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Serving: KS
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TALKING FOOD: A series of town halls across the state will offer a chance to talk about the food system, farming, climate, energy and rural and urban revitalization.

Kansas Rural Center plans summer town halls

Four meetings will be held across Kansas in July, with a fifth to be held in August.

The Kansas Rural Center will be holding town hall meetings across the state this summer to share information and ideas about the food system and farming and how these are related to climate and energy issues, and rural and urban revitalization.

Unlike KRC’s previous town hall meetings, this round will include Wichita and the Kansas City areas to enable discussion of issues common to both rural and urban communities and the rural-urban gap.

The town halls offer opportunities to share information and enable community dialogue on the vision for the future and how to bring it to reality. Discussion will include issues critical to Kansas, such as the impacts of weather extremes and the effects of a changing climate on our agriculture; population loss (especially of young people); health care; and present and future economic opportunities.

Locations and dates are:

  • Emporia, July 8
  • Wichita, July 10
  • Garden City, July 30
  • St. Francis, July 31

A fifth meeting will be held in the Kansas City area in August.

The 2019 State legislative session displayed a new elevated status for some of the above-mentioned issues in rural Kansas. The year started with a new governor and a new Office of Rural Prosperity to ensure that all Kansans have access to a high quality of life, regardless of their ZIP code. The Kansas House established a Rural Revitalization Committee in response to the key issues impacting the rural economy and social structure: population loss and changing demographics; health care; rural infrastructure; and food systems and farming. But these issues also impact urban residents.

The shift in climate, increasing weather extremes, and the need for a transition to renewable energy impact everyone, both urban and rural landscapes, communities, businesses, and people’s health.  Recent extreme weather events in Kansas (flooding after two years of severe drought and the wildfires of 2017) and the attention on renewable energy developments have many Kansans thinking about how their lives are affected.

“Kansans are responding to these changes whether we realize it or not,” says Mary Fund, KRC executive director. “Whether our responses are wise or not is often unclear. Only through tackling the issues in conversations with our neighbors will the path forward become clearer. We want people to come away from the meetings with better understanding of our common concerns and hopefully some common goals.”

Each town hall meeting will feature an expert on the food system and farming, climate and energy issues, and rural-urban revitalization and how these can be addressed. Attendees will then have time to ask questions, respond to the panelists, and share their experiences or opinions about the issues addressed to help identify what is needed to advance opportunities in their communities and the region.

All town halls will include a complementary meal featuring locally sourced ingredients with the program following. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required to ensure a meal, as a limited number of meals are available at each meeting.  Registration can be found at kansasruralcenter.org/2019townhalls.

Anyone with special needs due to a disability can contact Caryl Hale to arrange access. For other questions or to register, contact Caryl Hale at chale@kansasruralcenter.org or call 866-579-5469, ext. 702.

The town halls are part of KRC’s “Community Food Solutions for a Healthier Kansas” initiative and Integrated Voter Engagement project, funded by the Kansas Health Foundation. The projects aim to improve economic, community, environmental and human health in Kansas by strengthening civic engagement and public policy support that better incorporate Kansas farms and communities into the state’s healthy food supply chain. 

The town halls are also partially funded by Humanities Kansas, a nonprofit cultural organization connecting with history, traditions, and ideas to strengthen civic life.

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. For more information, visit kansasruralcenter.org.

Source: Kansas Rural Center, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
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