The Austin Food & Wine Alliance gave away $50,000 to local food businesses and non-profits at its annual awards ceremony at Mercury Hall on Thursday night, the largest total yet in the organization’s six-year history.
In all, the beneficiary of the Austin Food & Wine Festival and host of several well-loved annual events has given out $192,500 to Austin culinary innovators in support of initiatives that give back to the community. AFWA also hosts an annual culinary arts career conference for local high school students.
The eight grant recipients this year were chosen by AFWA’s grant selection committee, which elected to also give an honorable mention.
Winning the top prize of $12,500 was Snodgrass Farms in Georgetown, a farm that will use the money to finish an on-site meat processing facility and support its ongoing veterans program. Farm manager Tessa Snodgrass, who served in the military for 20 years, built an outreach program to help fellow vets with stress management.
Fond Bone Broth, a food company from Alysa and Isaac Seeland of San Antonio, won the $10,000 grant to expand its refrigerated shipping and e-commerce capabilities. The company aims to form a Foodmakers Freedom Alliance, a nonprofit allowing small-scale startups to access food processing experts and equipment without having to individually purchase equipment on their own.
Dripping Springs’ Hills of Milk and Honey Farm, which won a $7,500 grant, hosts camps, classes and tours for everyone from teens to adults. The grant will be used to expand the teaching garden and rain water harvesting system and to support a summer camp.
Skull & Cakebones Bakery, which won the H-E-B Quest for Texas Best competition in August, won a $5,000 grant sponsored by Whole Foods Market. The company plans to use the money to extend its line of breads using locally milled flour.
Longtime Austin caterer Gina Burchenal and her husband, Ken, donated $5,000 for a grant to be awarded to a female-owned business, and the winner was Joi Chevalier’s The Cook’s Nook, a culinary incubator and shared commercial kitchen in East Austin. In addition to a 2,000-square foot commercial kitchen, the facility features a coworking and event space, which will host community programs that can be funded by the grant.
LeRoy & Lewis BBQ Truck and Catering won a $5,000 grant for buying cold storage space and equipment to grow its whole-animal butchery program.
With 10 acres in eastern Travis County, Farmshare Austin is educating new farmers through its 18-week training program, and with a $2,500 Premiere Event Community Grant, the non-profit plans to build a comprehensive Central Texas farmer training curriculum.
Also winning $2,500 was Yard to Market Cooperative, an organization that helps more than 50 local backyard gardeners and “microscale” farmers sell their produce. The grant will fund cold storag, provide grower and community education on innovative practices such as mushroom cultivation, aquaponics and beekeeping.
Mark Rashap’s KOOP radio show, “Another Bottle Down,” won AFWA’s honorable mention. The show airs at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays on 91.7FM.