Dig In! began in 2011 when founder Leigh Wilkerson wanted to gather a group of friends and community for a solutions-oriented movie marathon on local food and farms and how our food choices affect communities, farms, local economy and natural ecology. Farmers Cheri LaRue and Charity Lewis joined Leigh to produce a day filled with film, conversation and tasty treats from area chefs who feature locally grown foods. Dig In! hosted about 120 people over the course of a lively one day event in Spring 2011 with space donated by The Omni Center for Peace, Justice and Ecology.
The following year, the 2012 festival expanded dramatically to add another day with events for kids and an additional night of films, many shown for the first time in Arkansas. Other additions were classes on topics from gardening to beekeeping, panel discussions, a seed swap and info-fair, as well as a wider range of food tastings.
Nearly 700 folks attended and packed the new larger venue, the UA Global Campus building on the downtown Fayetteville Square. The grassroots festival was successfully funded via donations from attendees and supporters, as well as donations and in-kind contributions from sponsors.
The upcoming 2013 festival continues the tradition, adding more evening films, roundtable interest lunch discussions, cooking demonstrations and vendors that feature local food in addition to an even wider range classes. Farmer Friday is another new program with offerings of interest to market growers and more experienced gardeners. Community donors made possible the addition of a keynote speaker, Brad Lancaster of Arizona who is a designer of landscapes that harvest rainwater. Dig In! continues to be a not-for-profit community event. We invite you to become a supporter and find details about the 2013 festival by clicking the navigation tabs above.
Meet the producers:
“Every day when we make food choices, we get to vote for how we want the environment and our local communities to be. This festival brings people together to learn about and support local and sustainable food systems.” —Cheri LaRue, Farmer at Green Fork Farm, Manager of the online Green Fork Farmers Market and co-organizer of Dig In!
“Many of us are concerned with what we eat and how it comes to our plate. Dig In! gives us all a place to learn from others, find out where to get more local foods, be inspired by films showing local food movements all over the country and meet new friends and neighbors that care about these same issues. Making the connection with our food is all about making connections with our community.” — Charity Lewis, Farmer at Chicken Moon Farm and co-organizer of Dig In!
“Choosing local, naturally grown food whenever I can, is about putting my food budget toward the world I want. That’s a world with honeybees and songbirds, clean and delicious food, healthy rivers, a strong local economy, and families—my neighbors in Northwest Arkansas—able to make a living from small, humane farms. The research on the positive community effects of buying local is amazing: it’s win-win-win.” —Leigh Wilkerson, gardener at Larrapin Garden, Founder & co-organizer of Dig In! 2011-2013.