Earlier this moth, Eat Out For Good teamed up with Buick to produce a lively charitable event at Parkside to benefit Urban Roots. Now that’s a whole lot of Austin goodness crammed into one sentence. Let’s break it down a bit to pay homage to these great contributors to Austin’s culture and community.
What Is Eat Out For Good?
Eat Out For Good provides weekly online giveaways and Supper Club events to raise funding for Urban Roots. Austinites can sign up for local restaurant freebies by using an app on the Eat Out For Good website. Each restaurant donates one dollar for every person who enters their contest, and giveaway winners receive quality prizes. For example, Searsucker recently gave away a free happy hour for 10 people, and Wu Chow gifted a free dinner for four.
If Eat Out For Good stands for one quintessential idea, then it’s this one from their website: “Good food has a way of bringing people together to create deeper, more emotional connections. At the heart of these experiences, there exists a camaraderie and sense of community aspiring for a greater good.” Believing this, the organization strives to involve acclaimed eateries to create awareness for Urban Roots and to encourage Austinites to eat out at local restaurants.
What Is Urban Roots?
Urban Roots is an Austin nonprofit that provides 14-17 year olds with paid internships. Interns gather food, tend to plants, serve the community and take on leadership roles at a 3.5-acre farm in East Austin.
I asked Development Director Emily Mares what excites teens about the opportunity to get involved with farming. She responded, “We see our youth get excited when they get to try new veggies for the first time–we call those ‘food firsts’! There’s nothing like seeing them pull a carrot out of the ground for the first time, dusting it off on their jeans, and taking a big bite. Or even trying something more exotic like kohlrabi or a persimmon. We encourage them to try cooking with their veggies by designating a ‘veggie of the week’ that they take home to cook. Then we have a taste test where they bring the dish that they cooked at home back to the group at the end of the week.”
Community is extremely important to Urban Roots. Over 1,000 adults volunteer during a year on the farm, and the relationships made between the young people are extraordinary. According to Mares, the youth “find a safe space and form friendships that are truly transformational.” Over 25,000 pounds of food are grown from the hard work of Urban Roots interns and other team members. Forty percent of this bounty is donated to local food pantries and soup kitchens!
How Was the Latest Eat Out For Good Event?
I was lucky enough to attend the June Supper Club at Parkside. Since Buick sponsors Eat Out For Good, they provided a driver to pick me up and tote me downtown to the event.
Upon arriving at Parkside, the dinner group met upstairs for a four-course meal that included a salad of watermelon and feta, and roasted pork shoulder (or tasty risotto for vegetarians like me), with family-style mac and cheese and a lemon tart for dessert. The flavors were as wonderful as the presentation, and my fellow event-goers were top-notch, as well.
After the evening was over, Buick left a new convertible Cascada for me to test drive over the next week. There’s nothing quite like driving to and from the Greenbelt with the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin!
How Can You Get Involved?
To get hands-on with Urban Roots, you can visit the farm on (most) Tuesdays and Saturdays, when you’ll be lead in volunteer work by youth interns. You’ll leave with veggies and Chipotle gift cards, not to mention a new connection with an Austin nonprofit and an admiration for the young leaders of Urban Roots.
Urban Roots also sets up a booth at SFC’s Downtown Farmers’ Market every Saturday through July, so you can purchase homegrown produce.
@MadameKLM wants to know:
Where do you get locally-grown produce in Austin?