Starting a business begins with a great idea, but turning that idea into a reality takes a lot more.
That’s where the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Share Grounds program can help — from helping entrepreneurs scale up recipes to understanding food laws to providing a permitted kitchen space where food entrepreneurs can work.
The Division of Agriculture will offer training on Saturday, November 6, on "Starting Your Food Business at the Share Grounds.” The in-person workshop is scheduled for 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Cooperative Extension Service state office, 2301 S. University Ave. in Little Rock.
In-person attendance is limited to 20 people; lunch will be provided.
A virtual option also will be offered via Zoom. Participation in the webinar is free, but registration is required. CLICK HERE to register.
Participants will learn how to take their food product idea to market and how to set up a food business at Share Grounds. The webinar will provide information about the Arkansas Food Freedom Act, creating food products, food manufacturing and business planning. Attendees will also get a virtual tour of the Division of Agriculture’s Share Grounds kitchen incubator and aggregation center site in McCrory.
“This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in starting a food business to learn what it takes to successfully take a product to market,” said Amanda Philyaw Perez, food systems and food safety specialist with the Division of Agriculture’s Local, Regional and Safe Foods team. “They may be a perfect candidate to use our Share Grounds facilities.”
The Division has two Share Ground sites — one in McCrory in Woodruff County and one in Rison in Cleveland County. Both use existing facilities and infrastructure at the county fairgrounds. The kitchens are certified and permitted.
“Our goal is to help entrepreneurs successfully develop food products, which increases access to and consumption of local foods in Arkansas,” Perez said. “It also supports local farms and the larger regional food economy.”
Since 2020, Share Grounds personnel have worked with about 45 clients, who are in various stages of product development.