Earth Day Every Day! – Fairs, Festivals, Food Forests and more!

May 7, 2014


In this installment of East Feast News, feast on these juicy updates (click on the links for details):

  1. Fixin’ to Feast Saturday, May 10: Kealing Gardens Spring Picnic
  2. East Side Memorial High School – Permablitz!  Sat-Sun, May 10-11
  3. Raise your voice! City Council Update: Next Public Hearing is May 22nd
  4. PARD and Urban Forestry Roundtable Dialogue update
  5. East Austin Garden Fair – Update from April 12th
  6. Festival Beach Food Forest featured at Farm to Cafeteria Conference
  7. Earth Day! East Feasters live it up!
  8. News from Our Ecosystem

Looking to connect, grow, and celebrate this weekend?
Sat, May 10, join in the fun at the Kealing Gardens Spring Picnic!
Sat and Sun, May 10-11, plant a perennial food garden at East Side Memorial High School!

Looking for a way to change your world?
If you want to get involved with a grassroots effort to make organically grown food accessible to the masses – our Fundraising and Outreach teams are meeting bi-weekly. Email us, here, for more details.

Fixin’ to Feast May 10 with Kealing Gardens!

The inaugural Kealing Gardens Spring Picnic & Peace Through Pie Social will take place May 10, 2014 from 10 am – 3 pm at the  Kealing Middle School campus (1607 Pennsylvania Avenue, 78702).   This potluck picnic will celebrate 3 years of building the Kealing Gardens and the diversity fbff_post-blackshearbridgeof communities, cultures and cuisines represented at Kealing Middle School and the surrounding area. It will be a FREE, fun and relaxing afternoon where you can meet your neighbors and build community through shared food and great stories
The picnic will feature: gardening and cooking demos; Community Recipe & Cookbook Project; a  Community Quilting Project (Check out the Blackshear Bridge Square to the right!) & Quilting Bee; an interactive historic mapping project of buildings in the area; music; old fashioned picnic games for all to play (adults and kids); a communal potluck lunch at 12:30 with conversation and storytelling activities; booths with information on gardening, composting, food preparation, etc.
Want to lend your organizing abilities to help make this inaugural event a tremendous success?
  • Help create a ZERO WASTE potluck? A poltuck with delicious healthy food? (
  • Contribute to the Community Recipe and Cookbook Project? (
  • Support the Community Quilting Project?

Email us for more info!
Or, contact the event mastermind, Nine Francois ( or 512-391-1591)

Permablitz on the East Side!

This May 10-11th please join East Feast Coalition member, Austin Permaculture Guild, at Eastside Memorial High School to help students install the perennial food garden they designed this semester with EcoRise Youth Innovations and learn how to do so yourself!

The Austin Permaculture Guild led the first food forest installation at an East Austin middle school back in September at Kealing, and this will be the first high school!

Join the team in creating multiple berm and swale systems to catch rain water from the roof as well as a keyhole garden bed designed by the students. These will both all be planted with native and cultivated fruit and nut trees, nitrogen fixing farmer’s trees, perennial herbs, fruits and veggies, summer cover crops, and a drip irrigation system.

Schedule will run Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 – 5pm (including breakfast and lunch).
Check out a detailed schedule and RSVP on their Facebook page!

We look forward to yet another one of these transformational events and hope you will join us in the spread of permaculture design and practice!

City Council May 22: Vision for Holly Shores

On Thursday, May 22, City Council will vote on the proposed long-term vision for 90-acres of beloved neighborhood parkland on the northeastern shores of Lady Bird Lake.  Come support neighbors who are advocating for food justice and preserving our rich neighborhood character.

Currently, there is strong support for the food forest project, it is a small part of the overall plan. Neighborhood activists are concerned that other aspects of the plan jeopardize the park’s natural tranquility and neighborhood character:

  • Designation as a Metropolitan Park (neighbors advocate a District Park designation)
  • Costly new 2-way streets added around the former power plant site (neighbors are concerned this impedes pedestrian and ADA access, while also threatening water quality)
  • Costly pedestrian bridge connecting the ball fields to the new south-shore condos (neighbors support the two other bridges in the plan, at Pleasant Valley and IH-35)

More information about the plan is available here:

If you would like to send our city council members a message of support for the food forest project and/or to encourage them to consider some of the neighborhood concerns identified above, here is a handy link:

PARD, Urban Forestry, & Urban Patchwork Collaboration

On April 15, East Feast permaculture design team leaders had a fantastic roundtable dialogue with an inspiring assembly of leaders from at least seven different City of Austin programs/departments who are essential to the future of food forests in Austin public spaces.  The vision, critical questions, and constructive recommendations afforded by this group’s diverse perspectives will help the Festival Beach Food Forest project reach its full potential, and make it easier for similar project throughout the city. We would like to extend special thanks to Meredith Gray of the Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Community Garden Program (SUACG), within the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) for convening this remarkable discussion.

We are delighted that the Urban Forestry Program (within PARD) particularly wants to collaborate with us on strategic planning for the food forest. This planning for the future of growing food in Austin includes our wonderful Paige Hill of Urban Patchwork, who is working with the city on an expanded “menu” of Central Texas-friendly edibles to include in a future publication of an Edible/Herbal Grow Green plant guide. Anyone wanting to assist with its development can email

East Austin Garden Fair  @ Zaragoza Recreation Centerfbff_post-east_austin_garden_fair_jesse_kids

The annual East Austin Garden Fair on April 12th was a huge success! The Travis County Master Gardeners estimates that over 400 people attended the fair which included 97 young people. Jesse French, our outreach team coordinator, reported that it felt great to get out there and talk to people!

Jessica Hildreth and Alex Castaneda also engaged gardeners in conversation about food forests and led kids in their own planting activity. The food forest project team had a warm reception, a steady stream of visitors to the table and lots of great conversations. About 50 – 75 flyers were given out as we talked to about 150 people plus the kids activity led by Alex Castaneda was a hit!
The most common question was the location of the site, which we were able to show using the map on our new bi-lingual flyer (thanks to Mitch Wright’s wife for the 11th hour translation services)!

Farm to Cafeteria Conference

fbff_post-powering_up2014East Feast leader Alexandra Castaneda proudly represented the Festival Beach Community Garden and Food Forest at the 7th National Farm to Cafeteria Conference: Powering Up.  Alexandra gave conference attendees a tour of the Festival Beach Community Garden and a brief history of the Holly Shores Master Plans, how she got involved, and how the food forest idea evolved out of the first East Feast dinner. She shared our mission, goals, story boards and talked about permaculture and Central Texas plant guilds. With this innovative culture shift in food access, we have food people around the country rooting for us!

The Sustainable Food Center hosted the Farm to Cafeteria Conference, which convened more than 1,100 stakeholders working to source local food for institutional cafeterias and foster a culture of food and agricultural literacy in their communities! Visit for more information about future conferences and to find resources and photos from this year’s event.

Earth Day Every Day!

What a party it was at the third Austin Earth Day Festival, Saturday, April 26th at the Mueller Hangar!

East Feast Coalition members featured prominently among a huge variety of music and entertainment, speakers, demonstrations, food trailers and more. Several East Feast Coalition members were a hit at the fair, winning great awards!

Festival Beach Food Forest core team members joined Paige Hill and the Urban Patchwork team to answer questions and get more folks interested in the food forest. Many thanks to Julian Rosenberg, Donna West, Mitch Wright, Jessica Hildreth and fbff_posts-bee_abodesElizabeth Walsh for field questions and spreading the food forest love.  the whole Urban Patchwork team took away the award.  The joint Urban Patchwork and East Feast booth won the prize for  Most useful NEW information!  Did you know that solitary bees account for the majority of pollinator bees, yet we focus almost entirely on hive-dwelling honey bees? Paige had some hand-crafted bee abodes designed specifically for these solitary bees.
It was an awesome day and we felt all too happy to share a tent with Paige and the other fantastic ladies of Urban Patchwork (Thanks again, Paige!!).

Nearby, team leaders and East Feast Coalition leaders Zachary Herigodt and Eric Goff led some cross-fest, food forest solidarity for their respective projects, YardFarm Austin and East Side Compost Pedallers. The East Side Compost Pedallers took the prize for Most Helpful & Fun, with their bike rides, free bananas and peel-tossing game. They also helped others with booth load in.

fbff_post-greenisthenewblackHuston-Tillotson’s Green is the New Black DUMPSTER was also proudly representing – and took home the gold!

Whether the measure was number of people cheerfully working the booth, amount of effort and energy expended to set up the booth (which included the re-location of Professor Dumpster’s year-long home to be on site at Earth Day, or number of activities provided, this crew was a festival leader on each front.
8 Huston-Tilotson students plus Dr. Jeff Wilson spent the day enthusiastically sharing their project, demonstrating low-impact living and providing great photo opps with the dumpster.

News from Our Ecosystem

Blackshear Bridge – springing forward!fbff_post-blackshearbridge-springingforward

The Board Members of Blackshear Bridge are delighted to share with you the Schoolyard planning that our member Diana Su led this Spring 2014.  
Here’s a beautiful video of Diana’s design process for Blackshear Elementary School’s emerging sustainable Schoolyard design.

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