AFMA Announces Arkansas Best Market Partners 2016
By the U of A System Division of Agriculture
Feb. 19, 2016
- Arkansas Farmers’ Market Association honors top partner businesses
- ASU College of Ag & Tech, Seeds That Feed, Stone’s Throw Brewing winners
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Farmers Market Association announced three winners of the “Arkansas Best Market Partners 2016” contest at the organization’s annual meeting, held Feb. 10 at the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension headquarters in Little Rock.
Contest winners, who were nominated by their partner markets, include:
- Arkansas State University College of Agriculture and Technology, nominated by Arkansas State University Regional Market in Jonesboro
- Seeds That Feed, nominated by Fayetteville Farmers Market in Fayetteville
- Stone’s Throw Brewing, nominated by Bernice Garden Farmers Market in Little Rock
Beverly Dunaway, who was elected as the new association president during the annual meeting, said the awards were an opportunity to show appreciation for partners who provide important opportunities for farmers’ markets.
“We’re excited to be able to honor individuals, businesses and organizations that have gone ‘above and beyond’ to support markets throughout the state in 2015, and look forward to doing the same year after year,” Dunaway said.
ASU professor and past association president Kim Pittcock, who was involved in nominating the ASU College of Agriculture and Technology, praised the college for leasing them five acres of valuable land for $1 per acre), as well as constructing a 15-by-30-foot raised entertainment deck on one end of the market building and a permanent handicap ramp at the end of the deck.
Pittcock also praised the college for providing prompt support and resolving problems with irrigation, lighting, and electrical issues, as well as designing the front landscaped entrance area to the market building and annually donating plants for the beds.
“Our market has a great partner in [the college], and we could not function as well as we do without the tremendous support and assistance from their horticulture program, faculty, farm manager and crew, and especially the dean.”
The ASU Market and the college also coordinate the college’s Bill and Alice Nix Petting Zoo event with the ASU Market’s Fall Festival, which typically draws more than 3,000 visitors to the annual event, Pittcock said.
Leann Halsey, Fayetteville Farmers Market Business Coordinator, said local non-profit organization Seeds That Feed has partnered with her market since April 2012 to address food insecurity in their community through a program called CareCropping.
“Seeds That Feed’s 100 percent volunteer team is present at each market to collect surplus produce from our producers that may otherwise end up as compost,” Halsey said. “Since 2012 they have collected more than 46,000 pounds of produce to donate to local partners who ensure distribution of the produce to those in need. In return, our producers have an opportunity to give to the community in need and receive a tax deduction.
“You will also often see [Seeds That Feed] volunteers assisting producers at the end of market, breaking down booths when farmers are tired and ready to end their day,” Halsey said.
Bo Bennett, Bernice Garden Farmers Market coordinator, said in his nomination of Stone’s Throw Brewing that the market’s partner was “no ordinary brewery.” Bennett said the same passionate core of hobbyists that created Stone’s Throw Brewing equated with those who brought Bernice Garden Farmers’ Market into existence.
“If you ever visit Stone’s Throw for a brew, you better believe you’re going to see our marketing material on their walls and/or hear from the owners and workers about our market,” Bennett said. “We know Stone’s Throw could spend their time and marketing dollars anyway they please, and we’re very happy they choose to promote our growers, cultivators, and Bernice Garden Farmers’ Market.”
For more information about farmers’ markets in Arkansas contact your local cooperative extension agent or visit http://arkansasfarmersmarketassociation.com/.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service