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Blog

  • 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

     

    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.

     

  • Trip to Guantanamo

    “You see…that tiny strip of lights…that’s Guantanamo Bay. Less than 3% of the total territory of this province, yet the only thing the world knows about us”

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    A twenty-two long hour bus ride, with stops in seven different locations around the island, launched my trip to the 5th International AgroEcology Conference hosted by ANAP, the National Association of Small Producers, in Cuba. For two whole days, we visited urban and rural farms, met with campesinos, representatives of multiple coops and associations, school children, families, and ANAP staff.

    Campesinos can be part of two different types of cooperatives in Cuba. CCS’s and CPA’s: Cooperatives of Credit and Services and Cooperatives of Small Producers. The CCS’s we visited have an average of 200 members, and the presidents and representatives of each association are campesinos themselves. Every associate is member of the cooperative’s General Assembly, in which they all vote for candidates for different roles of the association, for the amount of land or products that will be earmarked to fund the cooperative and staff, for capital investments and much more.

    Cooperation in Cuba is not just a nice word. It is felt in the spirit of the people, in the pride for their citizenship and their land. In 2008, Law 259 was passed, which gave people the right to petition the government for land that was not being used to start agroecological farms. The “Distribution of Usufruct Land” Law allows farmers become owners of the land and they not only receive incentives but rewards for farming sustainably and being part of the distributed network of campesinos that feed themselves, their communities and their country. The international Campesino a Campesino movement, started by Via Campesina, is an integral part of the Cuban food system. Campesinos, share resources, help, and train each other with the help of ANAP.

    ANAP is a non-governmental organization, however, they work closely with the Cuban Department of Agriculture, Trade, Health, among others. Increasing food security and food sovereignty in Cuba  are the government’s mandates, and their tools and systems are guided by the principles of AgroEcology and Sustainable Farming. With the scarce resources of the country, the people have made long leaps and strides into the future of a sustainable and just global food system.

     The children we met at two of the farms we visited, were members of a school interest group who visited and worked in the farm once or twice a week. They gave us presentations about what their groups mission and the principles they were learning about. Composting, the use of animals in the farm, the use of live and death plant barriers to prevent erosion, the benefits of polyculture, vermiculture, the exclusive use of natural and organic inputs to cultivate a healthy land and produce healthy foods, higher in nutrient content than their industrially produced counterparts. There is more. Watch the video. It is incredible.

    The general conference wasn’t to begin till we all came back, from all 7 provinces my bus-mates  and I (15 in total) visited, and twenty-two more hours on the road.

  • Kroger Rewards Local

    Now you can support local farmers, artists, musicians and other local creatives when you shop at Kroger!

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    Thanks to this program The Locals will receive contributions from you when you shop for toilet paper, butter or toothpaste!

    Here are the detailed instructions of how to link your Kroger Card to support The Locals

    HOW TO USE THE KROGER COMMUNITY REWARDS PROGRAM:

    • Register online at krogercommunityrewards.com
    • Be sure to have your Kroger Plus card handy and register your card with The Locals after you sign up.
    • Click on Sign In/Register
    • Most participants are new online customers, so they must click on SIGN UP TODAY in the ‘New Customer?’ box.
    • Sign up for a Kroger Rewards Account by entering zip code, clicking on favorite store, entering your email address and creating a password.
    • You will then get a message to check your email inbox and click on the link within the body of the email.
    • Click on My Account and use your email address and password to proceed to the next step.
    • Click on Edit Kroger Community Rewards information and input your Kroger Plus card number.
    • Update or confirm your information.
    • Enter number 30989 or The Locals, select organization from list and click on confirm.
    • To verify you are enrolled correctly, you will see your organization’s name on the right side of your information page.

     

    • Do you use your phone number at the register?  Call 800-576-4377, select option 4 to get your Kroger Plus card number.
    • Members must swipe their registered Kroger Plus card or use the phone number that is related to their registered Kroger Plus card when shopping for each purchase to count.
  • Supporting Local Producers

     

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    Now that we are rockingLocalFoodSnapshotMarias.png and rolling around on our trike, and partnering with Zaza's to provide local ingredients, we want to highlight our awesome local producers that make all this possible. Meet the people behind the wonderful products we all enjoy!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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