Nourish Coalition Newsletter - Vol. 2

We made it to fall, y’all! The summer of 2023 was the second hottest summer in Texas recorded history and we only started seeing cooler weather earlier this month. We invite you to pause and show gratitude for each and every single farmer and rancher that continues to work rain, shine, heat, or cold. Without them life would be a lot more challenging. 

Believe it or not, the holidays are fast approaching and in this volume we’re turning our attention and appreciation to organizations already doing the work of giving back to their communities. This includes churches, food pantries, hot meal ministries, and other local organizations who aim to distribute a tremendous amount of food and other resources throughout the holidays. In this newsletter, you’ll find highlights of some of these organizations as well as how you can get involved – after all, ‘tis the season!

Sprinkled among this giving goodness, we’ll update you on our work, community events, news updates in Texas, and introduce you to our newest team member.

high tunnel at Simple Promise Farms growing produce abundantly

boxes of food lined up at Grace Baptist Church in Red Rock ready to be distributed to the community.


We’ve been working diligently to help build out the capacity of the coalition so we can support those already doing great work in our food system. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

  • Thanks to a generous donation from St. David’s Foundation, we’ve been able to distribute gift cards to different food pantries throughout Bastrop, Caldwell, and Williamson Counties.
  • We worked together to develop our mission and vision statements, which you can find on our newly launched website.
  • A special thank you Texas Center for Local Food and Texas Farmers Market for permitting us to use their delicious seasonal recipes on the website.
  • We visited Simple Promise Farms and the ACC Agricultural Sciences Dept. to learn more about their scope of work and how we can collaborate.
  • We tabled at the Pink & Blue Health Affair on October 7, 2023, which was the first event we got to officially participate in!
  • We’re laying the foundation to a sustainable future by beginning to develop our strategic plan.


Click Here to Get Involved

AmeriCorps VISTA member Introduction

As part of our capacity building this year, we were able to secure a new team member, Krissy Voutas, who is an AmeriCorps VISTA member. She will be working with Nourish full time as a stipend volunteer in her “year of service”. Here’s a little bit of background on her:

  • She’s a trained chef with a focus on farm to table cooking and feeding those with dietary restrictions on a budget
  • She has worked within the food system in Massachusetts, Florida, and now Texas since 2008 in many different roles
  • From 2018 to 2022 her and her husband had a small farm just outside of Elgin where they focused on growing a diverse mix of vegetables, tended a (mostly) pear orchard, raised chickens for eggs and pastured pigs for pork while also creating value added products such as gluten-free baked goods, jams, and teas to sell at local farmers market
  • With the help of several other volunteers, she helped revive the Elgin Farmers’ Market, which is now a thriving market and recently began accepting SNAP

During her time with Bastrop County Cares, Krissy hopes to build strong relationships, develop the administrative foundation for Nourish, and make a positive impact in the community.

Texas Food System Updates

Each quarter, we’ll share curated articles about the food system in Texas.

  • Administrative errors are causing hundreds of thousands of Texans to lose Medicaid coverage as others struggle to become enrolled in SNAP
  • New work requirements went into effect on September 1 for SNAP recipients
  • The 2023 Farm Bill has been delayed, leaving the future of farmers across the nation uncertain.
  • Texas faces a shortage of young farmers to replace those retiring

Holiday Giving Guide

The holiday season is fast approaching and we hope this year you’ll consider being of service in our community. There are myriad organizations regularly giving out groceries, hot meals, food, monetary donations to help with utility bills, and so much more. 

While it can be tempting to host a food drive in your community, consider that most food pantries have a much higher need for specific items than these drives are able to provide. Food pantries have much higher buying power than the average consumer. Typically, a donation of $10 worth of canned goods will be distributed to 10 families but a monetary donation of $10 can buy up to 100 meals for families (the data is different depending on the source you’re looking at)

So what can you do? Typically what is going to be of most value to these organizations is the gift of your time or a monetary donation so that they can adequately supply their needs and support their patrons by having enough people to help during days of service. Feeling inspired? Check out the BCC Resource Directory and search for food pantries in your area so you can give back to your community this holiday season and beyond.

On the topic of holiday giving, there are many young folks who long to be able to buy a present for an adult they love in their lives but they simply can’t afford it. Enter the ‘Small Mall’ in Elgin, an opportunity for children to “shop” for holiday gifts, without having to pay for them. Event organizers are seeking monetary donations, gift wrapping, household items, and volunteers to help on Dec. 2. To learn more about how you can get involved, please contact: Charlotte Swenson 512-470-1351

You may also consider helping the local nonprofit Texas Center for Local Food support Texas farmers by donating to their Fall Fundraiser. The mission of TCLF is to "provides education, research, and technical assistance to create equitable regional food systems in Texas that support prosperous family farms, healthy Texans and vibrant rural economies".


Are you looking for ways to engage more with Bastrop County? Check out these great upcoming events:

  • Oct. 21 - Oktoberfest - Yegua Creek Brewery in McDade
  • Oct. 21 - 5th Annual Wing Festival in Smithville
  • Oct. 22 - Viva La Femme supper club at Eden East Farm in Bastrop
  • Oct. 26 - 28 - The City of Elgin hosts its annual Hogeye Festival
  • Oct. 28 - African American Alliance for Health of Central Texas Community Wellness Festival at the Kerr Community Center located at 1308 Walnut Street, Bastrop, Texas 78602 from 10a-2p
  • Nov. 4 - Elgin Methodist Church & Bethlehem Lutheran Church host their Harvest Festival
  • Nov. 4 - Simple Promise Farms hosts its annual Hot Sauce Hootenanny in Elgin
  • Nov. 25 - Shop Small Saturday; a nationwide event and opportunity to support local businesses
  • Dec. 2 - Small Mall - FireWild on Main in Elgin

Stay tuned for more updates on the Nourish Coalition, Bastrop County, and Texas Food System.

 If you would like to contribute news to be considered for inclusion in the next edition, please contact (Krissy Voutas, [email protected])