Austin Fresh 2023: Call for Ideas


For the fourth time since its founding, the Austin Fresh funding collaborative has released a call for ideas. The funder team supporting Austin Fresh, Builders Initiative, The Christopher Family Foundation, Food:Land:Opportunity, The Lumpkin Family Foundation and the Walter Mander Foundation, are united in the belief that access to healthy, affordable food is a human right and critical to community health. We envision an equitable Chicagoland region in which all people have knowledge of and access to healthy food.

To this end, in 2020 we created a one-million-dollar annual fund called Austin Fresh. Over the last three years and continuing for at least two more, we will work collaboratively with partners to expand healthy retail options, support community gardens and local food production, grow food enterprises, and protect and strengthen food assistance programs in the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side. 

We are issuing this call for ideas to elicit projects and encourage collaboration among organizations and people who know the Austin landscape and understand the requirements for success. Examples of the types of ideas we would welcome include (but are in no way limited to):

  • Commercial ventures, including brick & mortar stores, designed to increase access to healthy or local food while building the economy of the Austin community (provided a non-profit organization is the applicant);
  • Promoting the importance of purchasing food within Austin and increasing awareness of where to buy healthy food whether that be grocery, restaurant, farmers market etc.;
  • Community food gardens which increase access to healthy, affordable food, or activating and connecting Austin’s network of food growers;
  • System improvement: planning for longer-term strategies around food access in order to create improved systems and build out underdeveloped ideas and strategies;
  • Community kitchens and other processing enterprises that add value to food and empower entrepreneurs to build businesses and create jobs;
  •  Food cooperatives; 
  • Food as medicine and food education approaches to health which focus on diet and nutrition;
  • Nutrition education, cooking classes, or community cooking efforts focused on the preparation of fresh and healthy meals, in which the work of creating prepared meals is shared to make it easier for families to eat well;
  •  Expanding or coordinating emergency food efforts;
  • Neighborhood or school habitat projects that support food production (e.g. pollinator gardens) or which give residents greater access to nature, even if they aren’t directly related to food production (e.g. tree planting).

Read the Guidelines & FAQs for more information here. The 2023 Call for Ideas opens August 1. Submissions are due by midnight, August 28, 2023. 

This year, we’ll be hosting two info sessions in partnership with Austin Coming Together (ACT):

Ideas can be submitted through a short form at the online application system, hosted by Forefront, the fiscal sponsor of Fresh Taste. Register for a new account, if necessary for your organization, or log-in with an existing account. Contact us at for assistance with the online application system.