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Arkansas Grown Revamped to Expand Markets for State’s Farmers

Information Contacts:

Cynthia Edwards Cynthia.Edwards@aad.ar.gov (501)-219-6362

Mimi San Pedro msanpedro@pallensmith.com (501) 376-1894 ext. 31

Little Rock, AR— As interest in local foods surges, the Arkansas Agriculture Department stands ready to help meet the public’s demand with a revamped edition of its Arkansas Grown program.  In partnership with P. Allen Smith, the program connects Arkansas farmers with a range of buyers, such as restaurants, schools and grocery stores. The program’s ultimate aim is to increase the quantity of locally produced food in the state’s market.  

“We’re excited about the changes we’ve made to the program that will benefit consumers and producers,” Butch Calhoun, Arkansas Agriculture Department secretary, said.    “Arkansas Grown will help consumers more readily identify locally grown foods so they can make informed choices and stimulate their local economy by keeping their food dollars in the community. The program will bring more awareness to Arkansas’ producers and help create more markets for their products.”

Benefits of a strong local food system include economic gains for smaller farmers and the state, a reduction of environmental pollution by decreasing food transportation distances and increased access to fresher, healthier and better-tasting foods for the public.

“Farmers and producers want to farm and produce,” Smith said. “That’s what they’re good at and how they want to spend their time. Now, they have an advocate, Arkansas Grown, that’ll step in and get them plugged in to the state’s market. It’s a win for farmers, consumers and Arkansas’ economy.”

Often small growers do not have the resources to spend much on marketing, making the state infrastructure-building program an essential partner to help the farmers compete in their native market. In addition to working to connect producers with buyers, the program assists small farmers with marketing efforts that increase visibility, including placing an Arkansas Grown label at point of sale or on the product.

Arkansas Grown offers tiered options for farmers and producers: a free option that also includes special labeling for restaurants, one for $25 and another for $50 with increasing exposure and benefits accompanying each. Many states, including Georgia, Texas, Missouri and New Jersey, have successful comparable programs.  

For more information or to sign up, visit www.arkansasgrown.org.

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Founded in 2005 by ACT 1978 of the Arkansas General Assembly, the Arkansas Agriculture Department is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture and forestry to keep its Farmers and Ranchers competitive in national and international markets while ensuring safe food, fiber and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. The Arkansas Grown label is a tool to help potential buyers locate and identify Arkansas agricultural products.  If you are a resident of Arkansas and produce an agricultural product in our state, you may use the Arkansas Grown label once registered with AAD.  This information may also be made available for distribution.

P. Allen Smith is an award-winning designer, gardening and lifestyle expert and host of two public television programs, P. Allen Smith's Garden Home, P. Allen Smith’s Garden to Table and the syndicated 30-minute show P. Allen Smith Gardens. Smith is one of America's most recognized and respected design experts, providing ideas and inspiration through multiple media venues. He is the author of the best-selling Garden Home series of books published by Clarkson Potter/Random House, including Bringing the Garden Indoors: Container, Crafts and Bouquets for Every Room and Seasonal Recipes from the Garden. Allen is also very active on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Allen’s Blog and YouTube as well as on the eHow Home channel. His design and lifestyle advice is featured in several national magazines. Learn more at www.pallensmith.com.

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