Where I've been. If you missed this, I sho' hate it for you.

Where I’ve been. If you missed this, I sho’ hate it for you.

Back here in the Land of the Razorback (or perhaps more appropriately, on this side of the state, the land of the Red Wolf), I am happy to report we are eating well. The bounty of summer just continues to pay off, and I continue to buy and cook lots o’vegetables.

In fact, we have more veggies than we can put in the fridge, because while Kate’s friend Laura was gifting her with veggies on Saturday, I was at the Hot Springs Farmers’ Market buying more veggies. Which is OK. We’ll use ’em all before they go bad.

I had made a spur of the moment, last-minute decision to take an overnighter back to Hot Springs on Friday, and attend the soft opening party at the Superior Bathhouse, Brewery and Distillery, a new enterprise begun by dear friends of mine in one of the historic buildings on Bathhouse Row. I’ve been involved in that project since almost its inception, and I wasn’t fixin’ to miss its debut.

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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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