March 16, 2013
Well, it’s like this. After a period during which things have been, by turns, stressful, frustrating, and downright unpleasant, I figured I’d get back to you on a positive note, and share a really inspiring food-related story.
A new program in Arkansas launched yesterday, designed to provide microloans, crowd-funded, to entrepreneurs in the state. Kiva Zip provides small, zero-interest loans to small businesses and start-ups. I’m privileged to have been asked to be a trustee for the organization — i.e., one who recommends borrowers, who then complete a loan application, are interviewed by a Kiva loan team, and, if approved, see their loan appear on the website. From there, social media and small philanthropists all over the world take over. You can register as a lender, browse the loans, and pick one or two or a dozen to support. The minimum loan is $25. 200 loans later, that borrower gets a PayPal payment, and is off to pursue his dream.
There are 32 Arkansas loans on the website right now. Of those, 17 are food-related. They range from a creamery and soda fountain to organic vegetable farming to artisan candy to a market in a tiny Delta town that’s the only source for food and drinks for 22 miles, to an artisan cheesemaker who’s turning his hobby into his livelihood.
June 9, 2012
One problem with living in Hot Springs is that there’s so much cool stuff going on you often can’t get around to all of it. Which, sometimes, when the stuff is fun and not work, means you Do Not Cook.
And sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with that, either.
This week has been opening week of the Hot Springs Music Festival, which is just absolutely some of the coolest stuff of all the stuff that Hot Springs offers. Musicians come from all over the world and for a solid two weeks, will play a dozen or more chamber performances as well as a half-dozen full orchestral concerts. It’s sensory overload, and it’s marvelous!
It’s also hell on cooking. But there is still good food to be had — including at one of the social events of the season, Flavor of the Park.
Flavor is one of major productions of the Greater Hot Springs Chamber (my own employer). It features goodies from about 20 restaurants, beer and wine from local distributors, and a good time being had by all. We have it down at the Farmers’ Market Pavilion, and for a change, this week it was merely warm, not sufferin’ hot like it was last year.