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Heifer USA

Poverty is Closer to Home than You Think

Heifer’s work in the United States is centered on building and reviving local food systems so that farmers and families in Arkansas, one of the poorest regions in the USA, are making a difference in their own lives and the lives of their neighbors.

One in four people in Arkansas suffer from food insecurity, and unemployment rates are higher than that of the nation. The power of Heifer USA lies in the belief that small-scale farmers can feed the world and revive their local economies using the impact of locally produced food. We are empowering food entrepreneurs and building food enterprises to address every link in the food value chain—from farm to table.

Our mission is to create jobs and wealth through socially-driven farmer-owned enterprises to end poverty in rural America.

In 2014, Heifer USA helped to launch the Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative (GRFC) and a Multi-farm CSA enterprise in Arkansas, currently branded Foodshed Farms. Both enterprises are being incubated to connect small-scale sustainable Arkansas farmers to stable and profitable markets, while reconnecting Arkansas communities to sustainably grown produce and meat products grown around the state.

GRFC has eight member farms: Arroyo Family Farm, Cedar Creek Farm, Dettelbach Farms, Falling Sky Farm, Freckle Face Farm, Lawrence Farms, Onyekwelu Farm and The Other Side Farm. Together, the farmers share resources and responsibilities to provide their customers with meat from sustainably raised livestock thereby restoring local agricultural communities. Beyond supporting member farms, GRFC partners with Heifer USA to provide support to individuals and families who are interested in enter the sustainable-agriculture economy. Currently GRFC has five apprentice farms.

Foodshed Farms aims to grow food that cultivates jobs and community by connecting farmers to markets across Arkansas with seasonal CSA shares. By purchasing a CSA share, shareholders can pledge to financially support local farms in exchange for weekly shares of fresh produce and pasture-raised poultry.

Register with GRFC’s Herds to Homes farm fresh deliveries and Foodshed Farms’ Arkansas produce for a CSA share that supports small-holder farmers in Arkansas to help the local food movement grow.

This Program Will Transform Local Food Systems

A food system is all the processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population: growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption and disposal of food. Heifer USA focuses its programming in six key areas

  • Production
  • Infrastructure
  • Markets
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Financial Capital
  • Social Capital

Same Heifer model, New Heifer Approach

Historically, Heifer’s model promotes sustainable agriculture interventions through a values-based community approach. In the USA, we use a farmer-owned business model as our development approach while providing resources and technical support coordinated with local partners to:

  • Create and support Community Supported Agriculture Programs (CSAs)
  • Develop farmer-owned businesses (horticulture and livestock)
  • Boost market access for farmers
  • Train farmers in sustainable farming practices
  • Invest in local food-related enterprises
  • Provide strategic business planning tools to farmers
  • Create wholesale and local farmers’ markets and connect our farmers to them

In 2014, Heifer USA helped to launch the Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative (GRFC) and a Multi-farm CSA enterprise in Arkansas, currently branded Foodshed Farms. Both enterprises are being incubated to connect small-scale sustainable Arkansas farmers to stable and profitable markets, while reconnecting Arkansas communities to sustainably grown produce and meat products grown around the state.

Register with GDFC’s Herds to Homes farm fresh deliveries and Foodshed Farms’ Arkansas produce for a CSA share that supports small-holder farmers in Arkansas.