Thursday, May 1, marks the start of Arkansas Heritage Month. This year’s theme is “Come to the Table: Celebrating the Flavors of Arkansas”  and will celebrate Arkansas’s food traditions.

“In early Arkansas, all food came from the land. Native Americans and early settlers hunted for meat, grew vegetables and fruits, and knew what plants and berries were edible,” said Martha Miller, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. “Over the years, Arkansans became less dependent on the land, but many of our food traditions have remained (or are being reinvigorated). Today, the move towards locally sourced foods continues to grow.”

Miller said the Historic Arkansas Museum features a heritage garden with heirloom vegetables and frequently features frontier cooking demonstrations in the Brownlee Kitchen.

“Farmers Markets are seeing a resurgence; specialty restaurants and food shops are popping up in Arkansas communities large and small; community gardens are renewing abandoned properties, educating students and providing fresh food,” Miller said.

From cooking classes and cook-offs to festivals and writing workshops, Arkansas communities are hosting programs and activities to celebrate Arkansas Heritage Month. Some of these activities are being funded with grants from the Department of Arkansas Heritage. For a list of Heritage Month events, visit