Corpus Christi, Texas
Aislynn Campbell founded the Corpus Christi Downtown Farmers’ Market in 2012, and quickly realized that the local food system’s level of production was stagnant and unable to meet South Texas’ growing demand for healthy, local food. In response, in 2013 she founded GROW Local South Texas (STX), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to cultivate a healthy community by growing the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable foods.
“My passion for local food began when I began giving serious thought about feeding my children the best food available,” Aislynn says. “When I committed to a diet that is outside the norm of the mainstream, it limited my ability to have convenient accessibility and affordable pricing. Researching the local food system and how to strengthen it so that I could easily find the food I wanted to eat and feed my family fueled my passions about self-reliance and rethinking detrimental legislation.”
Under her leadership as executive director, GROW Local STX has created a diversity of programs designed to educate the community about the importance of a strong local food system, and to grow the local system, among them: the Corpus Christi Downtown Farmers’ Market, a vibrant, weekly downtown destination; The Learning Garden, a 2-acre community garden that teaches apprentices how to grow food; BAWKtoberfest, an annual backyard chicken coop tour; GROW Local STX’s annual Farm to Table Dinner Gala; and the After School Garden Club.
“We must support social cohesion and equitable access to healthy choices in diet, micro-production businesses and prosperity for all while developing good stewards of our earth and environmental sustainability,” says Aislynn. "This philosophy transcends food. I want to support the development of a society of artisans and craftsman that can not only care for themselves, but can also care for their neighbors, their community and their planet."
GROW Local STX is a proven success with measurable increases in the number of producers, consumers, contributors, and volunteers involved with the organization and its programs. In 2015, GROW Local STX received a $57,000 grant from the Coastal Bend Diabetes Initiative to promote healthy eating in the Coastal Bend. In 2016, Aislynn was recognized as one of Corpus Christi’s top 40 people under 40, and in 2013, she was invited to deliver a TedX talk, "The Food Revolution Begins in your Home(town).”
“I hope the future of agriculture holds a renaissance of family values that teach future generations that hard work, supporting community and the love of land and spirit are extremely valuable and that wanting better for our children is not always just about formal education and money,” Aislynn says. “Any agricultural system that advocates for the healthiest food possible must get back to these core principles. Hard work, doing the very best for ones’ family, good food and healthy lifestyle are the foundation of any successful, health-minded food system.”
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