UACES Facebook Urban homesteading conference coming to North Little Rock
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Urban homesteading conference coming to North Little Rock

By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Oct. 17, 2017

Fast Facts:

  • Arkansas Urban Homesteading Conference scheduled Nov. 4 in NLR
  • 16 separate learning sessions throughout the day
  • Tickets are $17 for adults 

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Whether on the farm or in the city, an interest in agriculture, sustainability and self-reliance is a common thread to many Arkansans. The upcoming Arkansas Urban Homesteading Conference is an opportunity for interested Arkansans to learn even more about gardening, chicken keeping, composting and more within city limits. 

Les in High Tunnel

The conference, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 4 at the St. Joseph Center in North Little Rock, was brought about through the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s partnership with the Arkansas Homesteading Conference and the St. Joseph Center of Arkansas. 

The St. Joseph Center is located at 6800 Camp Robinson Road in North Little Rock.                           

Britt Talent, who co-founded the Arkansas Homesteading Conference with his wife, Karen, said the Nov. 4 conference will be the first of its kind in Arkansas, focusing on aspects of homesteading unique to urban environments. 

“In the four years we have been putting on these homesteading events, this will be the first conference that focuses mainly on homesteading skills that can be practiced in an urban or suburban setting,” Talent said. “While many of the sessions at this conference will be tailored for small-scale practices that people can do in their backyard, just about any of these ideas can be implemented on a larger scale for those who have more space to work with.” 

The conference will offer four different tracks, with each track featuring four sessions. Gates open at 9 a.m., and the first session will begin at 9:30 a.m. Each session lasts about an about. Lunch and concessions will be available at the conference. 

Session topics include raised bed gardening, composting, seed starting methods, backyard poultry, chicken tractors, food preservation, fermentation, natural beekeeping, herbs, cheese making, urban farming and more. There will also be activities for the youth. For a complete list of sessions, go to

Guest speakers include Division of Agriculture extension horticulturalist Janet Carson, who will speak about edible landscapes; Chris Hiryak of Little Rock Urban Farming; and Lori Bird of Birds & Bees Honey, one of the largest natural beekeeping operations in Arkansas. 

Rick Cartwright, director of the Cooperative Extension Service for the Division of Agriculture, said many aspects of the Arkansas Urban Homesteading Conference reflect the Cooperative Extension Service’s day-to-day mission. 

“The Cooperative Extension Service remains committed to providing science-based information in support of Arkansans,” Cartwright said. “Since our first involvement with homesteading education in the state, we’ve continually invested in people and partnerships that promote healthy and vibrant ways of living through better understanding and use of our lands.” 

Pre-registration is available online by going to or Admission is $17 for adults, $11.25 for ages 7-12, and free for children 6 and younger. Lunch and t-shirts can also be pre-ordered. 

The St. Joseph Center is a former orphanage situated on 63 acres of mostly pasture and farmland next to Camp Robinson in North Little Rock. The orphanage is a four-story, 56,000 square foot structure built in 1908. A portion of the proceeds will go toward the center’s efforts to preserve the property. 

Talent said those people visiting St. Joseph for the first time may be surprised by what they find. 

“This is an ideal setting for a homesteading conference because the folks at St. Joseph have already implemented a lot of the homesteading practices we talk about at our conferences,” Talent said.  

To learn about homesteading in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent.



About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.  

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.   

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. 

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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