Happy New Year!

Jan 9, 2014

fbff_post-news_mapHappy New Year, dear East Feasters!

Thank you to each and every one of you for the bright ideas, love, and action you’ve contributed in 2013 to create a more healthy, sustainable and just food system in Austin.  We’ve got momentous milestones to celebrate, and great action opportunities to keep the momentum moving forward!

Here’s a snapshot of 3 key action times – click on each to learn more!

  1. Campaign City Council to put the Festival Beach Food Forest on the Map on January 30!
  2. Celebrate Martin Luther King Day with a Peace Through Pie Social!
  3. Share with us what you’d like to contribute to East Feast in 2014!

Momentous Milestones of 2013

In 2013, the East Feast Coalition really gained momentum, united by a vision of diverse neighbors from all parts of East Austin celebrating abundant local food and community along the shores of Lady Bird Lake. Thanks to the efforts of our growing grassroots coalition, we have accomplished a great deal as a Coalition:

  • Sustainable, edible landscaping is now a guiding principle in the proposed 90-acre master plan for the Holly Shores/Edward Rendon Sr. Park, a plan that will come before City Council for a vote on January 30!  (Details on how you can help are included below)
  • The Festival Beach Food Forest went from a seed of an idea to an exciting plan for Austin’s first food forest in a public park (and second in the nation), through extensive community conversations at public meetings and workshops.
  • The Festival Beach Community Garden continues to thrive, and this year created a community membership option for those of us who would love to join and support FBCG but are not up for their own individual plot.
  • Keeling Middle School, an East Feast member, expanded their school gardens established a mini-food forest with great support from the community, including neighbors, Sustainable Food Center, Keep Austin Beautiful, and the Austin Permaculture Guild.
  • The Blackshear Elementary School Garden grew in strength with the support of Blackshear Bridge, a new organization that supports environmental and economic sustainability and academic excellence at Blackshear Elementary School and in the surrounding community of Blackshear-Prospect Hill. (http://blackshearbridge.org/)
  • Student and faculty leaders at Huston-Tillotson University planted their first campus vegetable garden, and are boldly taking on the green transformation of their campus. Check out their inspiring video, which recently helped student leaders from Green Is The New Black win $75,000 from the Ford Foundation for their sustainability efforts. Follow the at  http://greenisthenewblack.org/

Moving Forward in 2014

#1 – Campaign City Council to put the Festival Beach Food Forest on the Map on January 30!
Do you want to see food forests and sustainable edible landscaping in our public parks?  If you do….

  • Email to your City Council representatives today! (click here to reach them all at once, and check out a draft email here
  • Join us Jan 27, 6:30pm for a neighborhood Q&A meeting about the food forest, and help spread the word to East Austin neighbors*
  • Help us organize a creative and fun presentation to Council – share your ideas on email or facebook, and/or join us Jan 27, 8pm to organize!*
  • Join us on January 30 for a party at City Hall to show  your support!

fbff_post-Food_Forest_on_Master_Plan_Map*Meeting location TBD – email EastFeast2022@gmail.com for updates.

We also can provide fliers if you are up for distributing them in nearby neighborhoods and watering holes.

Here’s a sample email for Council that you can cut and paste here to reach all members:

Dear Council Members:

On January 30, you have the opportunity to make history when you vote on the Holly Shores/Edward Rendon Sr. Park Master Plan.  I encourage you to support two specific features included in the proposed plan:

  1. Inclusion of sustainable edible landscaping as the 9th overarching master plan goal, and
  2. Placement of sustainable edible landscaping on the map at Festival Beach (next to the thriving Festival Beach Community Garden by the RBJ Center)

By supporting the Inclusion of these specific features of the proposed Holly Shores Master Plan, you have the opportunity to:

  • Make history, by establishing Austin’s first food forest in a public park (and the second in the nation, after Seattle
  • Respond to a clear community priority voiced by the many citizens who participated in the planning process
  • Support a growing movement of people committed to making healthy local food available to all people, in East Austin and beyond, through the East Feast Coalition.

Please support sustainable edible landscaping in the Holly Shores Master Plan on January 30 and demonstrate your commitment to growing food and community.

Thank you,

Feel free to adjust of course!  And, if you’re up for writing a letter of community support of the food forest for our permit application to PARD, please let us know. We’ll be submitting that application this month!

We’ll be hosting a neighborhood meeting on Jan 27 where we will also organize a mass showing of support on Jan 30’s City Council meeting.

#2 – Celebrate Martin Luther King Day at a Peace Through Pie party!
Each year we celebrate the MLK National Holiday through a national day of service, a worthy and fitting tribute to one of our fbff_post-PeaceThroughPienation’s greatest activists for peace. While hard work is essential to realize The Dream, we think pie is, too.  We can create peace by celebrating and nourishing each other over good food, too. To that end, East Feast partner Luanne Stovall started the idea of “Peace Through Pie” – a movement to foster a culinary tradition on the Martin Luther King Holiday by hosting pie socials with a “Peace Pie” at the center of the table, and peace at the center of the conversation. Pies can be as diverse as the people who gather – savory pies, empanadas, samosas, and more…

This MLK Day, East Feast partner Blackshear Bridge will be hosting a Peace Through Pie Social, from their spot on the MLK Day parade route. If you’d like to help organize, please drop us a line!  We’ll be posting a facebook event invite soon, too.

Do you want to host a Peace Through Pie social?  Anyone can host, and the event can be as small or creative as you like!  Two or more wiling participants and ANY kind of savory or sweet “Peace Pie” offering can be a Peace Through Pie Social! Many groups are opting to share pizza pie and meet up at a local pizza parlor or bakery for their social. To make it official, simply log into the website and register your event on the Community Calendar. Check out the Peace Through Pie website for all sorts of resources, including great customizable fliers, inspiring stories and more!

#3 – Share with us what you’d like to contribute to East Feast this year!
There are so many ways you can support East Feast and the Festival Beach Food Forest…
Some possibilities include helping East Feast:

  • Host community workshops to engage neighborhood schools and community members in the East Feast vision and food forest planning projects
  • Apply for grants and foundation funding for the food forest
  • Launch a crowd-sourced fundraising campaign
  • Engage local businesses and sponsors
  • Video and photographic documentation of the project
  • Social media support
  • Cultivating plants for use in the food forest
  • Other ideas?

Please email EastFeast2022@gmail.com to volunteer your gifts!

Thanks again to all of you. We look forward to connecting soon and making great strides together in 2014!


Elizabeth, on behalf of the East Feast Core Team



A scene from East Feast 2013, Fall Harvest Celebration
“I am grateful for all of the rain. The gardens and trees have been blessed with love.”

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