An organization dedicated to improving access to affordable, nutritious and safe foods in Allen County, has a $15,000 arrow in its quiver.
The Allen County GROW (Growing Rural Opportunities Works) Food and Farm Council, has been named one of eight recipients of $15,000 Project HERO (Healthy Eating: Rural Opportunities) pilot grants.
The grants support community-based strategies to address food access needs in rural areas, such as strengthening local grocery stores.
Allen County GROW has worked in league with Thrive Allen County to ensure the sustainability of Stub’s Market in Moran.
David Toland, Thrive CEO, said uses of the grant are still in development.
The planning grants are intended to provide community teams with the resources and technical assistance needed to explore and develop sustainable strategies for increasing access to healthy foods, according to a Sunflower Foundation press release.
“We know that access to a full range of nutritious foods is critical for the health of growing children and their families,” Billie Hall, Sunflower Foundation president and CEO, said in the press release. “Yet more and more Kansas communities are losing ready access to nutritious foods, with residents facing round-trips of an hour just to buy fresh vegetables. Over time, the consequences of families having less healthy diets will be stark.”
Sunflower has also partnered with Kansas State University’s Rural Grocery Initiative (RGI) to provide ongoing technical assistance to communities.
Working with RGI, Sunflower identified multiple communities and counties that either met the USDA definition of a “food desert,“ or would meet the definition if a remaining grocery store were to close.
Such a scenario could occur in Moran, if Stub’s Market were to ever close its doors.
The planning projects are intended to set the stage for successful implementation with a two-pronged approach: assessing and studying technical data for long-term feasibility, while also gathering community input to foster local buy-in.
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