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Local, Regional & Safe Foods Unit logoSustainable Community and Local Food Systems

The farm to table movement is growing in Arkansas. Many communities have created farmers markets, established community gardens, started serving farm fresh food in school cafeterias and more. Arkansas is seeing an increased interests in sustainable agriculture and locally grown foods. A growing number of farms are producing a wide variety of locally produced vegetables, fruits, grain, nuts, seeds and livestock.  Agritourism, specialty crop farming/specialty food products, and local food retailers are on the rise. And food business entrepreneurs are looking for ways to turn their recipes into successful businesses.

What We Do

Our team strives to build a more resilient and sustainable community food system in Arkansas by providing programs and activities that connect people and communities to research-based resources, timely information, and meaningful connections.

Through our Share Grounds Commercial Kitchens project, we assist those interested in starting a local food business or aggregating local food products with technical assistance, permitted production facilities, and partnership opportunities. Through our Produce Safety program, we assist growers with understanding and applying good agricultural practices on the farm and in compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule.

What is a Sustainable Community Food System?

A sustainable food system is one that provides healthy food to meet current needs while maintaining healthy ecosystems that can also provide food for generations to come with minimal negative impact to the environment.

A sustainable food system encourages local production and distribution infrastructures and makes nutritious food available, accessible and affordable to all. Further, it is humane and just, protecting farmers and other workers, consumers and communities.

- American Public Health Association 

What resources do we provide?

Below, you can find resources on food systems, food business development, and fresh produce production food safety.

Upcoming Events 

Check out our 2023 Produce Safety Grower Training schedule.

This photo list the 2023 Produce Safety Grower Training schedule. March 16 in Eastern Arkansas, May 24 to 25 as a remote training, October 26 in Northwest Arkansas  

Contact Gaby Sanders at or by phone at 501-671-2046 for more information.

Registration links will be posted closer to time! Check back periodically for more information.

Webinars, Virtual Learning, and Online Discussions

Last year, COVID-19 brought a halt to our in-person workshops and programs. With the continued spread of this virus, our team has created a number of socially distanced ways to engage, learn and share information related to local food systems development. Browse our collection of videos to learn more about creating a packaged food business and local food challenges and opportunities during COVID-19.

View Food Business Webinars View COVID-19 Discussions