Taking Care of Arkansans with Locally Grown Food

Taking Care of Arkansans with Locally Grown Food

vegetable massOK, now I am really impressed. With the goal of organizing my desk, I discovered an Arkansas Times Publishing magazine. It was amazing to read all about the opportunities for famers, businesses, wineries, and all who support Arkansas edible industries.

The Arkansas Food and Farm (arkansasfoodandfarm.com) publication is open to any local food producing, marketing, eateries, and hunger relief organizations to advertise their game. Log on and submit your information for ‘free and easy’ marketing exposure. Jump into facebook (facebook.com/arfoodandfarm) and give a like and log on to Twitter (@arfoodfarm) to follow to help spread the word. This incredible organization that is dedicated to taking care of Arkansans is even pictured on Pinterest (pinterest.com/arfoodfarm).

Farmers markets, on-farm sales, wholesale farms, and U-Pick businesses are listed in a very organized manner by location in relation to central, northwest, northeast, southeast, and southwest regions. This allows those that are located in these areas to target farmers nearby to where they live. There are sub-categories for grocers, non-profits, brewers/wineries/distilleries, and farm-to-table restaurants to gain exposure. The publicity is exponential with this well-structured business model.

A careful investigation of my Summer 2014 catalog resulted in some down-home recipes that will make your mouth water; such as the Citrus Steaks with Spicy Orange Sauce and Churrasco Steak Sandwich. The second recipe included an abundance of garlic, the cure all and repellent for just about anything. I must admit the picture of the lightly salted, glazed pecans caught my attention.

An Arkansas Agricultural Department group, Arkansas Grown (arkansasgrown.org) provides another opening to strut-your-stuff with growing and supportive activities for local farms and businesses. You can be featured on their website and Arkansas Grown Facebook page (facebook.com/arkansasgrown), be a starred partner at their 2015 Blogger Event that is hosted at Mass Mountain Farm, and have the right to use the Arkansas Grown Logo. You may even be a possible guest on the P. Allen Smith’s Radio Show and will be featured on all of their radio social media sites. Now this is an incredible way to gain exposure for supporting Arkansas locals.

It was also enlightening to find that this organization puts the word out about organizations that work to take care of those that may be hungry and in need of food. The Rice Depot (ricedepot.com) is an Arkansas State-wide Food Bank. They are all about “Arkansans feeding Arkansas.” Over 400,000 Arkies are supported by the generous donations from farmers and restaurants. Their strategy is to provide for those that are in need of food. When you are ready to contribute to the cause then contactus@ricedepot.org is the email address to let them know about your intentions.

Some farmers may be unable to use all their growing rewards or want to add to the growing number of people that tithe their edible abundance for those in need. The Arkansas Gleaning Project is an Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance designed to provide for Arkansans that will greatly benefit from some attention. One of their projects includes the “Watermelon Crawl” where local farmers allow volunteers to enter their fields to harvest anything that was missed with the first collection of fruits. Heck, you may decide to volunteer your time to feed the hungry and be able to take home a watermelon. Keep in mind you just might be one of the winners in their watermelon eating contest, watermelon relays, or other fun events.

The gleaning project reported that “In 2013, growers donated 1.5 million pounds of gleaned produce which was collected and donated to food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters that feed the hungry all across the state.” Fill out the form at arhungeralliance.org or contact Michelle Shope at mshope@arhungeralliance.org for more information.

A big hats off to the Clinton Presidential Center for supporting local farmers and food partners. Our one-and-only Bill Clinton local is still helping to take care of his community.

It was fun to explore this worthwhile publication to share only a small piece of the abundant material to bless the people of Arkansas. I am sure it will be a great time for our community to come together at the Arkansas State Fair. This more than 75 year tradition of people gathering together that have at least one thing in common, local food for Arkansans.

Elizabeth Armstrong, PhD is an author, blogger, and owner business owner. You can find her book, Align With The Wild, at amazon.com or at her website: jazzyeco.com. Check out her Blog: naturemystic.wordpress.com. Join the Edible Garden Challenge: facebook.com/ediblegardenchallenge. Receive Jazzy Eco’s Newsletter through her website.

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