Green Gate Farms Expands Camp Scholarship Program, Seeks Support from Local Businesses
8310 Canoga Avenue Austin, TX
Austin, Texas, July 5, 2016 — Green Gate Farms, one of Austin’s few certified organic community-based farms, is seeking to expand its camp scholarship program to benefit children living near its eastside location.
“We’re delighted that our new landlord, Roberts Resorts, has funded two summer camp scholarships for our neighbors and hope his generosity inspires others,” says farm co-founder and farm camp director Erin Flynn. “For many of our scholarship recipients, this will be their first camp experience.”
In addition to funding scholarships, such local businesses as Nine François Photography, are donating services. Nine Francois Photography, a local fine artist known for community service, is creating portraits of campers during their final week of Green Gate’s six-week summer season, July 18-22.
Green Gate Farms partnered with Hidden Valley High Meadows (HVHM) Residents’ Association to identify neighborhood children to attend camp. “We love having a farm where we live,” says Mrs. Elisia
Castillo, founder of the HVHM Residents’ Association. “Partnering with Green Gate Farms means our kids get to eat organic vegetables they harvest, play outdoors, care for goats, pigs and other animals, and have fun!”
Green Gate Farms Farm Camp self-funds up to 30 free weeklong scholarships each summer. In 2015, it awarded 20 scholarships to UT Charter Elementary School students nominated by wellness instructor Rebecca Vore. “Summer Farm Camp has had a lasting impact on these kids and on their health,” said Vore. “The children pay attention to how they nourish themselves, and have more knowledge of food access and distribution systems.”
Additional farm-based programming also includes a Free Summer Art Farm Camp provided to neighbor children by artist and permaculture instructor Jenny Nazak. Using her own initiative and funds, Nazak created a free four-day summer camp that featured bilingual artwork instruction. As one child said, “If it weren’t for this camp, we’d have nothing to do, we’d be watching TV all day.”
“The mission of our farm has been to serve people of all incomes,” says farm co-founder Skip Connett. “Our partnerships — with Sustainable Food Center, Dell Children’s Hospital, the City of Austin and other organizations — have allowed us to do this by bringing our food to workplaces and to new markets. Now, it’s time to do the same with our camps.”
Voted “Best of Austin” by Austin Chronicle, Green Gate Farms Farm Camps has been attended by more than 700 children since its inaugural weeklong camp in 2010. Children, ages 5-15, learn about local food and organic systems while mastering projects on the seven-acre vegetable, flower and livestock farm in east Austin. The farm’s nonprofit organization, New Farm Institute (NFI) oversees its educational initiatives, which include day and weeklong camps offered during AISD holidays and summer. Attendance for the week is $400; discounts are given for siblings, multiple weeks, farm membership and volunteering.
“Our long term goal is to double the enrollment of our camps and do the same for our scholarship students” says NFI Executive Director Erin Flynn. “There is no other farm-based camp like this in Austin and we want to ensure our neighbors, especially those who can walk here, participate.”
Local individuals and businesses are invited to help the farm meet its goal of raising $6,000 to cover expenses for fifteen children to attend a weeklong camp. Donors benefits include a free farm tour and publicity at the farm’s upcoming 10th Anniversary Party, September 24, 2016, 4:00-10:00.
About Green Gate Farms: GGF is a certified organic farm founded in 2006 on a historic site in an underserved area of East Austin. The farm’s mission is to educate, assist and inspire citizens and a new generation of sustainable farmers.
About HVHM Residents’ Association: Founded by the long-time residents of the neighborhood and run by a Board that represents the interests and concerns of the Hidden Valley, High Meadows community.
About Nine François Photography: Founded by Nine Francois, a photographer working, teaching, and telling stories through images in Austin, Texas. http://www.ninefrancois.com
About Roberts Resorts: Arizona-based developer specializing in luxury RV lots and manufactured homes purchased the property where Green Gate Farms is located in April 2015. www.robertsresorts.com