NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Supporting “Arkansas grown, Arkansas made” is the mission behind many local farmers’ markets.
It’s a mission that has gained traction in recent years as the "buy local, eat local’ movement has grown in popularity. But in central Arkansas, it's still been challenging to get the word out about all the farmers’ market spots popping up. That's why local farmers’ markets are working together to encourage people to visit their shops with a new community challenge.
North Little Rock’s Me and McGee market is a full-fledged farmers’ market that started with humble beginnings. Owner, Logan Duvall, said it was started by his grandparents as a small pecan farm.
“We never dreamed it would be what it is today,” he said.
It was a special place for Larry McGee, Logan’s grandpa, who died from cancer a few years ago. The loss inspired his family to create The Larry McGee Foundation.
“It's a way to help caregivers of loved ones who are terminally ill,” he said.
It’s a foundation with a mission recently taking on a new meaning for Duvall.
“Very recently we found out our five year old son was diagnosed with cancer,” he said. “We are in and out of chemo and radiation every day.”
As his son Lander battles chemo, the passion to promote the Larry McGee foundation grows stronger for Duvall. He’s made it a mission raise awareness of the foundation in honor of his grandpa and son and to help other farmers’ market dreams come true. That’s why he started the 2019 Farmers’ Market Challenge. The goal is to encourage people to visit and support seven different markets in central Arkansas.
The challenge is fairly easy. You just visit each of the seven locations and write down the name and date of your visit on a special card. You then submit that completed card for a chance to win prizes in a drawing. The challenge has been a huge help to newer markets like the Bramble Market in Ferndale that David Rice opened a year ago.
“Anything we can do to cross promote and support one another is great,” said Rice.
The Bramble Market is a retail establishment that has the farmers’ market feel.
“We’re in the gardens a lot working with ranches and ranchers, procuring meat and produce, and all that,” he said. “We are trying to buy as much local as possible,” he said.
Rice said he's thankful the challenge has brought new faces in and has created a strong comradery between market owners.
“People come in and are enjoying the concept and liking the idea,” he said. “I’m always happy to point them to other markets to find other things and meet other people.”
You can head to Me and McGee to get the challenge card. Your choice of any seven farmers’ markets in central Arkansas will count toward completion of the challenge. The challenge ends in November.
For more information visit here.