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Share Grounds: Kitchen Incubator and Aggregation Center Development Project

A partnership between the UA System Division of Ag, USDA Local Food Promotion Program and regional partners in Cleveland, Searcy and Woodruff County.share grounds logo

What are Share Grounds?

The Share Grounds project offers an innovative approach to reduce food production barriers in rural communities. By utilizing existing kitchen facilities and warehouse infrastructure at the County Fairgrounds, the Share Grounds offers a lower cost option for farmers to pack and hold produce and small food businesses to manufacture packaged food products.

The goals of the Share Grounds Project are to:

1) increase access to and consumption of local foods in Arkansas by expanding utilization and capacity of fairgrounds for aggregation, distribution, and value-added product development,

2) support local farms,

3) develop and expand opportunities for value-added food businesses,

4) foster the growth of regional food economies, and

5) improve access to food in underserved communities and institutions

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Now open for clients, our three kitchen incubator and aggregation centers are located at the following fairgrounds:

  • Searcy (Marshall)
  • Cleveland (Rison)
  • Three County (McCrory) 

Have a food concept?

Consider becoming a client! Get resources to start your own food business and attend our upcoming events to learn more about the services offered at your local Share Grounds facility. 

Contact your local Share Grounds Manager

Angela Gardner, interim manager: (501) 541-0168


Starting your Small Food Business at the Share Grounds

 

Creating Opportunities for Food Entrepreneurs

 

For more videos including webinars on starting a local food business in Arkansas and at the Share Grounds kitchens, please visit our Local Food Business & Share Grounds webinars webpage and the Local, Regional & Safe Foods YouTube playlist by clicking the buttons below.

View Food Business Webinars  View YouTube Playlist


FAQs

The kitchen facilities at the Share Grounds are open and available for rent. Farmers, gardeners and small food business are eligible to use the facility. 

If you plan to process a food product, visit the ”How to Start a Food Business” page to understand the steps necessary to make your product in Arkansas.

To become a potential client, please visit our client page and contact your local Share Grounds manager to discuss your business needs.

Along with access to a certified kitchen space, the Share Grounds offers an on-site operations manager to assist with food product testing and development, regulatory technical guidance, and dry storage space.

These services and facilities are offered on a fee basis. View our fee chart for additional information.

Please note that most commercial kitchens in the US require nonrefundable application fees, security deposits, 2 month(+) minimum contracts and/or membership plans on top of an hourly rate. The Share Grounds is not the standard model.

1. If you live in Searcy (Marshall), Cleveland (Rison), or Woodruff County (McCrory) consider serving in a leadership capacity by joining a county advisory committee.

2. Join our email list to receive invites to upcoming community meetings.

3. Make a donation.

Contact the Share Grounds Project Manager if you would like serve on an advisory board or join the contact list.

Yes! All three sites are accepting donations and non cash gifts, such as pre-approved commercial equipment, donated building materials and labor.

Non cash or in-kind gifts may qualify as a tax-deductible charitable contribution.

Donors will be recognized for their sponsorship at these levels:

$100 - Seed Sower: Website recognition

$250 - Harvester: Logo on marketing brochure & website recognition

$500 - Packer: Name on sponsorship sign at a Share Grounds facility, logo on brochure & website recognition

$1000 - Distributor: Logo on sponsorship sign at a Share Grounds facility, logo on brochure & website recognition

Contact the Share Grounds Project Manager for additional information on how to donate to the project.

 

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