Gather information about agricultural activities in the Elgin area. Work with local farmers and help them connect with each other. Research policy options, policies and programs in place in other communities that support agriculture and sustainable community development. Document where agricultural activities are happening, where farms are located, what land is considered agricultural in the Elgin Texas area. Provide educational resources to the community both online and through films or print materials. Share information collected through these research efforts in an engaging and dynamic online fashion to encourage community interaction and connections between farmers, restaurants and individuals. Bibliography citations supporting literature review City of Elgin SARE grant 7-30-12 Gleaton, Caroline S., and Carl G. Anderson. “Facts about Texas and U.S. Agriculture.” Texas Cooperative Extension. May 2006.http://agecoext.tamu.edu/resources/library/publications/facts-about-texas-and-u-s-agriculture/facts-about-texas-and-u-s-agriculture-2006/ (accessed April 23, 2011). Pollock, Candace. Sustainable Community Innovation Projects Funded Throughout the South.” Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education. January 27, 2011. http://www.southernsare.org/News-and-Media/Press-Releases/Sustainable-Community-Innovation-Grants-Awarded (accessed April 23, 2011). Wilbur Smith Associates. Elgin Comprehensive Plan. Comprehensive Plan, Elgin: City of Elgin, 2009, p.14. US Census of Agriculture. http://quickstats.nass.usda.gov/?source_desc=CENSUS Lyson, Thomas. Civic agriculture: reconnecting farm, food, and community. New England: Tufts University Press,2004, p.85. Montgomery County, Maryland. Department of Economic Development: Agricultural Services. March 2, 2011. http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/AgServices/agfacts.html (accessed April 23, 2012). Chester County Economic Development Corporation. Next Generation Farmer Guidelines. May 2011. www.newpa.com/sites/default/files/uploads/NextGenerationFarmerGuidelines2011.pdf (accessed April 2012). Chester County Economic Development Corporation. Small Business First Program. June 2009. www.newpa.com/sites/default/files/uploads/Small-Business-First-Program_guidelines-09.pdf (accessed April 2012). Chester County Economic Development Corporation. Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund. March 2010. www.newpa.com/sites/default/files/uploads/MELF_guidelines-2010.pdf (accessed April 2012). Chester County Economic Development Corporation. Small Business Administration 504 Loan Program. April 2012. h Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation. http://www.hvadc.org/ 11). Hillsborough County Agriculture Industry Development Program. www.hillsboroughcounty.org/econdev/agriculture/ Wayne County Planning Department Agricultural Development. www.co.wayne.ny.us/Departments/planningdept/AgDev.htm New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Agricultural Districts Law Summary. January 26, 2011 www.agriculture.ny.gov/AP/agservices/dis8/Summary-AgrDistrict-Law.pdf (Accessed April 2012). New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. April 2012. www.agriculture.ny.gov/AP/agservices/agdistricts.html (Accessed April 2012). Madison County Agriculture Economic Development. madisoncountyagriculture.com City of Cleveland, City Planning Commission. Zoning Code Updates. http://planning.city.cleveland.oh.us/zoning/cpc.php (Accessed April 2012. City of Fitchburg. The Fitchburg Land Development Guide. www.ci.fitchburg.ma.us/LandDevelopmentGuide08.pdf (Accessed April 2012). Baltimore City Planning Commission. “The Baltimore Sustainability Plan.” City of Baltimore. April 2009. http://www.baltimorecity.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=DtRcjL%2fIBcE%3d&tabid=128 (accessed April 23,2011). City of Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support. Homegrown Minneapolis. 2011. http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/dhfs/homegrown-home.asp (accessed April 23, 2011). Texas Department of Agriculture Young Farmer Grant. www.texasagriculture.gov/GrantsServices/RuralEconomicDevelopment/TexasAgriculturalFinanceAuthority/YoungFarmerGrant.aspx Texas Department of Agriculture Young Farmer Interest Rate Reduction Program. www.texasagriculture.gov/GrantsServices/RuralEconomicDevelopment/TexasAgriculturalFinanceAuthority/YoungFarmerInterestRateReductionProgram.aspx The Bastrop County Citizens’ Advisory Committee and The Citizens of Bastrop County. (2006). Opportunity Bastrop County. Retrieved 1 May, 2011, from Environmental Stewardship: http://www.environstewardship.org/2012/04/21/opportunity-bastrop-county/. City of Elgin. (2006). City of Elgin Chapter 11: Zoning. Retrieved 1 May, 2011, from The City of Elgin: http://www.elgintx.com/pdfs/ZoningOrdinance.pdf. City of Elgin Economic Development and Capital Area Council of Governments. (2008). Elgin, TX: 2008 Retail Trade Study. Retrieved 1 May, 2011, from The City of Elgin: http://www.elgintx.com/pdfs/2008-03-03Elgin2008RetailTradeStudy.pdf. City of Elgin Park and Recreation Department. (2011). City of Elgin Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan. Retrieved 1 May, 2011, from The City of Elgin:http://www.elgintx.com/pdfs/PARD%20pdfs/ParksMasterPlan.pdf The Trust for Public Land, Capital Area Council of Governments, Envision Central Texas. (2009). Central Texas Greenprint for Growth Conservation and Economic Opportunity for Bastrop County. Retrieved 1 May, 2011, from Capital Area Council of Governments: http://data.capcog.org/Information_Clearinghouse/presentations/Greenprint/2009-10-30%20BastropGP_brochure_final_revised.pdf Wilbur Smith Associates and TRC Engineers and IPS Group. (2009). Elgin Comprehensive Plan. Retrieved 1 May, 2011, from The City of Elgin: http://www.elgintx.com/planningreview.asp.
The agriculture sector is responsible for 26% of all jobs in non-metro areas in Texas. Elgin is 19 miles east of Austin in central Texas. A farming community from its inception, Elgin has a few major manufacturers – three brick companies, two sausage manufacturers, small manufacturers such as Accurate elastomer Products, and INR Machining. The majority of the population (apprx 8100 folks) drive in to the Austin metro area for work. In the last twelve years hundreds of acres of farm land have been sold and developed for single family housing. During community visioning meetings and the recent comprehensive planning process there has been vocal and consistent community support for preserving agricultural uses and helping Elgin to keep its identity separate from the Austin metro. Elgin hopes to expand economic development opportunities for businesses engaged in all aspects of the agriculture system. Through this grant, Elgin identified specific public policies that provide a guide to support sustainable agriculture and community development. Through the grant a community survey was conducted to capture information about the farming practices in the area, where inputs were coming from, what supports were needed, and farmer interest in connecting with restaurants. The grant also supported creating GIS maps of vacant parcels 1 acre or greater within the city of Elgin. These might be used in the future for agriculture purposes. Maps showing the location of farms, and members of the river valley farmers market were created. Maps from the Elgin comprehensive plan that illustrated agricultural property and where future zoning might protect that type of use were also completed. The maps, survey information, farm contacts, and more are all captured on the website www.elginlocalfoodnetwork.org
As listed in the proposal 1. Provide clear policy options to Elgin City Council related to land use, economic incentives, land use mapping to examine zoning to enable policy changes to be enacted to support permanent integration of sustainable agriculture and community development into the economic development plan. Recommend specific changes to the City code, the Elgin Comprehensive Plan, and state and county legislation. 2. Examine zoning options using land-use mapping and recommend zoning changes to support integration of sustainable agriculture and sustainable community development. 3. Coordinate and facilitate public meetings to discuss these policy options and educate and seek input from the community about the policy options that would support sustainable agricultural and community development. 4. Provide educational outreach to enable replication of our process and wide understanding of our solutions. Provide information via YouTube and social media. Share project information at Central Texas food and development related events. 5. Develop a preliminary plan for a business incubator to support sustainable agricultural businesses including farms and added value production.