Think Austin’s food scene is thriving? At Food for Thought events, learn why the answer isn’t so clear

If you think Austin has a thriving food scene, you only know part of the story.

Austin’s food scene might look like it’s thriving, but it’s not thriving for everyone. At several Food for Thought ATX events this week, you can learn more about food access and insecurity. Jay Janner / American-Statesman

A third of kids who live in Austin are considered food insecure, and so are 25 percent of the adults who live here. A lack of affordable housing and living wages mean food industry employees are struggling to stay in Austin, despite incessant news reports about new restaurants that are opening and the latest 10 top list that the city has landed on.

But anyone who has looked with a critical eye on Austin’s food system knows that inequities abound and that the ecosystem is more fragile than you might think.

This week, the Entrepreneurs Foundation and Blackbaud are hosting Food for Thought ATX, an annual spring service week that encourages tech workers to volunteer at local nonprofits during the day, but some of the evening events are open to the public.

Raj Patel, a research professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT Austin and recipient of the James Beard Foundation s Leadership Award, will speak at the Capital Factory at 4 p.m. on Monday. Contributed by Sheila Menezes

At 4 p.m. Monday, the Capital Factory, 701 Brazos Street, will host an afternoon of speakers, including Raj Patel and Erin Lentz, who oversaw the most comprehensive study of food access in Austin, and leaders from a handful of food nonprofits, including Derrick Chubbs of the Central Texas Food Bank, Ronda Rutledge of the Sustainable Food Center, Max Elliott of Urban Roots, Robyn Metcalfe of Food & City magazine and Edwin Marty with the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability. These leaders will give their insight into what is and isn’t working in the local food economy.

On Tuesday, Springdale Farm and Eden East are hosting a free networking event on the farm that starts at 6 p.m. and includes light bites and drinks, and on Thursday at 7 p.m., organizers are hosting a screening of the movie “Chef” at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Mobile Loaves & Fishes Community First! Village. Bring chairs and a blanket, and burgers, french fries, snacks and drinks will be available for purchase.

For the latest information about the events, go to foodforthoughtatx.com/schedule.


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