Starting Monday, hundreds of restaurants across the Lone Star State will participate in GO TEXAN’s Restaurant Round-Up, offering set menus and food and wine pairings featuring Texas ingredients. According to Bryan Black of the Texas Department of Agriculture, the weeklong event showcases Texas-made food and wine and the restaurants committed to serving them.
The Texas Department of Agriculture launched the GO TEXAN program in 1999 in order to promote the many products grown and made in the state. The program raises awareness about these products while member businesses benefit by being associated with the program and using GO TEXAN promotional tools.
The GO TEXAN program has been both popular and effective in its native state and has been imitated and borrowed from in many others. It is also part of the international localization movement that encourages buying local as a way to build community and protect the natural environment. According to Black, purchases made at local businesses “help sustain local communities, create jobs and grow businesses.” A healthy local economy helps to achieve two of GO TEXAN’s objectives: “sustaining livelihoods” and “sustaining land.”
Black acknowledged the impact of recent budget cuts, but insisted that the program would remain effective.
“Despite budget reductions set in place by the Texas Legislature,” Black says, “the Texas Department of Agriculture’s GO TEXAN Marketing Program will continue to promote the products, culture and communities that call Texas home. Although some changes are being made to enhance efficiency, GO TEXAN will continue to deliver services to Texans. GO TEXAN members will continue to benefit from increased sales and the awareness the program brings to their work.”
While food and wine have been important players in the “locavore” movement since the beginning, GO TEXAN now works to promote products of all kinds: “from Texas-made jewelry, furniture and clothing to paper, art and birdhouses.” Technology is also playing a growing role in the GO TEXAN campaign, with a GO TEXAN iPhone app and a forthcoming Android app helping consumers easily discover and locate Texas products.
This week’s Restaurant Round-Up runs from July 25 to 31, with over 500 restaurants, many in Southeast Texas, serving up locally grown fare and donating a portion of the proceeds to local food banks. Black sees the Restaurant Round-Up and other GO TEXAN programs as playing an important role in strengthening both economies and communities in the Lone Star State. As he says, “That’s the message: Go Local. GO TEXAN.”
Details about the Restaurant Round-Up and a list of participating restaurants can be found at GOTEXANRestaurantRoundUp.com
The full interview with Black can be read at TheTexavore.com