One of the best things about living in Austin is the availability of year-round fresh, locally-grown produce. We at Peoples have always worked hard to emphasize the link between nutrition and health and really take the phrase “you are what you eat” to a whole new level. Obviously we are fresh, local, healthy and made with love. Therefore a partnership with the amazing Johnson’s Backyard Garden is a natural fit!
Johnson’s Backyard Garden (JBG) got it’s name simply because it was literally the Johnson family’s actual backyard garden – their urban East Austin backyard in the Holly Street neighborhood. The Johnson’s started the garden to feed the family but then began selling produce in 2004 at farmers markets around Austin, helping other local families find the freshest, healthiest produce available. By 2006 they were able to expand their production to a small CSA (community supported agriculture), which fed about 30 Austin families.
If you aren’t familiar with the CSA movement, it’s time you got to be because this literally changes not only the way families are able to eat but also the quality of the produce they can enjoy. CSA is a way to help farms have stable income in exchange for families having a stable source of fresh veggies. Farming is of course a risky business because crop yields can vary, over-planting leads to wasted time, resources and veggies, while underplanting leads to financial hardship. By establishing a CSA, farms are more able to predict the sales for their produce. Knowing that they have reliable income allows them manage budgets and resources more effectively.
For customers, joining a CSA revolutionizes the way you are able to approach food, partially because you no longer have to browse the produce section! You get a box of gorgeous fresh produce delivered either to your door or to a convenient pick-up location near you. Outside of that, it breaks the nutritionally-poor cycle of always eating the same three veggies, week after week. You get a beautiful box of mixed veggies that were grown locally, that just became ripe, are entirely seasonal to your area and that sometimes stretch your boundaries in terms of cooking familiar food. Fortunately JBG also gives you access to great recipes for the veggies that are fresh right now on their website.
Since starting the CSA, the Johnson family was able to move to a larger piece of land in East Austin and expand their business. They are now wholesaling veggies to many top local restaurants, including Peoples Delis, as well as feeding over 1,000 families with their CSA boxes. What a tremendous home-grown success!
The Johnson’s also understand what it is to want to be involved in food production. They welcome volunteers to the farm where a half-day’s work reconnecting with the earth, soil and some great outdoor folk will earn you a delicious box of vegetables and a deep sense of well-being. Nothing really puts life into perspective like nurturing your own food supply!
Peoples is proud to feature Johnson’s Backyard Garden produce in our delis to help urban Austinites find great organic foods on-the-go, over the lunch break or to take home for dinner. After all, nothing keeps Austin healthy like good, clean food!
by Amy Neuzil, ND*. Amy is available for consultation at Peoples Wellness Center North.
*Naturopathic doctors are not currently licensed in the state of Texas.