Arkansas Local Food Network (ALFN) is established on 10 years of hard work, passion, and the commitment of lots of volunteers. The organization was founded in 2006 by Katy Elliot, Nao Ueda, and Danielle dePreux as the Arkansas Sustainability Network (ASN). ASN’s mission was to develop more sustainable communities through education, and innovation, and to encourage community collaboration and progress towards a healthy social, economic, and environmental future.
The ASN Local Food Club was born in June of 2006 when Katy, Nao, and Danielle saw an opportunity to support a local farm family. As Sue and Rusty Nuffer of Armstead Mountain Farms transitioned sales from farmers markets to restaurants, deliveries to their customers demanded that they visit the same areas of central Arkansas each week. Our founders missed seeing them at the local farmers markets and arranged for the farm’s excess produce to be delivered to ASN’s office each week. Katy, Nao, and Danielle called friends and family and coworkers to sell the additional produce. The system served around 35 people.
As word of ASN’s Local Food Club spread, additional farmers joined the effort including Adama Farm (bringing eggs and grass-fed, pasture-raised beef, pork, and lamb to the weekly offering) and Willow Springs Market Garden.
The market continued to grow and an official membership process was implemented in 2007. By the end of year, the Local Food Club had grown to nearly 600 members. A weekly email was sent to the list and orders were processed manually for the first year. By this time, it began to be known as the “online farmers market.”
ASN’s Local Food Club inspired other communities to start their own. By the end of the 2007, Hot Springs, Hot Springs Village, and Conway each developed their own online farmers market.
Our organization’s name was changed from Arkansas Sustainability Network to Arkansas Local Food Network in 2012.