Lake Village is among the 27 communities across the U.S. selected by the Obama Administration to participate in the “Local Foods, Local Places” (LFLP) initiative, a two-year federal program that provides direct technical support to build local food systems as part of a community’s emerging economic action plan.
Developed as a partnership among the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Transportation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the Delta Regional Authority, the initiative is part of the White House Rural Council’s Rural Impact $10 billion investment to improve quality of life and upward mobility for children and families in rural and tribal communities.
Under this effort, a team of agricultural, transportation, public health, environmental, and regional economic experts will work directly with the South Arkansas community to spur local economic growth and improve the quality of life for all residents.
“One of the greatest opportunities we see in the Delta region is entrepreneurship and innovation in the agriculture sector. Delta communities have some of the richest farmland and experienced farmers in the world and thus a competitive advantage to develop impactful strategies to feed their residents and boost economic and community development,” said Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chair Chris Masingill. “We’re seeing impressive results from last year’s communities and look forward to the innovative strategies these new communities will create.”
The selected communities were chosen from more than 300 applicants. Each LFLP partner community works with a team of experts who help community members recognize local assets and opportunities, set goals for revitalizing downtowns and neighborhoods, develop an implementation plan and then identify targeted resources from the participating federal agencies to help implement those plans.
“Local Foods, Local Places helps people access healthy local food and supports new businesses in neighborhoods that need investment,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “The program is good for the environment, public health and the economy. By helping bring healthy local food to market and offering new walking and biking options, Local Foods, Local Places can help improve air quality, support local economies, and protect undeveloped green space.”
Launched in 2014, North Little Rock, Osceola and Flippin were among the 26 rural and urban communities that participated in the first leg of the federal food development program. In North Little Rock, the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub and community officials developed an action plan focused on creating a new food hub, enhancing the services of regional food bank efforts, and linking emerging food-related activities to boosting walkability, livability and economic vibrancy in the Argenta neighborhood.
In Flippin, the Ozark community came together to create a new school garden, launched a farmers’ market, and planned a new sidewalk connecting the town’s school complex, downtown area, and park.
Technical support teams in Osceola, which included local city officials, the University of Arkansas and the local school district, used their new action plan to coordinate and enhance healthy foods education, including developing a more wholesome cooking curriculum in the school district.
According to Lake Village’s application, the Delta city plans to grow a community garden, expand worksite wellness programing for local businesses, and connect its parks with new trail systems to improve local food access, promote active living, and stimulate economic development.
Link here for more information on the initiative.