The third annual Good Food Org Guide identifies and celebrates 1,000 U.S.-based groups including 12 from Arkansas who are cultivating a better food system

The James Beard Foundation (www.jamesbeard.org) and Food Tank (www.foodtank.com), along with a prestigious advisory group of more than 70 food system experts, developed the third annual Good Food Org Guide featuring 1000 food related organizations across the United States. 12 initiatives from Arkansas were chosen including: Arkansas Food and Farm, Arkansas GardenCorps, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, The Arkansas Local Food Network, The Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability at the University of Arkansas, Feed Communities, The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, Little Rock Urban Farming, Ozark Slow Food, and Southern Sustainability Working Group, Heifer International, and Winrock International.

 

 

This definitive Guide highlights organizations that are doing exceptional and dedicated work in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, in the areas of food and agriculture, nutrition and health, hunger and obesity, and food justice. At least 10 organizations were chosen from each of the 50 states so that wherever people live they can find nearby organizations working to cultivate a better food system.

The first annual 2014 Good Food Org Guide was released as the definitive guide to organizations—national and state-by-state—who are making an impact through their work. The second edition in 2015 introduced a brand-new online platform, and has been viewed and downloaded more than 150,000 times. The expanded 2016 Good Food Org Guide incorporates new initiatives from across the nation, and will be released at the 7th annual James Beard Food Conference in New York City on October 17-18, 2016.

”Working in collaboration with the James Beard Foundation, we are proud to bring the total number of listed organizations to the 1000 mark. It is a testament to the tremendous amount of growth and support we have seen in the ‘good food’ sector,” says Danielle Nierenberg, President of Food Tank.

The vision and objective of this annual publication is to focus attention on the hundreds of organizations (listed in alphabetical order, not ranked) who work every day in fields, kitchens, classrooms, laboratories, businesses, town halls, and Congress to create a better food system. We’ve selected organizations and initiatives that spotlight efforts active in community building and engagement, advocacy, and service.

”The Good Food Org Guide continues to serve as a useful tool for individuals looking for opportunities to improve their local food system. The Guide’s user-friendly design makes it the go-to resource for identifying nearby organizations doing good work in the areas of food justice, hunger, and agriculture,” says Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation.

Distinguished experts, including past recipients of the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award and food and agriculture leaders, collaborated to generate the list.

This year’s guide has grown in size and includes an in-depth online interactive mapping and search tool. The updated website (www.goodfoodorgguide.com) allows users to search by keyword, location, and category in order to explore the organizations that interest them. Every organization has its own unique profile page including contact information, description, logo, social media links, directions, and photos.

Included in the Guide are these 12 groups from Arkansas:

1. Arkansas Food and Farm

The Arkansas Food and Farm is an online resource guide to the highest quality food that Arkansas has to offer. Farmers can list their CSAs, restaurants their cuisine, and breweries and wineries their beverages for free of charge on the site.

2. Arkansas GardenCorps

Arkansas GardenCorps is an AmeriCorps program hosted by the Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention at the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute in Little Rock, AR. Arkansas GardenCorps promotes the use of school and community gardens to provide nutrition education with the purpose of reducing childhood obesity and to increase environmental awareness and sustainable agriculture practices in Arkansas communities. The organization’s members serve in school and community gardens across the state to develop and maintain gardens, conduct garden-based education, build volunteer and community support for sustainability of gardens, and increase access to garden-grown produce.

3. Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance

The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, based out of Little Rock, AR, works to increase access to nutritious food for low-income, food insecure Arkansans. The Alliance’s Arkansas Gleaning Project has provided more than 8.5 million pounds of fresh, locally grown produce to food banks and pantries across the state. As lead partner for the No Kid Hungry campaign in Arkansas, the Alliance helps increase participation in USDA child nutrition programs that are often the only meals low-income children can depend on, and offers Cooking Matters® programming that teaches low income families how to buy and prepare nutritious food on a budget.

4. The Arkansas Local Food Network

The Arkansas Local Food Network started as the Arkansas Sustainability Network before shifting its focus to food and is now dedicated to connecting farmers to consumers and promoting local food. The Network’s online farmers’ market makes access to local, nutritious food easy for consumers and provides a local food directory as well as micro-loans to smallholder farmers. They have also partnered with Christ Episcopal Church on the Green Groceries Food Pantry, which gets fresh, nutritious, local food from sustainable farms and distributes it free of cost to the low-income families who can least afford it.

5. The Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability at the University of Arkansas

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture works to develop sustainable agricultural communities in rural Arkansas through research projects focusing on community prosperity, economic growth, and the food industry. The Center provides resources, reports, and workshops to facilitate in-depth conversations on the future of food security and sustainability.

6. Feed Communities

Feed Communities has a mission to strengthen the Ozarkansas food community through education, advocacy, and innovation to increase access to healthy foods for all. Programs include Farm to Preschool, Healthy Cooking Classes and gardens focused on relieving health disparities in minority populations in Northwest Arkansas.

7. The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative

The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative enhances health and wellness in tribal communities by advancing healthy food systems, diversified economic development, and cultural food traditions in Indian Country. The IFAI empowers tribal governments, farmers, ranchers and food businesses by providing strategic planning and technical assistance; by creating new academic and professional executive education programs in food systems and agriculture; and by increasing student enrollment in land grant universities in food and agricultural related disciplines. The IFAI proudly supports and promotes the continuing growth of Tribal food systems all across the country through programming like the Model Tribal Food & Agriculture Code project, which will offer up the first comprehensive model set of food and agriculture laws written for Tribes, or the annual Native Youth in Food & Agriculture Leadership Summit, a ten-day summer event that offers American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian youth an intensive educational experience in the complexities of food production and the importance of food systems work in Tribal communities.

8. Little Rock Urban Farming

Little Rock Urban Farming is a community based food enterprise located in the heart of Little Rock, AR, specializing in the production of organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers for local markets. The farm runs a CSA program, is committed to their local community, and engages youth through their Ecokids programs.

9. Ozark Slow Food

Ozark Slow Food’s (OSF) Micro-Grant Program was established in 2012 to help grow the local food culture in the Ozark, AR, region by supporting local farmers and producers. These grants are funded by support from the community via OSF’s Fund Your Farmers event each summer. Micro-grants aid farmers and producers in diversifying and enhancing the production and distribution of sustainably grown, locally produced food in the region.

10. Southern Sustainability Working Group

The Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group is active in 13 southern states. Acting primarily as a hub for smaller state and local level organizations working to create a sustainable food system, the Group’s annual conference is an opportunity for more than 1,200 people to exchange ideas about sustainable food.

11. Heifer International

For more than 70 years, Heifer International has worked to counter global poverty and hunger by promoting livestock as a form of sustainable assistance to poor family farmers. They contribute to the success of smallholder farmers by providing them with livestock, training in environmentally friendly agriculture, and access to veterinary and agriculture services. In December 2014, Heifer announced a Global Impact Goal: by 2020, Heifer International will have helped 4 million families—who currently experience extreme hunger and poverty—in the places where they work to secure an annual living income to live resilient, self-reliant lives.

12. Winrock International

Winrock is a recognized leader in U.S. and international development with a focus on social, agricultural and environmental issues. Its mission is to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity and sustain natural resources across the globe. Domestic projects include the Wallace Center’s Grazing Cover Crops project, which demonstrates how the integration of rotational livestock grazing and multi-species cover crops enhances soil quality and generates economic benefits; its Food Hub Collaboration, which works to ensure the success of existing and emerging food hubs in the U.S.; and its Food LINC initiative, which supports food value chain coordinators who do everything from persuading a national food manufacturer to use local food in his products to working with schools to help kids better understand what they eat.