Affordable services to launch food startups.
Small to mid-sized farms often struggle to make a profit with the conventional marketing of fresh crops in traditional markets. These producers often seek other markets in an attempt to increase profits and keep locally-grown food in the regional food systems. Small, specialty crop farmers mostly rely on seasonal retail outlets as a way to sell their crops. Creating processed, value-added foods from these crops allows producers to sell products year-round. It also allows producers to use excess crops to create sustainable local food systems. The Arkansas Food Innovation Center (AFIC) provides facilities and equipment for use in developing these value-added products. Food entrepreneurs have access to the technical expertise of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture’s Department of Food Science, and other departments within the Division of Agriculture and University of Arkansas community.
The Arkansas Food Innovation Center (AFIC) was established in 2013 on a trial basis to assist local food entrepreneurs in Northwest Arkansas. Since being inaugurated, AFIC has successfully assisted a range of clients from local farmers to entrepreneurs to nonprofit organizations. These efforts have not only aided numerous agricultural producers with product development and market expansion for their crops, but have also helped the community by preventing the waste of surplus crops. These activities have given the AFIC staff the opportunity to enhance their skills and capabilities to better assist local producers.
AFIC Activities Report
A recently published report Arkansas Food Innovation Center: Helping Entrepreneurs Grow Arkansas’ Economy provides an overview of the many types of services AFIC offers clients and as well as an overview of activities of AFIC during its first five years. Click here to view a pdf of this report.
MEET THE STAFF
Associate VP for Agriculture-Research
Director Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station