Calendar at Texas Farmers' Market raises money to support emergency fund

Ashley Tsao - AUSTIN (KXAN) - Local farmers usually sell fresh fruits, veggies and meat. But the Texas Farmers' Market at Lakeline and Mueller is growing a new type of product to help those in need.

It's called the "Women of Central Texas Agriculture" calendar. This project celebrates women in the industry who continue to farm despite environmental and economic hardships. Proceeds go toward the Farmer Emergency Fund, which supports farmers during times of medical or environmental crisis.

Eileen Niswander owns the Yegua Creek Farms Pecan Orchard with her husband, and she's one of the women featured on the calendar. She sells a variety of pecans at the market each Sunday and said many farmers face devastation when severe weather hits the area.

"When you're in agriculture, you're constantly reminded that you're not in charge," Niswander said. "The man upstairs is in charge of the weather, which predicts our future."

These types of markets allow local farmers to connect with the community around them, Niswander said.

"It is very rewarding to grow something that's nutritious and that people love to eat," Niswander said. "And if you can educate people on what it is they're eating and how beneficial it is to their bodies, we're providing a service as well as, quote, making a sale."

There's not a lot of stability built into the agricultural industry, according to Kate Payne, Texas Farmers Market events and marketing director. That's why she encourages the local community to come out to the market, rain or shine.

"Shopping at the market each week, or as much as you can, helps these farmers and ranchers earn a living," Payne said. "This is their paycheck. So if it's not the best weather, or you're not feeling up for the market, these folks are still bringing us the most delicious and nutritious food you can get within 150 miles."

The Texas Farmers' Market happens each Sunday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. For more information click here.

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