Argenta Market to open April 1 – finally!

Friends, I don’t know about you, but I have been waiting for what seems like FOREVER for the Argenta Market to open in downtown North Little Rock.

After delays, postponements and more delays, it will open April 1 in the building that used to house Argenta Seafood restaurant. According to Chef Shane, it will be well worth the wait (and I can see my trips to Whole Foods in west Little Rock becoming a thing of the past). Click here for the scoop on our long-awaited market.

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The good Earth

The Certified Arkansas Farmers Market (Sixth & Main streets in North Little Rock’s Argenta neighboorhood) opened yesterday for the 2009 season. I really hated to miss it, but Bruce and I went to Batesville for the annual Scottish festival at Lyon College (more on that later). But I’m so excited that it’s finally open! Saturday, April 25, is Basket-A-Month pickup day, so I can’t wait for the fresh eggs, milk, cheese, pasta, STRAWBERRIES and other goodies that will be in the basket. Maybe I’ll make strawberry cake or muffins next weekend!

Come on down Saturday for fresh, Arkansas-grown produce, dairy, beefalo, honey, homemade pasta and much more. Support your local farmer. Maybe you’ll see us there. Bruce and I will be volunteering during the basket pickup.

After that, walk down to Riverfront Park for the Arkansas Earth Day Festival. The festival is on the North Little Rock side of the river between the Main Street and Broadway bridges. Maybe you’ll see me there. I’ll be volunteering at the Basket-A-Month booth.

The festival is on the 25th, although Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22. Poke around the official Earth Day site and find out little ways you can make a difference. Support your local planet.

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Argenta Market coming soon!

Got this e-mail yesterday from Jody Hardin, manager of the Certified Arkansas Farmers Market in Argenta (downtown North Little Rock). Woohoo!

December 30, 2008

Hello Locavores, we have big news!

It’s finally official.  Argenta Market will be located in what is currently Argenta Seafood, at 6th and Main St. in the historic district of Argenta in downtown N. Little Rock.

You all have heard us talking about the new Argenta Market for over a year now, and we are incredibly excited to finally announce the big news of our new location.  We hope this will be your favorite new community food source, with the widest and deepest selection of local foods in central Arkansas.  We plan to start developing the store in January and open by March.

This all came together when the Isaac brothers (Brian and Eric), owners of Argenta Seafood and Ristorante Capeo, offered the ideal location with ample space for our entire concept (5,500 sq. ft).  The Isaac brothers thought that our concept was so powerful and potentially beneficial to the future of Argenta, as well as the local food movement in Arkansas, that they agreed today to allow our group to begin the transition from a [chic] seafood restaurant and bar to a model, gourmet-specialty grocery with a local foods mission.

Additionally, we have developed a very special, mutually beneficial relationship with the Isaac brothers over the last month while we discussed the possibility of Argenta Market.  They have been most supportive while we’ve discussed ways to help each other, and with their experience and knowledge of food preparation, will all add a new and exciting dimension to the new business.

The New Argenta Group led by John Gaudin, have been instrumental in making this happen, and we are very grateful to them all.  Also, the consistent support of Mayor Patrick H. Hays and many others in the community have made this the most inspiring experience of a life time.  With the energy and planning that we have put into this we are very excited to finally know what we will be doing next year, and many more.  See you soon at Argenta Market!

Happy New Year!
And, thanks for your awesome support in 2008. Our successes in 2008 wouldn’t have been possible without you.

Barbara Armstrong
Jody Hardin
-Foodshed Farm, All Arkansas Basket A Month CSA (2007)
-Certified Arkansas Farmers‚ Market, Inc.(2008)
-Argenta Market, LLC (2009)

P.S. I hope to have more info about our business concept on our web site, soon!

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Not crazy for catalogs?

Too much junk mail piling up on the table by your front door? Too much temptation to whip out the credit card and buy that fabulous new (insert name of fashion item or electronic gadget) when you look at catalogs? Too little time to sort through the stack and shred the pages containing personal info? And, most important, want to stop merchants from killing all those trees?

Have I got a site for you!

Via Catalog Choice, you can register your preferences with retailers who send you unwanted catalogs.

Just today, we received a catalog from The Container Store, and I have no idea how we got on that mailing list (it was addressed to Bruce, who never signs up for anything). Maybe the company’s marketers just blanketed the region because there’s a new store in Little Rock. Who knows, but we don’t need or want their catalogs.

Darn it all, The Container Store isn’t on the list of participating merchants, but others who pester me with catalogs are. And if a merchant isn’t a participant, you can still register your preference. Catalog Choice will keep track of it for future reference. Here’s what they say about merchants that aren’t listed:

“If you can’t find the catalog(s) you are looking for, please help us by suggesting them for inclusion in our database. Just go to the Find Catalogs screen, and click the “Suggest a catalog” link at the top, and enter your catalog title. (This is more efficient than emailing them to us.)”

I’ve poked around the site for a while this evening, and I’m so excited that it exists. Even though some of my merchants aren’t listed there, I recognized the names of many major retailers, some of which I know you receive catalogs from. I’m adding the URL to my favorite links on the right, so if you forget to bookmark it you can always come back here to find it.

So check it out and save a tree (or three).

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Bravo, Harding University

As the editor of three weekly newspapers, I get dozens of news releases a week. Most of them are via e-mail (thank God), but, even though those don’t waste paper (or kill trees, as I refer to it), sometimes I just hate sorting through the backlog in my inbox. And, to be honest, I delete some of them after a quick skim.

This one was a wonderful exception. Because Harding University is in Searcy and outside our circulation area, I knew we wouldn’t run it in any of my papers, but I asked the university’s PR person for permission to reprint it in full here. She wholeheartedly agreed.

September 18, 2008

Go Green initiative progressing at Harding University

SEARCY, Ark. – Green is the new black and gold for Harding University. On April 22, Earth Day, the University announced an initiative to “Go Green.” Environmental efforts have made such rapid strides that every day is now an earth-friendly day on campus.

To formally oversee these efforts, the University formed an environmental stewardship committee, which is chaired by Dr. Jim Carr, executive vice president of the University. Students, faculty and staff can contact this committee with questions, requests and ideas by e-mailing

Carr stated, “I am personally very excited to chair this effort at Harding. We are going to do our best as a committee to mobilize the entire University community to be good stewards of our limited resources and to preserve the terrific environment we have been given on our campus, in Arkansas and in our beautiful country. Our progress in just six months has been nothing short of remarkable. We have already recycled thousands of pounds of paper, aluminum and plastic and have made plans to plant hundreds of new hardwood and pine seedlings in our area.”

According to Greg Tatera, committee member and director of Facility Services, a high level of excitement is also evident among students on campus. He said, “It’s been a long time coming. There’s been a lot of momentum building behind this, and we’ve seen huge strides for the program.”

In an effort to promote conservation, the University cafeteria no longer offers trays. Food Service Director Judy Hart reported that this simple action saves nearly 600 gallons of heated water per meal period, reduces food waste by 20 percent per consumer, and helps prevent cleaning agents from polluting the water supply. The University saves more than $83 per week on water, electricity, sewage and chemicals.

Additional environmentally friendly initiatives abound on campus. Danny DeRamus, director of Physical Resources and environmental stewardship committee member, said that since installation of programmable thermostats, “The price of usage has stayed the same, even with the addition of buildings over the last several years.”

New or recently renovated buildings such as the Ulrey Performing Arts Center and Center for Health Sciences are fitted with thermostats that can only be shifted two or three degrees at a time. This saves energy costs by decreasing the workload for air conditioning and heating units and has also cut down on the number of maintenance calls. Furthermore, the new Center for Health Sciences is the first building on campus to reap energy benefits from a motion detector-based lighting system.

Since its recent inception, the recycling program has expanded from three trial containers to more than 200 bins across campus. Paper recycling is available in nearly every office, and the University will soon collect used ink cartridges and cell phones, old batteries, and discarded CDs and DVDs.

An upsurge in the number of recycled goods picked up from campus illustrates eager participation in the new program. The University has recycled 2,417 bags, or 49,000 pounds, of materials since May 15.

Tatera is encouraged by the success of the recycling program, but he further hopes that this new emphasis on environmental stewardship will reach beyond recycling. He said that students and faculty must learn to rethink usage as well. Perhaps professors can offer more information online instead of copying handouts. Social clubs and campus organizations should ask themselves whether it is necessary to print 200 fliers to spread the word about an event.

Tatera sees environmental stewardship as a mandate. “We have to be good stewards with what the Lord has given us,” he said. “This is what we can do. This is what we have to do.”


This kind of stuff makes me want to stand up and cheer!

Go green. Go, Harding!

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