Sustainable Community Food Systems
The farm to table movement is growing in Arkansas. Many communities have created farmers'
markets, established community gardens, started serving farm fresh food in school
cafeterias and more. Arkansas is seeing an increased interests in sustainable agriculture
and locally grown foods. A growing number of farms are producing a wide range of locally
produced vegetables, fruits, grain, nuts, seeds and livestock.
What is a Sustainable Community Food System?
A sustainable food system is one that provides healthy food to meet current needs
while maintaining healthy ecosystems that can also provide food for generations to
come with minimal negative impact to the environment. A sustainable food system encourages
local production and distribution infrastructures and makes nutritious food available,
accessible, and affordable to all. Further, it is humane and just, protecting farmers
and other workers, consumers, and communities.
- American Public Health Association
Build a Sustainable Community Food System
Here are a few tools to help you grow your community and local food system.
Learn more about Systems
Arkansas Local Food Survey
Local food stakeholders in Arkansas provided input about the role they play in the
local food system. A final report of the findings will be shared in the summer of
Learn more about our Survey
Arkansas Local Food Meetups
Meetups were held in the Fall of 2016 in five cities across the state to learn about
the specific regional needs for supporting food system growth. Findings to be shared
in early 2017.
Learn more about our Meetups
Local Foods Resources
Visit the Arkansas Food Innovation Center website to learn more about food product
development at: http://afic.uark.edu/
A few resources for product development and the Cottage Food Law.
Arkansas Cottage Food Law Fact Sheet
Federal Cottage Food Law Definitions
Cottage Food Law Guidelines
Cottage Food Law FAQ
Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network
NMPAN is a network and info hub for people and organizations who want small meat processors
to thrive. We offer tools and information for small processors and the farmers, marketers,
and meat buyers who depend on them.
Keeping honey bees is an increasingly popular activity for both leisure and profit.
Check out www.uaex.edu/bees to learn more about practices and upcoming events.
THE SHARED‐USE KITCHEN PLANNING TOOLKIT A guide to starting shared‐use kitchens as
an affordable venue for new and existing value‐added food production entrepreneurs,
farmers and caterers.
Factsheets for some Arkansas Grown Foods.
Tools for Building a Sustainable Community Food System
Growing a Healthy Economy with Local Foods, by Becky L. Bowen, JD, North Carolina Extension
Community Food Systems Toolkit, University of Wisconsin Extension
Local Food Systems, Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Arkansas Local Food Meetups
The Arkansas Local Food Meetups were completed in the Fall of 2016 by the UA Community
and Economic Development Unit. Please check back in early 2017 learn more about the
findings and recommendations.
This project is part of a mutli-state partnership sponsored by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture to investigate state efforts around local food system development to
look for opportunities to:
- Provide greater resources and technical assistance for local food system development.
- Support regional planning and development.
- Foster local food and farm business development.
Image: Central Arkansas Local Food Meetup, Arkansas Innovation Hub, North Little Rock,
Coming soon as a follow-up to the AR Local Food Regional Meetups.
- Resource directories of the Arkansas local food system sectors across the five regions.
- Overview of the opportunities, assets and challenges with developing regional food
systems as shared at the Meetups by participating stakeholders.
- Recommendations for developing regional food systems
- Information on securing greater technical assistance and resources.
- Keep the connections across the region to growing to support the regional food system.
Check back for more details soon.
Arkansas 2016 Local Food Survey
The survey is now closed and we are reviewing the data. A report will be shared with
the public in early 2017. Thank you to those that participated in the survey. We are
excited to be partnering with Dr. Zola Moon, Associate of Professor of Human and Environmental
Sciences with the University of Arkansas and Courtney Cooper, a UA graduate student
on this work.
The findings will:
- Help us better understand the types of resources and technical assistance that are
needed to help build stronger local and regional food systems in Arkansas.
- Help the U. S. Department of Agriculture better understand the challenges faced by
those working to support their local and regional food systems.
- Provide AR Food supporters information to understand the specific needs of your community.
A report will be shared with participants.