UACES Facebook Local Foods Open Space Community Discussion
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Local Foods Open Space Community Discussions

With the COVID-19 pandemic reshaping how our food system works, the Local, Regional and Safe Foods team at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service is hosting a biweekly conversation for farmers, food businesses and others involved in the local foods industry. These conversations are here to provide education and resources and to hear the struggles and successes from our local foods system. See below for recordings and descriptions of previous discussions.

Ryan Neal, Cooperative Extension Agent and blueberry grower, shared best practices for u-pick farm operations. Dr. Amanda Philyaw Perez, Cooperative Extension Food Systems and Safety Specialist, shared state guidance and best practices for farmers markets.

Ryan Neal, Cooperative Extension Agent, gave an overview of different direct sales platforms available to farmers and growers as well as other tips for moving your business online. Kim Doughty, farmer and owner of Bell Urban Farm in Conway, shared her experience with their recent online plant sale including delivery and pick-up procedures during COVID-19 as well as Bell Urban’s online presence (Facebook, Instagram, webpage).


Dr. Ron Rainey, Cooperative Extension Economist and Southern Risk Management Education Center Director, presented survey findings from farmers markets as well as consumer shopping perceptions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Teresa Maurer, Fayetteville Farmers Market Co-Manager and Vendor Coordinator, shared how the FFM has adapted operations as well as the market’s successes and challenges as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.

Melissa Terry, Food Policy Researcher and MS AgEd Candidate in the Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food & Life Sciences at the University of Arkansas, discussed the online expansion of SNAP benefits at both the national and state level in reaction to increased demand from COVID-19. Jeremy Adams, Double-Up Food Bucks Program Manager with the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, shared about the DUFB program and information from the local foods community around SNAP and other food assistance programs.

Sarah Lane, Farm to School & Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, shared updates on the Arkansas COVID-19 Food Access Map, school meals and farm to school programming for Arkansas. Also, Ally Mrachek, Child Nutrition Director for Fayetteville Public Schools, presented on how FPS has adapted and continued to serve meals to students amid COVID-19.


Check back on this archive page for more resources from prior discussions.

Discussions will resume later this summer - thank you for viewing!