In keeping with its new food and beverage philosophy focused on local sourcing and healthy food and beverage options, the Hyatt Regency Downtown on the Lake has forged a new partnership with local non-profit Urban Roots. Working closely on an ongoing basis, the Hyatt will support the organization in its mission to use sustainable agriculture to transform the lives of young people and increase access to healthy food in Austin.
Founded in 2007, Urban Roots provides paid internships to Austin youth ages 14-17 to work on a 3.5 acre urban, sustainable farm in East Austin with an annual goal of growing 30,000 pounds of produce. Then, 40% of the harvest is donated to local soup kitchens, food pantries with the remaining 60% sold at farmer’s market and wholesale. You can read more about Urban Roots in a feature that we ran last year with a recipe!
“The partnership is an outgrowth of our core values; healthy food, healthy planet, and healthy communities. We share the same vision,” says Executive Chef Paul French. “It is also one of the ways through which we support the local community. We are especially excited to work with young people, who will hopefully incorporate sustainable living as a way of life. On a personal level, it’s fun and very rewarding to share our knowledge and passion for healthy cooking and living.”
The first activity of the partnership will be a four-hour series on canning led by Hyatt Executive Chef Paul French and Sous Chef Jesse Harris-Lockard three Fridays in June. Each interactive class will consist of ten youth who will be learning to can the produce that they have grown. Students will also have an opportunity to tour the kitchen facilities and the chefs will talk with the students about becoming a chef and what that entails.
Leigh Gaymon-Jones, Director of Operations at Urban Roots is highly enthusiastic about the partnership. “The Hyatt reached out to us as a way to continue their commitment to local sourcing of produce in their restaurant. We are excited to kick off the collaboration by introducing the Urban Roots youth interns to canning in a professional way.
In addition to learning how to can, the canned goods will also allow us to provide our dedicated CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members with some value added products as a gesture of our appreciation of their support.
If you would like to read more bout Urban Roots and their CSA program, check out their website: www.urbanroots.org.
Also, check out Hyatt Regency’s Summer Cinema for Kids! Kids eat free, they are entertained by a movie so the folks (that’s you!) can eat in peace.