The Seed and the Story is a weekly column exploring folklife, sustainability, oral history, human rights,and community in Yell County (and surrounding areas), Arkansas.
We focus on the local but the concepts are universal. The column is published in the Post Dispatch and is syndicated in the Courier. Please remember to support your local paper and independent media! The Seed and the Story column is just of many features you can find on the Boiled Down Juice. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. If you enjoy our posts, please tell a friend. And thanks for reading.
All across the state Farmers Markets are beginning to open. Not only are markets are a great way for growers to connect with the community, they’re also a great place for shoppers to find regionally grown food and get to know their local growers. When we think of markets we often think of the Saturday morning variety where you peruse booths. The great thing about these markets, of course, is the face-to-face time you get with neighbors and farmers alike. But sometimes it’s not always feasible to make it to market every Saturday. Thanks to a network called Locally Grown there’s another option for those wanting to support local growers.
Locally Grown is a software program that connects small farmers with community members, allowing them to shop and purchase their food online and then pick it up at a central location. The Russellville Locally Grown market is known as the Russellville Community Market and it works like this: When you visit the site (www. http://russellville.locallygrown.net/) you’ll see a tab called, “The Market.” Click on that link and you can see what’s available that week from all participating regional farmers and growers. As of right now, you can find anything from jams, jellies and spices to meats like beef, pork, poultry buffalo and elk. There are also berries, potatoes, squash, and pretty much any in-season vegetable you could ever want.
Market manager Bryan Mader says that the market currently partners with about twenty growers, but that number may expand as more people utilize the market. The organizing end of the market is currently operated by the ATU Anthropology Club, including Bryan Mader an ATU student. Writing in an email Mader stated, “The market has really shown me that a group of people can put their heads together and create an idea that benefits the community economically, socially, environmentally, and healthfully.”
One of the great things about the Locally Grown site is that there is an entire section dedicated to information about the local growers. Included in the list are Bluff Top out of Dover, Bright Moon Ranch in Russellville, Bean’s Homestead in Yell County, Hauna Lea Farms out of Clarksville and Sweet Spot Farm out of Atkins, just to name a few. It’s inspiring to see how many small, local growers there are in the region and the online market provides an easy way to support their work and get locally grown food on your table.
To start ordering, set up a membership account on the webpage under the “Your Account” at the top of the page. A small membership fee is required to help keep the market up and running. Once you have an account you’ll get an email each Sunday when the market opens and you’ll have through Tuesday evening to place your orders. Orders are picked up at Thursday between 4pm and 6pm at All Saints Episcopal Church located at 501 S Phoenix Ave in Russellville. To learn more, visit the site at http://russellville.locallygrown.net/welcome or on Facebook here.
Do you purchase or sell to/from a Locally Grown network? I’d love to hear about it!