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Blog

  • WunderHaus and The Locals

    The Locals and WunderHaus are partnering to create a Green Space Fund!

    Part of the proceeds from the WunderHaus' Seasonal Markets is going toward creating a Green Space fund for the establishment and upkeep of green spaces, including a permanent home for the Farmer’s Market and Pollinator friendly gardens throughout Conway. For more info on the Sesonal Markets click here.

    Our vision for the Green Space Fund ranges from small green spaces dotted around the city, to a permanent structure (like a pavilion) to host a unified farmers market for the City of Conway that incorporates public art installations, ornamental garden areas for pollinators, a sitting area, and a place for concerts, performances and other special events.

    We know this is a GRAND vision, but if we are going to have a dream, why not make it a BIG one?!

    The Green Space fund is intended to foster the development of spaces that remind us of the wonder in the natural world, to bring awareness about the critical role that pollinators play in our survival as a species, and to promote sustainable land management practices. 

    The City of Conway is one of the top five expanding cities in Arkansas. As it expands, the number of new neighborhoods, businesses, and parking lots are bound to increase. Of course, with population comes urban sprawl, and with that, habitat loss for wildlife and pollinators. Our hope is to foster the development and maintenance of spaces like community food forests, urban community gardens, and pollinator habitats.

    We feel that now, more than ever, economic development needs to be balanced by responsible ecosystem management. It is our great hope that we can make a positive impact on the world as a whole, one small, thoughtful step at a time.

  • 2018 Accomplishments



    Last year marked the beginning of the Food Recovery Program in which we partner with Harps Grocery Store to try to improve food security in our community and increase access to fresh, healthy food. Beginning in May 2018, we started rescuing perfectly good fresh fruits and veggies, and rerouting them to fill hungry bellies in elementary schools and food pantries. Through these efforts, we recovered 7290 lbs of edible food, and 2290 lbs of compost, for a total of 9580 lbs of food diverted from the landfill!! A very special thanks goes out to the people at Harps, Sarah Lane, Lacey Starkey, and the dedicated volunteers who make all of this possible.

     

    For the 3rd consecutive year, The Locals partnered with New South Coop to increase the availability of local food in our community through their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program. The Locals Food Hub received and distributed weekly shares of fresh, local produce to an average of 44 families throughout the 2018 growing season. This program benefits 36 Arkansas farmers, and our location alone helped circulate $29,951.35 of local food dollars! A special thanks to Bell Urban Farm for hosting The Locals Food Hub. If you would like to participate in this year's CSA program, you can sign up now by visiting newsouthcoop.com

    Last year also marked the transition of the Urban Farm Project (UFP) from being part of The Locals to an official part of the Faulkner County Library! For more than eight years, volunteers worked hard to establish UFP as an educational tool for the community, and 2018 marked the first time the library hired a full-time staff member dedicated to maintaining and developing the garden and its programs. The Urban Farm Project is now a permanent asset in the growing local food infrastructure of our community. A special thanks goes out to John McGraw, Nancy Allen, Sean Ott, and the many many volunteers who put their work and sweat into making the garden what it is today.

    We are looking forward to another great year of getting the community together, finding ways to support each other, and making Conway a great place to live!

    Thank you for your support.

  • Food Recovery Program

    The Locals recently piloted a Food Recovery Program partnering with Harps Grocery Stores in Conway. Fresh fruits and vegetables that are being thrown out are rescued and distributed so they can fill bellies instead of the land fill. In just 4 days we were able to rescue over 450lbs of fresh food, and all we had to do is ask for permission and show up!!

  • Previously on Movie Night

    See what's COMING UP NEXT at: http://www.thelocals.be/movienight 

    February 20, 2019

  • Library and Garden District

    image credit:cltfooddistrict.org

    Library & Garden District Initiative Steering Committee

     

     Initiated by The Locals, the Library & Garden District Initiative aims to establish the neighborhood surrounding the library as a “Food Innovation District.” A food innovation district is a geographic concentration of food-oriented businesses, services, and community activities that promote a positive environment for local healthy food entrepreneurs, spur regional food system development, and increase access to local healthy food.

  • 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.

     

  • 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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