Rachael McGinnis Millsap, director of KC Healthy Kids’ Farm to Institution initiatives, shares big news about the future of Kansas City Food Circle™.
For more than 30 years the Kansas City Food Circle™ has connected our region’s eaters and farmers to grow a thriving local food community. Since November, I’ve been working with Brandi Schoen to bring certain Food Circle initiatives to our Farm to Institution programming.
In a recent letter to participating farmers, Brandi explained the reason behind the transition:
The changing landscape of the local, organic movement in Kansas City over the years has meant growth and progress on so many levels. The programming and services of the Food Circle evolved over the years as well, offering incredible opportunities for farmers and eaters to connect! All these things happened because of the skills, creativity, and countless hours of commitment shared by many, many volunteers over the years.
Sometimes progress means big change. The Food Circle is facing the reality that keeping up with the intensive, high quality service and programs delivered to its members over the past several years is no longer possible with a volunteer staff; the transition required to be able to pay staff was not practical at this time.
KC Healthy Kids is honored to step into this role. Here are just a few ways our initiatives have built robust partnerships and collaborations to provide sustainable programming in the local food community:
- Our Farm to School Academy helps area school districts and institutions improve local food procurement practices.
- We operate Splitlog Farm, where each year we grow more than 1,500 pounds of food for Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools and neighborhood families.
- With partnering agencies in the Beginning Farmer Wholesale Project, we support farmers in scaling up production.
- Our staff coordinates the Greater KC Food Policy Coalition, which convenes stakeholders in issue-specific work groups and trains advocates to speak out for local, regional and federal policies that strengthen our food system.
Priorities for transitioning core Food Circle programs are to maintain the farmer directory, uphold the integrity of Kansas City Food Circle™ pledges, and help farmers increase sales by leveraging our partnerships with area restaurants, schools and other institutions.
We realize the Eat Local and Organic Expo is an important market for farmers. Several partnering agencies are organizing the event this year and have set a date for Saturday April 4.