Farmers for Tomorrow fundraiser set for Sept. 14 at Center for Arkansas Farms and Food

    Chef Haley O'Brien will prepare foods for the 2023 Farmers For Tomorrow fundraiser, Sept. 14, at the Center for Arkansas Farms and Food. (Courtesy photo)

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Center for Arkansas Farms and Food will hold a fundraising event 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, to support the Farmers for Tomorrow fund, a program to help aspiring farmers start their small farm businesses.

    People sitting at a table talking at the 2022 Farmers for Tomorrow fundraiser

    FARMERS FOR TOMORROW — Brian Foster, center left, of Sunny Acres Farms speaks with Farmers for Tomorrow fund supporters at the 2022 fundraising event. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo)

    Dandelion Heart will provide live music, and Chef Haley O’Brien will prepare heavy hors d’oeuvres using ingredients grown by Center for Arkansas Farms and Food, CAFF, students in Fayetteville. Each guest will receive drink tickets for beers from Fossil Cove Brewing Co., Arkansas wines, or cocktails made with blackberries from the farm. A non-alcoholic version of the blackberry drink will also be available.

    The event will be at the Milo J. Shult Agricultural Research and Extension Center, 1005 W. Meade St., in Fayetteville. CAFF is a part of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the research arm of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

    Farmers for Tomorrow raised $5,000 at the inaugural fundraiser in 2022. Brian Foster and Frank Ostapowicz, two graduates of CAFF’s Farm School and Apprenticeship programs, received equal portions of the fund to help start their farms.

    Foster started Sunny Acres Farms and sells produce at the farmers markets in Fayetteville and Goshen, and through community supported agriculture subscriptions. The former restaurateur also offers recipes with his produce at the markets.

    Ostapowicz started Purple Finch Farms in Prairie Grove, selling produce in the region’s markets.

    Foster and Ostapowicz were among the first CAFF Farm School and Apprenticeship Program participants in 2021. According to Heather Friedrich, CAFF program manager, the program is designed to strengthen and expand the region’s food and farming system, enhance local communities, and provide opportunities for farmers, food entrepreneurs, and food system leaders.

    Ticket purchases and donations are an investment in the community’s regional food system, the local economy and food security, Friedrich added. Through the Farmers for Tomorrow Fund, CAFF aims to raise $10,000 annually to assist new Arkansas farmers.

    Once former CAFF Farm School students or apprentices have acquired farmland in Arkansas and are ready to break ground, they can apply for start-up funds from Farmers for Tomorrow, Friedrich said. The funds are designated for purchasing tools, equipment, irrigation materials and seeds.

    General admission tickets to the Farmers for Tomorrow fundraiser are $65 per person, or $330 for reserved tables of six people. Event tickets include complimentary food and drinks. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the event website,

    For those who may be unable to attend but still wish to support Farmers for Tomorrow, the registration form includes an option to make a donation.

    The 2023 event is sponsored by Arkansas Farm Bureau, Adventure Subaru, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas and the Division of Agriculture, allowing all proceeds from the event to go directly to the Farmers for Tomorrow fund.

    To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk. To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit

    About the Division of Agriculture

    The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

    The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

    The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

    Dandelion Heart will perform at the 2023 Farmers For Tomorrow fundraiser, Sept. 14 at the Center for Arkansas Farms and Food. (Courtesy photo)

    About Dandelion Heart

    The women of Dandelion Heart blend four individual songwriting styles to create a unique Americana sound. The band is comprised of Lacy Hampton (guitar, hand percussion), Chase Hart (guitar), Korey McKelvy (mandolin, banjo), and Willa Thomason (cello, guitar). Their debut album, Retrospect, was released in November 2020.

    “Dandelion Heart strives to capture the beauty in simplicity, with penetrating harmonies and at times, sparse instrumentation,” their biography states. “Expect to hear a blend of folk, blues, bluegrass, rock, and indie sounds from this up-and-coming hometown band.”

    About Chef O’Brien

    Haley O’Brien is a culinary creative community partner who is passionate about fresh produce, foraged foods, and bold flavors. She brings nourishing foods to peoples’ plates while helping curate community events. Haley attended the University of Missouri and Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food. Brightwater is a division of Northwest Arkansas Community College. She has worked in the food and beverage industry for over 14 years and has been an active member of the Rogers Garden Club.

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