For Arkansans, fresh, local produce is now just a tap away.
Thanks to a partnership between the Arkansas Agriculture Department and Arkansas Farm Bureau, as well as funds through a Specialty Crop Block Grant, a new mobile app is in the works, featuring locally grown foods at consumers’ fingertips.
Appropriately named Locally Grown, the app gives users the ability to look up fresh products by operation (farmers market, roadside stand, etc.), close proximity or tailor results to what they enjoy.
“We are excited about the new Locally Grown app as another avenue for consumers to connect with Arkansas producers. Consumers continue to tell us they want to know more about where their food is grown, how it is grown and who is growing it, and they are turning to their mobile devices to find that information,” Adriane Barnes, director of communications for the Arkansas Agriculture Department, says.
While the app is extremely helpful to consumers, it benefits Arkansas growers as well, as it aims to feature Arkansas Grown growers and producers, giving them more publicity.
The Locally Grown app is a convenient way for participating producers to reach local audiences and be more accessible to consumers. Producers can provide information about their products and their businesses, helping consumers make that important personal connection they want with the person growing their food. The Locally Grown app is also a great tool for promoting local agritourism opportunities that many producers offer on their farms.
Barnes adds that an additional benefit of using the Locally Grown app is that it helps to keep consumer spending within the communities and supports local economies.
As of 2014, Arkansas had nearly 100 farmers markets operating, according to the USDA, and is ranked in the top 10 nationally for the biggest increase in number of farmers markets. In the nation, farmers markets have grown 76 percent over six years.
The Locally Grown app is free and available to download on Android and Apple devices.
“Agriculture is the state’s largest industry,” Barnes says. “We are very proud of our many farmers and ranchers across the state as well as the consumers that support them.”