This year's theme is “Come to the Table: Celebrating the Flavors of Arkansas,” and will highlight Arkansas foods and food customs. In early Arkansas, all food came from the land. Native Americans and early settlers needed to kill animals for meat and grow vegetables and fruits or know what native plants and fruits were edible in order to survive. Over the years, we became less dependent on the land, but many dishes, such as beans and cornbread, are the types of foods that early Arkansans would have found familiar. Canning and preserving foods were necessities in order to survive the winters when things were not growing. Canning and preserving became an art and contests could be quite competitive at county fairs to determine who had the best recipe. Even today, “farm to table” describes the belief that the best food is that which is grown and harvested nearby and is the freshest when it gets to your table. And even high-end restaurants proudly proclaim that their food is “locally sourced.”
Heritage Month grants are intended to assist communities in promoting and preserving the important and unique heritage of all Arkansas communities. To plan an event and apply for a grant, think about what foods, customs or food-related events happen in your community that could form the basis of a Heritage Month event. Plan an event around a food that is unique to your area. Organize a weekend festival or sponsor a guided tour featuring crops, foods or customs in your town.
Heritage Month grants of up to $5,000 are available to non-profit organizations to assist them in developing events to be held during Heritage Month in May 2014. Applications are due in the Department of Arkansas Heritage office on Monday, December 9, 2013, no later than 4:30 p.m.
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