From Food Bank Volunteer to Farmhand: Frankie's Garden Journey


Here in Central Texas, the sun shines bright, and the land offers a bounty waiting to be harvested. But for many families, access to fresh, healthy food can be a challenge. That's where Frankie comes in, and her story is one that will inspire anyone who loves the art of growing food.

Frankie's passion for volunteering in the garden blossomed at the start of the pandemic when she relocated to Austin, Texas in 2020. With the world seemingly on hold, she found solace and purpose through working at a local HIV clinic, helping deliver food to immunocompromised patients. This experience, plus her love for food and cooking, led to her dedicating more time volunteering at the Food Bank. “Connecting with clients through food was an easy way to get to know them. I wanted to expand my career in nonprofits, more toward the food centered sort of thing,” Frankie explained.

And she wasn't just helping distribute food – she was part of a team growing and harvesting it in the Food Bank’s on-site garden. Although her time at the clinic has come to an end, Frankie continues to throw herself into the work at the Food Bank, learning about different crops, soil health, and the intricate dance of nature that brings food to our tables.

Her dedication doesn’t go unnoticed. Staff at the Food Bank are impressed by Frankie's enthusiasm and her natural knack for gardening. The hours she’s put in to learning and participating in the garden led to her getting a position at Steel Bow Farm, a local agricultural producer known for its commitment to sustainable agriculture.

Frankie's experience at the Food Bank Garden helped her feel prepared for her role at Steel Bow Farm and with her passion for growing food and helping her community, it was a perfect fit. Her time spent volunteering translated into a real job opportunity – a chance to take her love for gardening and food to the next level.

Today, Frankie splits her time working at a local restaurant that sources their produce from Steel Bow Farm, working at the farm itself and she still finds room in her busy schedule to show up for her community by continuing to volunteer at the Food Bank. “It's really cool to see the real farm to table process. And I feel so prepared after working with Hannah and Ollie and Jeff previously at the Food Bank, I really feel like I got a good background knowledge from here to incorporate,” Frankie shared.

Frankie's story is a testament to the power of volunteering. It's a reminder that passion and dedication can open unexpected doors. From helping harvest fresh produce at the Food Bank to contributing to Steel Bow Farm's bounty and serving up vibrant food in the culinary scene, Frankie's journey is a beautiful example of how a single person can make a difference, one seed at a time.

Inspired to find your own way to cultivate a love for growing food or help build a stronger, healthier community around you?  The need for volunteers is great, check out how to get involved on our website.