Department of Agriculture
Supporting Arkansas farmers and ranchers while ensuring safe food, fiber, and forest products for the citizens of Arkansas, the nation, and across the globe
The Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act
Creating, Strengthening, and Expanding Arkansas’s Food and Farm Economies.
The Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act (Local Food Act) was enacted in 2017 and amended in 2019 to create, strengthen, and expand local farm and food economies throughout the state. The Local Food Act asks agencies to set a goal of at least 20% of the *agency’s purchases of food products to be spent on local food and it requires agencies to provide information on their **local food procurement budget.
*Agency: Institute of higher education (college, university), child care facility (k-12 school, early childhood education center, juvenile detention center, youth residential treatment facility), state park, after-school program, state agency or other entity of the state, and designees under contract within Arkansas.
**Local Food: Food products that are grown in Arkansas and/or packaged and processed in Arkansas.
The Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act (Local Food Act) is a “farm to institution” policy, which aims to increase the purchase of locally grown and processed food products in institution-based food service programs across the state of Arkansas.
Procuring products from within the state spurs local economic development by engaging Arkansas farms and producers. In addition, farm to institution practices can provide healthier, fresher food choices to students, employees, and others eating in these institutions while also engaging and educating consumers about the value of eating healthy, local food. Potential benefits of farm to institution practices range from creating a stable market for local products, increasing participation in meal programs, and increasing community awareness of local farming and food systems.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is honored to support the goals of the Local Food Act and is pleased to submit the Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act 2020 Annual Report. The 2021 goals for the Department, in partnership with the Office of Community Health and Research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), are:
• Identify which agencies in the state meet the eligibility requirements for reporting based on receiving at least $25,000 from the state and offering a food service program;
• Improve the reporting instrument based on key stakeholder feedback;
• Provide technical assistance to institutions;
• Develop lists, resources, and tools that connect institutions to the supply chain;
• Work with distributors to help them identify local farm and food products; and
• Work with farmers and producers to connect them to institutions.
Local Food Act Webinar
On August 18, 2020 we hosted a Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act Q&A Webinar. The slides from the webinar can be found here and the recording of the webinar is below.
If you have any questions, please reach out to LFFJAHelp@arkansas.gov.