Fresh Heated Food at Farmers Markets to Stay
Today I attended my first Austin City Council Meeting. Why?
To register my support of our local food community and the small business owners, chefs, farmers, and artisans that feed our bodies and souls.
Below, my friend, fellow blogger, book club member, and community relations coordinator for the Sustainable Food Center, Susan Leibrock, demonstrates how to officially register our support. A total of 43 citizens voted to express their support of allowing hot food to be served at the markets — pretty impressive given that each of these folks took time out of their day to show up in person over the past few days and vote. For more information on the process, check out Susan’s blog, Cake Austin.
After a local pastor opened the meeting with a prayer for the community that was very nice other than the fact that J.C. was mentioned (guess we don’t do the ‘ole separation of church and state here in Texas), Mayor Leffingwell called on Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due to speak in favor of resolution #54, asking the city manager and staff to seek other examples of how cooked food is served at farmers markets in cities across the state and country and come up with a solution.
Jesse spoke clearly and eloquently about Dai Due’s history in Austin. Jesse and his wife Tamara started the business four years ago to offer 100% locally sourced coursed meals. He talked about recently opening a booth at the farmers markets to sell their prepared foods and offer hot food on site to order. He addressed the mayor directly:
“I believe the mayor had a hot sausage that I hope you liked.”
Everyone chuckled as Mayor Leffingwell acknowledged this. Jesse went on to note that Dai Due will lose seventy percent of their business and dramatically cut the amount of local food they can purchase if an ordinance isn’t passed to allow hot food to be served at the markets. He cited Houston and San Antonio as other Texas cities who have made it possible to do so.
As of April 1, vendors can no longer draw permits to serve hot food at the markets and Jesse talked of his willingness to work closely with the health department to bring hot food back to the market as soon as possible.
Austin City Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez added to Jesse’s argument, noting that the farmers market is a great way to spend a weekend morning and that the city council will take action as soon as they can to fix this issue.
Other great local foodies who came out to support Jesse and other farmers market vendors included Christian of Austin Food Journal, Valerie Broussard of Slow Food Austin, Susan Santos of the Sustainable Food Center, Todd Duplechan of the Four Seasons, and many more.