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.

Well, getting to visit with Bill would put a positive spin on anyone's year!

Well, getting to visit with Bill would put a positive spin on anyone’s year!

A new program in Arkansas launched yesterday, designed to provide microloans, crowd-funded, to entrepreneurs in the state. Kiva Zip┬áprovides 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.

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