NORTH NEWTON, Kan. – As part of its mission to promote the long-term health of the land and its people, the Kansas Rural Center (KRC) is pleased to announce its recent acceptance of a Local Food Promotion Program grant from the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
This project will see KRC and partners, Common Ground Producers and Growers, Kansas Wesleyan University and St. John’s Baptist Church of Salina working to create a “food corridor” along Interstate 135 that bridges Wichita and Salina in central Kansas, in which a new food hub will be established. Over the next three years KRC will work to bring farmers together to form a new food hub organization to assist with the aggregation and marketing of locally produced agricultural products and deliver them throughout the region. Additional work will be done to connect with food purchasers and wholesale markets and make sourcing local products easier for buyers.
“We’re excited to continue our work of supporting small farmers and rural communities with this food hub project!” said Ryan Goertzen-Regier, the Farmer Engagement Coordinator for the grant. “By forming an organization that will assist existing farmers with scaling up, marketing, and delivering their local food products I hope to see the barriers to entering farming reduced for young and beginning farmers as well, who otherwise may have an extremely difficult time getting their farm businesses up and running.”
Other aspects of the project will focus on delivering fresh produce and local foods to food deserts and other areas with low access to healthy foods. The food hub’s distribution network will assist easier movement of local food throughout the region.
“Working together is the key to building thriving communities, and we’re thrilled to be working with Common Ground Producers and Growers, Kansas Wesleyan University and St. John’s Baptist Church of Salina to strengthen local food systems across central Kansas,” said Kansas Rural Center’s Executive Director, Tom Buller.
In the upcoming months Kansas Rural Center staff will be gathering with farmers and ranchers from across a twelve county region to begin assessing farmer interest and capacity for the formation of the food hub and what legal structure it should utilize. Parties interested in becoming a seller or buyer of local foods in Sedgwick, Reno, Butler, Harvey, McPherson, Marion, Rice, Ellsworth, Saline, Dickinson, Ottawa and Lincoln counties can stay informed by signing up for Kansas Rural Center’s mailing list at https://kansasruralcenter.org/newsletter or contacting email@example.com.
Funding for “Building the Central Kansas Food Corridor: Creating a Food Hub and Delivery Network to Serve Communities Along Interstate 135 in Kansas and Increase Food Access” was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant AM22LFPPKS1095-00. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.
About Kansas Rural Center:
The mission of KRC, founded in 1979, is to promote the long-term health of the land and its people through community-based research, education, and advocacy that advances an economically viable, ecologically sound, and socially just food and farming system in Kansas.
— Kansas Rural Center