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City Looks for Feedback on Austin's Food Scene

For the uninitiated, Austin food isn’t exactly orthodox. Like any big city, the culinary range is vast and eclectic – from tapas to tandoori, gourmet donuts to the ubiquitous breakfast taco.

But while Austin’s food scene may be a draw for taste buds here and abroad, it’s also a preeminent moneymaker – with an economic impact of over $4 billion, according to astudy released last month. The city may savor that tax revenue, but it’s also asking citizens for ideas to improve Austin’s food culture as foodies look forward.

The city wants input from citizens on what “Austin food” means to them, what it means to buy local and what efforts the city should take to expand food access to low-income Austinites.

Released in March, the study found that despite the 43,000 jobs attributed to food service in Austin, there are still improvements to be made – calling for an expansion of open-air markets and local food manufacturing within the city limits, as well as zoning and economic assistance for those looking to start urban farms.

The study also suggested mobile grocery vendors, akin to the food trucks that proliferate Austin, to combat so-called “food deserts” citing successful programs in Portland and New York City. In addition, the city hopes to expand hunger-busting efforts from the Capitol Area Food Bank to cut food insecurity in the Austin area.

Have any suggestions for Austin’s food culture going forward? Leave your suggestions in the comments section, or comment on the city’s discussion page.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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