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Heifer expands mission by staying close to home

By ArkansasOnline

This article was published July 5, 2011 at 2:15 p.m.

Heifer International, the Little Rock-based company known for its programs to help countries around the world, is starting a new program aimed at ending hunger and poverty here at home in 14 counties in Arkansas.

The five-year project, called The Seeds of Change Initiative, will start with a $2.25 million to help build sustainable community food systems in the Arkansas Delta and Appalachia.

“Heifer’s role is to provide grants and technical assistance and to help bring partners together to increase the number and the sustainable productive capacity of small and medium-scale farmers,” Perry Jones, director of the Heifer International U.S. program, said.

According to Jones, the partners will create community food enterprises linking farmers to markets.

To qualify for the program a community must have a predominantly rural population not larger than 500,00 and at least 14 percent of households should be considered food insecure — lack of access to enough food to fully meet basic needs at all times.

Initial funding is open to southern Appalachia—Allegheny, Ashe, Watauga and Wilkes counties in North Carolina, and Johnson County in Tennessee and the Arkansas Delta—Arkansas, Chicot, Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Desha, Drew, Greene, Lee, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett and St. Francis counties.

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