Club99 in Little Rock partners with Heifer USA to help Small Ag Farmers get a hand up.

Rotary International

Rotary International Little Rock, Arkansas – Photo credit: Jacob Slaton

In honor of Rotary’s Economic and Community Development month, we are featuring the great work of District 6150’s Rotary Club of Little Rock, Arkansas and Heifer International, who have joined strengths and skills to create the “Seeds of Change in the Delta” project.

The Arkansas’s Delta region has struggled to cope with rural poverty. As families search for employment and entrepreneurial opportunity, there has been a growing need for grassroots economic and community development. Through Seeds of Change, District 6150 is spurring community development by connecting rural farmers and urban food markets- providing sustainable livelihoods for the farmers, and greater access to healthy, locally produced food for Arkansas’s consumers.

Seeds of Change began in September 2014, with a Global Grant from The Rotary Foundation. In the year since its inception, the project has provided farmers with business-training workshops including bookkeeping, debt/financing, expense and inventory control, and pricing. Its Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) network provided over 200 Arkansan households with high-quality produce, while building meaningful connections between producers and consumers.  With headquarters in Little Rock and deep ties to the community, Heifer International is a key partner in District 6150’s efforts.

Ultimately, the Rotary Club of Little Rock wants to expand Seeds of Change to other clubs and districts. Working with Heifer International and Rotary, they have created a video which they are now using to market their program to other clubs, and to recruit new farmers.

Interested in hearing more about the Seeds of Change project? Contact and the Rotary Club of Little Rock for more information. Don’t forget to check out Rotary’s Economic and Community Development resources page to learn about other Rotary projects growing local economies and strengthening the bonds of local communities. If you have an economic or community development project happening, please tell us about it in the comments below.

Updated information has been added to this original post on 3 November 2015.


Rotary Staff Give Back to Evanston

(Left to Right) Melanie Davis, Stephanie Norton (back), Michelle Gasparian, Renee O'Keefe (front), Maura Rogan (back), Nora Beamish-Lannon, John Wahlund

(From left) Melanie Davis, Stephanie Norton, Michelle Gasparian, Renee O’Keefe (front), Maura Rogan (back), Nora Beamish-Lannon, John Wahlund

More than 100 Rotary employees volunteered 316 hours of service during the first Rotary Week of Caring on 14-18 September. Regional Grants Officer Rebeca Mendoza, along with a team of Rotary staff and executive management, organized events with 10 local charities and organizations doing great things here in Evanston. Activities included teaching local youth about the importance of hand washing, maintenance of community gardens, packing food at a food depository, sorting medical supplies, and cleaning a community resource center.

Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator Specialist, Melanie Davis, discusses germs and contact with students.

Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator Specialist Melanie Davis discusses germs and contact with students.

Members of the Regional Leader Support team spent a few hours at Family Focus teaching third, fourth and fifth graders hand washing skills through fun learning activities and a demonstration of how germs are spread.  John Wahlund, the Area of Focus Manager for Disease Prevention and Treatment, joined Regional Leader Support to teach the students.

The Week of Caring activities helped staff boost visibility and influence of Rotary here in Evanston. “We feel fortunate to work for an organization with so many civic and humanitarian-minded colleagues who are eager to give back,” said Rebeca Mendoza.

If you want to give back through a water and sanitation project, join Rotary and the Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group for a three part webinar series to assist Rotarians with WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) in Schools projects beginning 15 October. You’ll join sector experts and hear about the importance of program efforts, behavior change through hygiene education, and how to engage your community.

What service projects are underway in your region that increase Rotary’s visibility?  Share your stories in the comments below!