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Blog

  • 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!

  • FoodShed Farms

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    The Locals is very excited to start working with Foodshed Farms. Starting the first week in May, Foodshed Farms will deliver boxes of fresh, healthy, local produce to The Locals Food Hub in Downtown Conway every Wednesday.

     Foodshed Farms is a farmer-owned cooperative created to increase access to fresh, local food while supporting the livelihoods of small-scale Arkansas farmers. Their Certified Organic and Certified Naturally Grown farmers have joined together to strengthen our regional food system by growing food that cultivates jobs and community. Their mission is to provide consistent, dependable, and valuable markets for small scale Arkansas farmers while improving access to fresh, local foods in Arkansas communities. 

    Incubated by Heifer International’s USA program, Foodshed Farms hopes to expand the local food market in Arkansas and keep our food dollars in Arkansas’ economy, bettering the lives of small-scale farmers and consumers alike.

  • Thank you

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    We want to thank everyone for supporting us during Arkansas Gives on April 7th. With your help we raised a little over $3000! Your support makes a big difference and we are very grateful to be able to count on you!

  • We can do it together!

    Arkansas Gives is here! With your help we can fundraise for the garden, become eligible for cash prizes and bonus dollars, AND match $1500 from an anonymous donor has pledged today. Click this link https://www.arkansasgives.org/organizations/the-locals or the picture below to donate from 8am to 8pm on April 7th!

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  • Why give on Arkansas Gives?

    Arkansas Gives is coming up and this we are focusing all our energy into raising funds for the Faulkner County Urban Farm Project, our community garden!

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    Arkansas Gives is a statewide single day of giving, when people are encouraged to support their favorite nonprofits by donating online through the Arkansas Gives website. 100% of the funds we raise on April 7th between 8am and 8pm will benefit the Urban Farm Project and qualify us for prizes and bonus dollars. 

    The garden, located behind the public library in Conway, started in 2010 as three small plots of land. Since then, the community has transformed it into a full fledged urban farm that encourages people to get their hands dirty and learn about the importance of growing, cooking and eating local food.

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    Through our programs like the weekly children's garden club, our annual festivals, workshops, seed swaps and community outreach events, the garden benefits a very wide and diverse population. In the last two years, we have donated over 500 pounds of fresh produce to the St. Peter's Food Pantry, provided garden-based nutrition education to more than 200 kids, logged over 500 hours of volunteer service, and reached hundreds of people during our festivals and special events.

    We need your help to continue providing these free services to our community, and to keep growing this important educational asset for our community. The garden brings people together, teaches them how to better care for their plants, their health, each other, and the planet! We hope that on April 7th, we can count on your support to keep growing the love for our beloved community garden.

     

  • Partnering with New South Coop

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    The Locals Food Hub is excited to partner with New South Coop, bringing a new community-supported agriculture (CSA) to the Conway community. 

    New South Coop is a farmer-owned cooperative based in Little Rock that supports the livelihoods of small-scale Arkansas farmers while connecting people to fresh, local produce.

    In the CSA model, customers sign up and pay in advance to receive a weekly share of fresh produce throughout the growing season. This model has many benefits for both farmers and consumers, making local produce a convenient choice for customers while securing small-scale farmers a market for whole growing season.

    Working together as a cooperative helps farmers by allowing them to consolidate marketing, distribution, and technical training so they can turn their energy to growing the best produce possible. New South Coop growers are all Certified Organic or Certified Naturally Grown, demonstrating a deep commitment to both the environment and long-term health.

    Additionally, as a farmer-owned business, Foodshed Farms is able to support their farmers’ livelihoods in ways that traditional agriculture typically doesn’t. While USDA research shows that farmers nationwide receive an average of only 15 cents for every food dollar spent, Foodshed Farms gives 80 cents of every dollar right back to local farmers.

    The cooperative CSA model also allows shareholders to experience the best flavors of Arkansas while trying new vegetables and learning to cook in new ways. In addition to your weekly share of produce, you’ll receive a weekly newsletter with recipes, cooking tips, and stories from the farms your food is coming from.

     

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