May 27, 2013

Announcing the Dove Springs Neighborhood Farm Stand

Who: Urban Roots and Sustainable Food Center
What: Dove Springs Neighborhood Farm Stand, featuring a Double Dollar Incentive Program
When: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. every Wednesday, June 5 through July 17
Where: Dove Springs Rec Center

This summer, the Sustainable Food Center is partnering with Urban Roots and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department – all whom are supporters of GO! Austin / VAMOS! Austin (GAVA) in Dove Springs – to host a Neighborhood Farm Stand in Dove Springs. The Neighborhood Farm Stand will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00p.m. every Wednesday beginning June 5 through July 17 at the Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Dr, 78744. The Neighborhood Farm Stand will feature fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables from the Urban Roots farm and other local farmers.

This Farm Stand will help make healthy food choices more accessible and also make healthy fruits and vegetables more affordable by doubling the value of SNAP (food stamp) benefits and Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (for WIC eligible families) vouchers. The Farm Stand is being launched as part of GAVA’s efforts to provide greater access to nutritious food while strengthening the food system in the Dove Springs community.

Families in and around the Dove Springs community can take advantage of the Double Dollar Incentive Program (Double DIP) by simply using their SNAP benefits to make purchases at the market – that means $1 can buy $2 worth of healthy, local fruits and veggies! Families eligible for WIC benefits can also pick up a $20 packet of Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) vouchers at the farm stand and receive an extra $20 in Double DIP. SFC and Urban Roots staff will be on site to help customers with SNAP, FMNP, and Double DIP.

The Neighborhood Farm Stand will serve as a source of locally grown fruits and vegetables, and will also provide a means of connecting with more residents. Shoppers at the Farm Stand can learn how to get involved with other aspects of the GAVA initiative, such as community gardening, other farmers’ markets, and healthier food in retail stores. Information about activities and programs offered by the Dove Springs Recreation Center will also be available.

About GAVA
GAVA is a coalition of residents, community leaders and nonprofits that share a common interest in improving the health of the Dove Springs community through increased access to and participation in physical activity and improved nutrition. GAVA supporters have agreed to align their resources and expertise for greater positive impact, especially as it relates to the health of Dove Springs-area children.

May 22, 2013

Words from the Food and Health Experts

“Making a few changes to how we eat can be simple, affordable, and convenient, and it’s a step towards improving our quality of life...and even saving a life! There are many free resources in our community, and neighborhood health improvement projects you can can participate in such as Go! Austin / Vamos! Austin.”

Andrew Smiley, Deputy Director of the Sustainable Food Center, has over 20 years experience working in sustainable agriculture and food systems, including on-farm production, agricultural marketing, micro-enterprise development, food journalism, farmer training and even food-service management.

“Shopping at a farmers market is a great way to be involved in your community and to know where and how your food is grown. Once you taste the difference of freshly picked fruits and vegetables, you’ll be hooked. There are also programs to help make it more affordable, such as WIC and SNAP.”

Growing up in a Mexican household and originally from South Texas, Claudia Harding (left) earned her Masters of Public Administration in San Antonio. During this time she read Jane Goodall’s Harvest for Hope and learned about the food we produce and consume. She is the Outreach Coordinator for the SFC Farmers’ Market East.

“For people trying to get to a healthier weight, good nutrition is super important! Because eating food with lots of calories is so tempting, it’s very hard to get to a healthy weight with physical activity alone. Good nutrition is even more important for our kids, as we want them to build strong bones and healthy brains! As Hippocrates, father of medicine said: Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”

Dr. Stephen Pont is a physician at the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas (Seton Family of Hospitals) and is medical director for AISD’s Student Health Services.

Watch the video!

May 20, 2013

Living Simply and Naturally

Josefina is married with eight children, ranging from 11 to 35 years old, but she and her family are all in great health. She is very active on her mini-farm in Dove Springs where she tends a vegetable garden, chicken, and sheep. What’s the secret to her youthful look and energy? It’s the way she eats! She used to have health issues, but since changing the way she eats, she feels healthy and no longer takes medications.

Josefina feels organic food is healthier because the vegetables are grown without pesticides and the meat raised without hormones and pesticides. Her family hasn’t been sick in over 10 years. “We may be spending more on food, but we save money by not going to to the doctor often,” says Josefina. “You can’t put a price tag on having good health.”

Watch the video!

May 15, 2013

Learning How to Grow and Eat Veggies

The De la Cruz family has been living in Dove Springs for 15 years. When they first learned about the Urban Organics community garden, they were excited. “We thought it opened new doors to learning how to grow food and learning how to eat healthy,” says Jessica (left, next to her mom).

“Having the kids plant their own vegetables was a good way for getting them – and us – to try new vegetables!” she adds. Being part of a community garden is a way for them to access fresh, organic veggies for free. It’s also helped them become more physically active and spend time together as a family – kids, parents and grandparents!

Watch the video!

May 13, 2013

Passing Down Healthy Traditions

Manfredo (from rural Bolivia), and his wife Karin (who grew up on a homestead farm in Michigan), along with their two children, have been living in Dove Springs for just a few years. They are growing a backyard vegetable garden with green beans, lettuce, corn, strawberries and cooking herbs.

“With the money you spend on fast food, you can buy the basics at the supermarket,” says Manfredo. “I am showing my kids the flavors of my home country. They like all kinds of vegetables, and they’re starting to help us cook meals. To make a positive change in our community, we need to set a good example for our children.”

Watch the videos!

May 8, 2013

More info on eating healthy...coming soon!

Stay tuned...we'll soon have lots more information about how to eat healthy in a fun and affordable way. We'll be showing video-stories featuring residents from our own Dove Springs community - they'll share their ideas and experiences with you.

You can stay updated on our news and blog posts, as well as receive tips and inspirations, by "liking" our Facebook page:

In the meantime, enjoy this brief tour of the Eguez Hopkins Family's backyard vegetable garden:

What is YOUR healthy eating promise? 

  • I pledge to grow 2-3 kinds of veggies at home or a community garden. 
  • I pledge to shop at a farmers market 3-4 times a month.
  • I pledge to stop buying processed food (chips, cookies, sodas) and to buy more fresh produce, meats, and dairy at the grocery store.
  • I pledge to cook for my family at home at least 4-5 times a week. 
Pick one or more pledges and let us know!
  1. Post a comment on our blog: 
  2. Post a comment to our page:
  3. Send us an email:

May 6, 2013

Eating Healthy

Eating healthy foods is the best medicine to prevent chronic disease in your family.

The rising rate of obesity in Dove Springs is currently threatening our lives, especially our children’s, and it’s leading to a growing incidence of diet-related chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other experts as one of the most important things we can do to be healthy, reverse the obesity trend, and fight diet-related disease.

Ways You and Your Family Can Eat Healthy

Here are some easy and inexpensive ideas on how you and your family can eat healthy while saving time, knowing where your food comes from, getting more than your money’s worth in terms of quality...and even soaking in plenty of sun, fresh air and doing exercise while you’re at it!


It’s hard to beat the convenience of plucking a sweet juicy tomato, picking crisp green lettuce leaves, or cutting a spicy pepper right from your own back yard! Get FREE seeds, compost, and gardening supplies, and FREE Basic Organic Gardening classes, from Sustainable Food Center’s Grow Local program. 512-236-0074

Community gardens such as Urban Organics (5015 Maufrais) or River City Youth Foundation (5209 S. Pleasant Valley) also provide spaces for growing healthy food – learn gardening tips while making new friends in your neighborhood and spending quality time outdoors with your family!


Shop for your food AND take your family on a fun outing at the same time! The better quality of the freshly harvested, naturally grown foods by local farmers can mean more nutrients to help you and your family be healthy. The vegetables also last longer so you save money by not wasting food.

  • HOPE Farmers Market (5th & Comal), Sun. 11 am - 3 pm; accepts SNAP & WIC (512-553-1832 /
  • Sustainable Food Center’s Farmers Market East (MLK & Airport) Tues. 3 - 7 pm, and Sunset Valley Sat. 9 am - 1 pm; accept SNAP & WIC and will double your dollars up to $20! (512-236-0074 /
  • Look for the Dove Springs Neighborhood Farm Stand opening this June! (512-750-8019 /


Skip the chips, cookies and soda, and let your kids pick out a fresh veggie or fruit in the produce section. Choose produce that’s in season; it’s usually the least expensive! Avoid packaged and processed food. Choose whole grains and brown rice, organic milk, and leaner meats. Look for coupons & specials! Many families who cook at home also set aside a little time to slice or chop fruits and vegetables to keep in the fridge for convenient meals and snacks during the week. Learn how to use fresh ingredients to cook easy, fast and healthy meals: