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Blog

  • Raspberry Pi Bake-Off

    Are you a maker, a hacker, or someone who enjoys DIY projects and gadgets?  Whether you are looking for a place to show off your skills, need an excuse and a goal to build some new ones or want to see other projects people have created, the Raspberry Pi Bake-off is an event for you.

  • Library and Garden District Initiative

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    image credit:cltfooddistrict.org

    The Locals has started a series of community meetings to talk about the Library and Garden District Initiative. These meetings are aimed at getting community support and input for the creation of a "Library and Garden District" in the neighborhood surrounding the Faulkner County Library (1900 Tyler St, Conway). 

    To download past meeting notes click on the links:

    Meeting Notes 1/25/18

    Meeting Notes 1/31/18

    The "Library and Garden District" idea is inspired by the concept of Food Innovation District. A food innovation district is a geographic concentration of food-oriented businesses, services, and community activities that local governments support through planning and economic development initiatives in order to promote a positive business environment for local food entrepreneurs, spur regional food system development, and increase access to local food.

    There are numerous assets and potential partners that already exist in Conway's potential Garden District, including: Bell Urban Farm, the Faulkner County Urban Farm Project, New South Coop CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) pick-up , the Conway Farm to School initiative and school gardens, and Hendrix College.

    Food innovation districts support the resource- and idea-sharing that occurs when food entrepreneurs and related initiatives work in close proximity. Activities in these districts include: • Regional food hubs • Business incubators • Farm-to-table retail and restaurants • Farmers markets • Food festivals and other events • Nutrition and cooking education • Healthy food assistance • Urban agriculture production • Community kitchens. 

    See our brief presentation of the initiative click here: Library and Garden District Power Point 

    For more info on food innovation districts visit http://www.canr.msu.edu/foodsystems/uploads/files/fid-guide.pdf

    If you live in the neighborhood or are simply interested in the idea please join us!!

    Meetings will take place at the Library. 

    If you are interested in participating please contact Zack McCannon at zmccannon@gmail.com 

     

  • Previously on Movie Night

     

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    December 13, 2017

    Not all Christmas movies become traditions for their good qualities. A tale about how the people of Mars abduct Santa Claus in order to save the childhood of Martian children, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is a staple of lists of the worst films ever made. It is perhaps bad-movie fandom's biggest holiday perennial after its appearance in Mystery Science Theater 3000. With its  mix of Christmas imagery and comic-book science fiction trappings, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians to be seen to be believed.  

    After the screening there will be time for questions and discussion with guest speaker Dr. Felipe Pruneda.

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    October 18, 2017

    We are kicking off our get togethers with an Arkansas cult classic: The Legend of Boggy Creek.

    Is there a monster stalking the residents of Fouke, Arkansas? Locals claim to have seen the mysterious creature in the surrounding swamps, and believe it is responsible for several animal deaths. As witnesses recall their encounters with the seven-foot-tall, red-haired beast, their story ceases to be merely a legend and becomes a dangerous, frightening reality.

    The wildly successful, innovative film debut of Hampton, AR native and former ad man Charles B. Pierce, The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972) used documentary techniques to tell its tale of Arkansan folklore. Making the most of its non-professional actors, shoestring budget, and eerie natural scenery, the film is a triumph of spooky atmosphere that continues to be discovered and rediscovered by cult cinema enthusiasts. 

    After the screening there will be time for questions and discussion with guest speaker Dr. Felipe Pruneda.

    Also as an extra treat Shambala Vegan Food Truck will be parked outside starting at 4pm. 

  • Farm Tour

    We had such a great time at farm tour! Fifteen of us plus some tag alongs had the chance to visit the Faulkner County Urban Farm Project, Bell Urban Farm, Strack Farm and Calvert Enterprises. They all had different stories but they all taught us about the hard work involved in small scale farming. 

    At the Urban Farm Project we learned about a whole bunch of plants: fruit trees, natives, ornamental, veggies, herbs and flowers--we even got to see a cotton plant, which even though most of us were probable wearing few had ever seen!

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    At Bell Urban Farm we saw how it is possible to farm within city limits. We had a chance to tour around the garden, check out the greenhouse and the food hub (cold storage for deliveries and pick-ups), and meet all the chickens, including Snowball the rooster.

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    Ms. Phyllis Strack told us all about her family's farming history, and how she is trying to raise the next generation of farmers to continue the tradition. Her grandson happily walked along with us in his ninja outfit, which I'm sure he'll soon change for overalls.

    These pictures are courtesy of our good friend Olena Kasian

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    Finally, Joe Calvert, his wife Nikki and 5 little ones showed us around and told us all about the great adventure of starting a farm. From honing in on their specialty blend of lettuces, to figuring out how to wash it all in a system that includes watering troughs, a retrofitted vacuum, and a washing machine (think spin dry!) the process is always being perfected.

    These pictures are courtesy of our good friend Olena Kasian

     

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    Small farmers are today's super heroes, growing food that is good for our bodies, our communities and the earth! We are lucky to have such great people in our community, so next time you see a farmer, give them a hug!

  • Thank you

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  • ArtsFest

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    Support ArtsFest this year by donating to The Locals on April 6th through the Arkansas Gives website. Click here or on the image above.

    Here is why!

    Conway’s 10th-annual ArtsFest, September 23-October 1, 2016, brought more than 130 events to numerous locations in Conway including UCA Downtown, Kings Live Music, Simon Park, Faulkner County Library,  University of Central Arkansas, and Hendrix College, to name only a few. Planned and presented by the Conway Alliance for the Arts (CAFTA), a completely volunteer-run organization, ArtsFest’s free events drew more than 5,500 attendees, all made possible by the work of 200 volunteers.

    At its centerpiece was a public art installation comprising 25 globe-shaped lanterns (ranging in diameter from 3 to 8 feet!) by Houston-based artist David Graeve. Titled Pluralism, Social Lens #33, Direct Action, Graeve suspended his “balloons” in trees and buildings around town, but what made them special, especially when illuminated at night, was his placement of photos of community members on their exteriors. One resident said about the artwork: “I love watching people’s reactions to the beautiful installation. It was so cool to sit on the bench and watch people’s eyes light up when they saw the faces up in the trees.”

    So what about ArtsFest 2017? While the planning committee is not quite ready to reveal the event lineup, we want readers to be the first to know that we expect to welcome a very famous filmmaker and to feature a series of events that focus on 30,000 years of mural art.

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  • #askforlocals

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    Help us spread the word, we care where our food comes from and these are just some of the reasons why. Ask for local when you go to a restaurant and help us demonstrate the demand for local food.

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  • Gardening Programmer Wanted

    Do you love spending time outside working in the garden? Teaching others how to grow food? Working with volunteers, students and community members? Or know somebody who does? Well, we have great news! The Faulkner County Library is accepting applications for a part-time Gardening Programmer staffer. See below for the job description, fill the application (find it here or at the library) and send it in to john@fcl.com--or mail to 1900 Tyler St, Conway AR 72032. Please attach a resume

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    Job Description: The Faulkner County Library gardening programmer will assist with

    maintenance of the garden, planning planting and crop rotation, advertising for events,

    increasing outreach by collaborating with other community organizations,

    record keeping, increasing visibility by outreach and advertising, and coordinating

    educational opportunities with the library and partner organizations.

    Garden duties: garden development and maintenance activities, developing

    educational signage, planting, watering, weeding, record-keeping, planning workdays,

    updating website and social media accounts.

    Educational duties: facilitate at keast two weekly work days, educate volunteers, give

    presentations and tours of the garden, help with organizing events, coordinate

    educational activities with the adult and children's programmers at least once every

    other month. Plan nutrition education lesson plans for weekly children’s garden club and

    explore other nutrition education opportunities for adults.

    Duties related to improving access to garden-grown produce: Friday food

    pantry donation delivery, record keeping, coordinating at least one cooking/nutrition

    workshop, maintaining hoop houses during the winter, and providing healthy snacks to

    participants of the children’s garden club and adult programming activities.

    Academic and Experience Qualifications: Must be a high school graduate or

    have a GED.

    Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Required: Organic gardening, computer and social

    media skills, ability to work with children and organize groups of people, some

    mechanical skills to maintain tools and irrigation system.

    Physical, Emotional, and Intellectual Demands: Ability to tolerate heat and

    humidity, lift 50lb, good social, verbal and written communication skills, ability to work in

    groups, facilitate workdays, work with people of all ages and backgrounds

    This is a part-time position of 20 hours a week at $11 an hour 

     Please attach a resume with your application

  • Local food, everywhere

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    In the last post, Sandra mentioned our partnership with New South Produce Cooperative (and you should definitely check out their new website!). Many folks are already participating in the CSA they offer, which brings local food to the home. Now I'd like to talk about the other piece of the puzzle - bringing local food to you when you're not at home. The Locals has been working with local restaurants that also want to use farm fresh ingredients grown right here in Arkansas. We've had a good response from several local businesses, including Zaza's, Cross Creek Sandwich Shop, and The Patio Cafe; as well as food trucks like Roxy's Twisted Sandwiches and WunderBus.

    There are a few things you can do to help! One is to stop by the places that are participating. Tell them you heard they use local ingredients, and you appreciate it. The other is to mention at any restaurant you go to that you'd like to see local food on the menu. In Conway, tell them about us and the work that we're doing, and in Little Rock mention the New South Produce Cooperative. Even if you find yourself far from home, mentioning that you care about where things are coming from can have a big impact!

  • From Foodshed to New South

    Our partners Foodshed Farms are transitioning into a new name and new look, but they are still the same cooperative of local farmers producing great food.

    So why the change? The business has grown! It began in 2014 with a handful of farms and a small CSA. But now in 2016 they've grown to nearly two dozen Arkansas farms with over 450 CSA members across the state and dozens of restaurants and grocers carrying their products every week.

    Their new brand reflects this growth and coincides with our official transition to a farmer-owned cooperative earlier this year.

    New South Produce Cooperative represents a dedication to environmental stewardship through organic agriculture and a commitment to the growth of small family farms. We are working towards a new type of agriculture that promotes rural livelihoods and protects the health of our land and communities.

    Over the next couple of weeks, you'll notice some changes as they transition to a new website (check it out!) and social media handles, but they'll continue to put their CSA members first and provide you with top quality Arkansas-grown produce.

    We hope you'll join us as we grow and continue to deliver great local food to families across the state!

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