Food insecurity in Arkansas is second highest in the nation. From 2019-2021, 15% of Arkansas households did not have adequate food for one or more people in the house due to lack of resources.

Saving Black and Rural Lives Through Food Sustainability
The Center for Research, Health, and Social Justice is pleased to host the 2023 Community Health Impact Conference. The theme, Saving Black and Rural Lives Through Food Sustainability, focuses on strengthening community assets, talents partnerships and networks that help communities disproportionately impacted by food insecurity develop novel and sustainable models that help solve food insecurity and increase healthy eating.  Regular access to healthy foods and adequate amounts of healthy food can reduce the risk for chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular diseases in Black and rural communities.   Unfortunately, Black and rural communities suffer disproportionate deaths from cancer and cardiovascular diseases and food insecurity.

VISION is to create equitable opportunities for Black and rural communities to develop sustainable food systems that promote healthy eating and eliminates food insecurity and the disproportionate burden of chronic diseases.

The GOALS of the conference are to increase community skills and competencies to:

1) Reduce food insecurity-related cancer and cardiovascular diseases in rural and Black communities.

2) Support social justice reform in rural and Black communities.

Food insecurity increases the risk for chronic diseases.  In households with very low food security (the most food insecure), nearly 53% are likely to have a chronic disease. The prevalence of chronic diseases is 18% higher in very low food secure than in high food secure households.
Monday, October 16, 2023 (hybrid meeting)
8:00-4:30pm CST

7:30 - 8:00 AM
Vendor Registration and Set-up
8:00 - 8:30 AM
Registration and Continental Breakfast in the Café
8:30 - 8:45 AM
Zoom Meeting Opens
8:45 - 8:50 AM
Welcome and Land Acknowledgement

Sandra Cooper
Community Health Worker, Center for Research, Health, and Social Justice, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
8:50 - 9:00 Am 
Saving Black and Rural Lives Through Food Sustainability

Pebbles Fagan, PhD, MPH
Professor, Center for Research, Health and Social Justice
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

9:00-9:10 Am 
Video Clip on Food Justice
9:10 - 9:20 AM
Opening Remarks: Social Justice

The Honorable Vivian Flowers, Arkansas House of Representative, District 65 Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus

9:20 - 9:30 AM
Opening Remarks: Food Security

The Honorable Fred Allen Arkansas, House of Representatives, District 77 Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus

9:30 - 10:30 am
Keynote Speaker and Plenary
Speaker: Dewayne L. Goldmon, PhD
USDA Senior Advisor for Racial Social Justice and Equity
10:30 - 11:00 AM
Break and Visit with Vendors
 11:00 - 12:00  am
Establishing Community Gardens 101

Moderator: Charles Donaldson, EdD
Speakers: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Food Security Initiative - Minnie Hatchett, EdD, James B. Lee, Kelvin Trice, MS, MPA
12:00 - 1:00 PM
Grab your Favorite Healthy Lunch
12:15 - 1:00 PM
Healthy Cooking Lessons and Demonstration Class 1
Youtube/Zoom Live

Celebrity Chef Alicia Watson
Winner of the 2022 Food Network Big Restaurant Bet Competition
1:00 - 2:00 PM
HBCUs on the Move: Making the Difference in Food Security

Moderator: Nina Lyon Bennett, PhD
Panelists: Dr. Suzzette Goldmon, Dr. Zeeshan Habeeb, Dr. Karleah Harris, Teki K. Hunt, M.Ed., ABICE 

2:00 - 3:00 PM
Yes! We Must Change Policies at All Levels to End Food Insecurity

Loretta Alexander, MHSA
Retired Director of Health Policy, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
3:00 PM- 3:30 pm 
Break and Visit with Vendors
3:30 pm - 4:15 pm 
Breakout Rooms
Room A
Composting Practices
Rev. Charles B. Frost Sr, PHR., BSE., MDIV., DDIV.

Master Gardener

Room B
Vivian Wright, CEO V. Wright & Associates

Room C
Mindful Moments with Favors
Shanob Favors, Mindfulness Instructor
4:15 pm - 4:45 pm
Westwind School of Performing Arts
Video Presentations
4:45 pm - 5:00 pm
15 Minutes of Meditation
Shanob Favors, Mindfulness Instructor
5:00 PM -6:30pm 
Afternoon Reception
The Center for Research, Health, and Social Justice invites you to attend a fun and relaxing evening reception. 
Keynote Speaker
Dewayne L. Goldmon, PhD
USDA Senior Advisor for Racial Justice and Equity
Dr. Dewayne L. Goldmon received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arkansas and his Ph.D. from Iowa State University, all in agronomy. After four years as a field researcher with American Cyanamid (acquired by BASF), he joined Monsanto Company (acquired by Bayer Crop Sciences), working 25 years in the agricultural chemical and seed industry.
 Featured Speakers
Honorable Fred Allen
Arkansas House of Representatives, District 77
Honorable Vivian Flowers
Arkansas House of Representatives, District 65
Kwami Abdul-Bey
Washitaw Foothills Youth Media Arts & Literacy Collective
Sandra Cooper
Community Health Worker
Center For Research, Health and Social Justice, University of Arkansas Medical Sciences

Special Guest

Chef Alicia Watson

Chef Alicia Watson of Little Rock, owner of the plant-based culinary wellness food delivery and catering business Vito & Vera. Watson teaches an only plant-based course at the culinary school: healthy foods and nutrition.
The first 100 people to register for the conference will be entered into a pool.  Ten lucky people will be selected to participate in a cooking demonstration hosted by celebrity Chef Alicia Watson.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023
8:45am-1:30pm CST (Virtual Only)
8:45 - 8:50 AM
Opening Remarks

Aaliyah Orloff, BA
Community Health Coordinator,
Center for Research, Health, and Social Justice
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
8:50- 9:30 AM
Organizational Presentations for Those Awarded to Do Community Garden Initiatives
9:30 - 10:45 AM
Townhall Meeting: Food Sustainability in Black and Rural Communities 

Moderator: Mr. Kwame Abdul-Bey
PanelistsJeff Webb, Obafemi Kinsiedilele
Live on Radio Show via Bishop Fred Harris
10:45 - 11:00 AM
11:00 - 11:15 AM
TAG: A Look at the Tobacco, Alcohol and Grocery Outlets Across Pulaski County

Sydney Baker, MPH
Center for Research, Health, and Social Justice
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences 
11:15 - 12:15 Pm
Healthy Cooking Lessons and Demonstration Class 2

Featuring Chef Alicia Watson, 
Winner of the 2022 Food Network Big Restaurant Bet Competition
12:15 - 12:30 pm
Closing Remarks and Next Steps

Pastor Gregory Nettles
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Camden, AR
Featured Garden Stories
Communities around the United States have developed community gardens to address food insecurity. Click on one of the videos to learn more about their stories.
Food Vendors
​​​​ Community Garden Application
If you are a non-profit or educational institution of higher learning and are committed to social justice, you are eligible to apply.    Please click on the link above to complete the application. Once you complete your application, a budget form will be sent to you.  Your complete application and budget form must be submitted by October 1, 5pm.  If you are selected as a final candidate, our team will set up a Zoom interview during the week of October 2nd to learn more about your proposed project.  Final teams will be notified by October 9th. Garden teams will present their garden idea virtually on October 17th at the Community Health Impact Conference: Saving Black and Rural Lives Through Food Sustainability.
Arkansas Community Foundation
Community Gardens
Community Gardens Program
Feed First USA
Garden Grants
Kids Gardening
Little Green Thumbs
Nonprofit support

Arkansas Federation of Garden Clubs

American Community Garden Association

Little Rock Garden Club

NLR Community Garden Program
Samaritan Community Center

Skyridge Community Garden

Heber Springs Community Garden 

Jonesboro Community Gardens Network 

Faulkner County Urban Farming Project

Hot Springs Communty Garden

City of Pine Bluff Community 

GSC Community Gardens 

Clarksville Community Garden

Oak Forest Community Garden

Dunbar Garden 

Woodruff Community Garden

AR Childrens Community Garden

Little Rock Garden Club

The Promise Garden

Crump Community Garden

Mother Earths Community Garden 

Community Gardens in the Park 

State Plant Board Rules on Reciprocal Temeporary and Provisional Licensure
Criminal Background Check Rules 

Arkansas Rules on Pesticide Use

Arkansas Pesticide Control Act, Ark. Code Ann. § 2-16-401 et seq

Rules under the Arkansas Pesticide Control Act

Pesticide Use and Application Law and Rules 

Pesticide Enforcement Response Rules (Red Book)

Regulatory Services
Arkansas Boll Weevil Suppression Eradication Act

Arkansas Laws on Plants and Seeds

Boll Weevil Regulations

Commercial Bait and Ornamental Fish Act

Circular 21 - Aquaculture Rules

Circular 5 - Apiary Law & Rules

Circular 6 - Pest Control Law & Rules Rev. Aug

Circular 11 - Plant Diseases and Pests Rules

Ginseng Rules

Licensing, Certification & Permitting of Military, Veterans, & Spouses

Pink Bollworm Regulations

Produce Safety Rule

Produce Safety Enforcement Response Rules

Quality Control 
Agricultural Consultant Law and Rules

Catfish Processing Law and Rules

Circular 15 - Seed Certification Rules 

Circular 10 – Regulations on the Sale of Planting Seed in Arkansas 

Circular 4 - Public Grain Warehouse Laws & Rules

Feed Law and Regulations

Fertilizer Law and Regulations

Grain Dealer Laws and Rules

Grain Grading Act and Rules

Industrial Hemp Research Program

Lime Law

Soil Amendment Law and Rules

100% Natural Organic Fertilization Law

Bureau Standards
Bureau of Standards NIST Rules

Civil Penalty Matrix under the Weights & Measures Law and Fuel and Lubricants Law 
A-Z Vegetable Gardening

Arkansas Community Gardens | How to start a community garden 

Beginning Gardening Videos

Canning and Food Preservation

Community Garden Business Plan

Community Garden Fact Sheet

Community Garden Proposal 
VINES-CG-Proposal-Manual-3.pdf (

Community Garden Start-Up guide


Creating a Raised Bed Garden

Fall Planting Dates

Grow Your Own Groceries Webinars

Hobby Greenhouses

In the Garden Publication


Making a Community Garden

Plant Hardiness Map

Plant Health Clinic

Safe Use of Rain Barrel Water

Spring & Summer Planting Dates

Starting a community Garden

Steps to Creating a Community Garden

Straw Bale Gardening

Summer Squash Gardening

The Basics on Starting a Community Garden

Tomato gardening

Vegetable Weights Per Bushel

Public Gardens
Truelove Seeds
Hudson Valley Seed Company
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Conference Location
October 16-17, 2023

A hybrid meeting will be hosted on October 16th at:
The Venue at Westwind
7318 Windsong Drive
North Little Rock, AR 72113

The meeting will be held virtually only on October 17th
email: [email protected]
Phone: ‪(501) 777-8398‬

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