orchard (Argus Cidery), a unique food preservation project for a mobile kitchen and traveling canning museum (Confituras), the first USDA-inspected salumi producer in Texas (Salt & Time Butcher Shop & Salumeria), the state’s first locally grown and malted barley to support craft beer production (Blacklands Malt), a unique volunteer program teaching farming skills to diverse populations and culinary students (New Farm Institute at Green Gate Farms) and Austin’s first and only community-supported bakeshop (Miche Bread).
Also new this year, AFWA will give three named grants will be specifically given to recognize and support special projects: a $5,000 grant to a woman-owned business with The Gina Burchenal Grant, honoring AFWA president Gina Burchenal, a former Austin chef/caterer, and provided by Burchenal and her husband, Ken Burchenal; a $5,000 grant awarded to a small artisan business focusing on fresh/organic product, named The Whole Foods Market Grant and provided by Whole Foods Market’s Southwest Region; and The Premiere Events Community Grant, in its second year, which provides a $2,500 grant to a nonprofit organization or educationally-focused project.
Last year’s winners included Keep Austin Fed, a bootstrapped nonprofit that diverts food waste from Austin restaurants and grocery stores to feed the city’s hungry, SRSLY Chocolate, Austin’s only bean-to-bar chocolate company and La Flaca, an urban garden initiative that transforms spaces to grow food and not lawns.
AFWA also hosts an annual culinary arts career conference for local high school students, and the grants are funded by the Austin Food & Wine Festival and events like the upcoming Wine & Swine Annual Pig Roast on Sunday, Nov. 19 at Camp Mabry. Tickets are available online.