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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.

How We Can Help

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?

We offer a variety of events and resources on food systems, food business development, and fresh produce production food safety.

Upcoming Events

2024 Produce Safety Grower Training Schedule. February 28-29 8am-12:30pm via Zoom. May 29-30 8am-12:30pm via Zoom. September 26 8am-5pm in Little Rock

Save these dates for our 2024 Produce Safety Grower trainings!

Registration information will be shared on our Produce Safety Events page and immediately below closer to each training date.

May 2024 Virtual Produce Safety Grower Training - REGISTRATION OPEN!

This is a REMOTE (virtual) training, and participants must have the necessary technology to participate.

Technology required to participate

  •  Internet access
  • Zoom video conferencing software
  • Web camera and microphone

Participant attendance and engagement will be monitored. Participants are only eligible for PSA/AFDO Certificate of Course Completion if they are present for ALL modules of the course over both days.

DATE: May 29-30th

TIME: 8am - 12:30pm (both days)


QUESTIONS? Contact Rip Weaver at

Local Foods Resources

Home Preservation

The National Center for Home Food Preservation is your source for current research-based recommendations for most methods of home food preservation. The Center was established with funding from the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (CSREES-USDA) to address food safety concerns for those who practice and teach home food preservation and processing methods. Click below to visit their website!

National Center for Home Food Protection

Webinars, Virtual Learning, and Online Discussions

Browse our collection of videos to learn more about creating a food business and about local foods challenges and opportunities in Arkansas.

View Food Business Webinars View Local Foods Discussions