Arkansas Grown Arkansas Farm to School

Leadership and Policies

Arkansas Farm to School Collaborative

In September 2017, a small group of state agencies and organizations convened for the first time at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute to discuss collaborating and moving farm to school forward in the state. This group became known as the Arkansas Farm to School Collaborative in 2018. In late 2019, the Arkansas Department of Agriculture became the facilitator of the Collaborative. The Collaborative members meet bi-monthly to share updates and work together on projects that increase the opportunity for engagement in farm to school in the state.

Vision

We envision a future for Arkansas in which every school and community provides a healthy environment for every child. We foresee leaders at every level who have developed supportive policies and programs, effective marketing, and streamlined communication and procurement processes to make farm to school an integrated cultural norm. As a result, Arkansas children no longer struggle with obesity, schools and school gardens are seen as community assets, Arkansas growers are sustainable, supported, and more abundant, and every Arkansan has greater access to good health, a vibrant community, economic prosperity, a clean environment, and social justice.

Long-Term Goal

100 percent of schools in Arkansas will have the opportunity to participate in farm to school by 2025.

  • Schools: K-12 schools, early childhood education facilities, and alternative learning environments.

  • Participate: provide programming or an activity once per year.

Members

Arkansas Department of Agriculture, Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas Foodbank, Arkansas Grown, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Arkansas Produce Safety, Arkansas SNAP Ed, Fayetteville Public Schools Seed to Student Program, FoodCorps Arkansas, Healthy Active Arkansas, National Center for Appropriate Technology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service, and the Wallace Center at Winrock International.

Learn More

To learn more about the Arkansas Farm to School Collaborative view the handout below.

State Policy Timeline

2014 - Present

Governor’s Proclamation: Arkansas Farm to School Month

In 2014, then-governor Mike Beebe first proclaimed October as Arkansas Farm to School Month. Governor Asa Hutchinson has continued the tradition every year since. Watch the 2020 Proclamation here.

2015

Governor’s Initiative: Healthy Active Arkansas

The governor-endorsed Healthy Active Arkansas Initiative was sparked by the state’s consistently poor ranking with respect to obesity rates and as a way to encourage and enable healthier lifestyles in Arkansas. The single, overarching goal is to increase the percentage of adults, adolescents and children who are at healthy weight. Learn more here.

2017

Act 617: Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act

This bill created a definition of what is local in Arkansas. It also required state agencies who receive $25,000 from the state and operate a food program to report annually on their local food purchases. View here.

2019

Act 506: Farm to School and Early Childhood Education Act

This bill established the Farm to School and Early Childhood Education Program and a position for a full-time Farm to School and Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator within the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. The bill also requires an annual report from state farm to school partners. View here.

2019

Act 796: Amended Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act

This bill amended the 2017 House Bill 1839: Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act. It increased the goal to at least 20 percent and expanded the number of institutions required to report local food purchases. View here.

2021

Act 1074: Healthy Active Arkansas Schools Act

This bill established that the school wellness policies may include language promoting school gardens. It also described that the Arkansas Department of Agriculture may provide a local incentive program at public school districts and open-enrollment public charter schools in an amount not to exceed ten cents ($.10) for each school meal that uses local farm or food products. View here.