KC Healthy Kids seeks an enthusiastic and dependable part-time Program Assistant to provide programmatic and administrative support for the Kansas Food Action Network. Reporting to the Network Director, this staff person will support the capacity of our growing project. The Program Assistant will become a critical member of a passionate and welcoming team.
Composed of over 30 local food, farm and policy councils, the Kansas Food Action Network is a statewide advocacy network focused on building resilient local and state food systems in Kansas. The Network provides technical assistance, coaching, peer-to-peer learning and network opportunities to support growth and development of food system leadership in Kansas.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Network Administrative Support
Compensation: $20/hour for 15-20 hours per week. Flexible, remote schedule.
To Apply: Email cover letter, resume, and one page writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will continue to be accepted while the position remains unfilled.
** Please note: No phone calls please. Inquiries should be sent by email.
KC Healthy Kids advances the health and well-being of children and families through community-driven initiatives and advocacy where they live, learn, work and play. We promote comprehensive solutions to boost the ability of communities to protect and improve kids' health and well-being. Since 2005, our programs and policy work have addressed the following:
Job Type: Part Time
Salary Range: Up to $29,999
The statewide network for Kansas food and farm councils has a new name. Kansas Alliance for Wellness is now Kansas Food Action Network.
The name was chosen by council members and the network’s steering committee through conversations and reviews that took place over eight months.
This change more accurately reflects the councils’ new focus on policy and systems work to improve the health of Kansas communities.
Most recently, the network lobbied the Kansas legislature to end the Kansas state sales tax on groceries and celebrated the success of KC Healthy Kids’ work since 2014 to end the tax.
What isn’t changing is the commitment of the people who make up the councils.
“The people who make up Kansas’ food and farm councils are creative; they are resilient, pragmatic, boots-on-the-ground do-ers who are dedicated to making their food system work for everyone in their community.,” Miranda says. “They have to be! Most councils are entirely composed of volunteers, and rarely do they receive the thanks or recognition they deserve.”
With the name change comes a new logo design conveying the interconnectedness of the food system and the ripple effect of the councils’ efforts.
The American Heart Association coordinated the Kansas Alliance for Wellness since its inception in 2013 until 2019 when it passed the torch to KC Healthy Kids and Miranda Miller-Klugesherz became director of the program.
To stay up-to-date with the Kansas Food Action Network, sign up for our monthly newsletter.
After more than twelve years leading policy efforts for KC Healthy Kids and serving as director of the Greater KC Food Policy Coalition, Beth Low-Smith has tendered her resignation to begin the next chapter of her career. She will leave her post in late April.
Since joining KC Healthy Kids in 2010, Beth has assembled a talented team, forged strong partnerships and led innovative policy initiatives. She is committed to working closely with partners and staff to ensure a smooth transition and secure this legacy.
“We are grateful for Beth and the contributions she has made to KC Healthy Kids, from her incredible depth of expertise in food policy and community engagement to her commitment to supporting racial equity," Danielle Robbins-Gregory, president/CEO said.
Following are some highlights from Beth’s leadership we’re especially proud of:
We hope our funders, partners and stakeholders will join us in wishing Beth the very best in her new endeavors.
KC Food Circle™ kicks off farmers market season with the return of the Eat Local and Organic Expo Saturday, April 9 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Johnson County Community College. Shop, eat and connect with people who care about your food at the 2022 Eat Local and Organic Expo, hosted by KC Healthy Kids in partnership with Brookside Farmers Market.
Are you new to Kansas City’s thriving local food scene? The expo is a great place to get to know farmers and find out how you can be more connected to your food and the people who grow it.
FREE ADMISSION - FREE PARKING
At the expo, Midwest eaters can shop from some of the best local, organic, free-range farmers, ranchers and small-batch artisans in the area.
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On Saturday, April 9 at Johnson County Community College, you can…
Kids and their communities need a strong local food system. That’s why KC Healthy Kids helps farmers grow thriving businesses and teaches kids and families the value of growing their own food and purchasing locally-grown food.
The Eat Local and Organic Expo began in 1999 as part of a food system conference sponsored by KC Food Circle™ and Sierra Club. KC Food Circle™ is a program of KC Healthy Kids that connects local farmers with wholesale buyers, chefs and artisans who are vital to our region’s local food system.
KC Healthy Kids invites farmers to apply for membership to the KC Food Circle™ for 2022. Memberships are open to anyone within a 120 mile radius of Kansas City who is using organic practices (but not necessarily certified) with the intent to sell food to others.
Membership is free for 2022 and benefits include:
We like to put a spin on Giving Tuesday and use the day to show our appreciation for the people and organizations who help us connect communities for better health through Good Food Policy, Local Food, Mental Heath, Youth Advocacy and Active Communities. We're so grateful for all of you!
Special thanks go to our board of directors for supporting KC Healthy Kids as volunteers and donors (denoted with an asterisk).
Speak Out Today
1. Support the Build Back Better Act. This historic budget reconciliation package includes important food system provisions. It expands and extends child nutrition assistance programs, like free school meals and Summer EBT, and the Child Tax Credit, which decreases child poverty. The legislation also invests in sustainable agriculture, rural development, urban agriculture and working lands conservation. Here are three easy ways to ask your Members of Congress to support the Build Back Better Act:
2. Help us build an equitable food system. Help identify relevant information to share and designate stakeholders to participate in food system equity assessment and planning. Use the Steering Committee Resource Guide to deepen your understanding of racial injustice and strategies for building an equitable and just food system for all.
3. Advocate for urban agriculture. Our Urban Farm Zoning and Planning Task Force published policy recommendations to improve planning and zoning for urban farming in the region. Read the report and learn how to get involved here.
4. Eliminate Kansas' Sales Tax on Food. Kansas has the second highest state sales tax on food. Tell your Kansas state representative and senators to eliminate the sales tax on food. Find more information and advocacy resources here. Use this sample social media post:
Ending Kansas’ Food Sales Tax has bipartisan support – but it’s never been done before. Glad to see @GovLauraKelly announced a commonsense plan to ELIMINATE this tax and put more money in Kansans’ pockets. #AxeTheFoodTax #ksleg
5. Get ready for Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Congress is expected to pick up CNR in 2022, so brush up on the reauthorization process and all the nutrition programs funded through this legislation. Learn more about CNR at Food Research and Action Center.
6. Support food and farm workers. Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act has been passed by the House in 2020 and 2021, but the Senate has not taken up the bill. The PRO Act ensures workers have the right to organize and bargain for a living wage and safe working conditions. Join Food Chain Workers Alliance and other organizations in supporting workers across the food system. Message your Senators here.
7. Find local food and farmers. Use the Eat Local KC map to eat local for the holidays and year-round. Farmers who wish to be included in the directory can apply for membership here.
8. Amplify alerts and events. Rapid policy changes mean action alerts are more important than ever. If you’ve attended our meetings but haven’t received advocacy alerts, check your spam folder and filter settings. Otherwise, sign up for our email list.
9. Network and collaborate. Attend our quarterly work group meetings and other coalition events. Our events are generally free and open to the public. Find events here.
10. Sustain effective advocacy. Coalition membership is free, but the work isn’t! Donations provide crucial support for costs that grants don’t cover, such as lobbying. Make a monthly or one-time donation here.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has announced her plan to eliminate the state’s sales tax on food. Kansans have been paying more for groceries than people in almost every other state. It is one of only seven states in the nation that fully taxes groceries, and at 6.5 percent, it’s the second-highest rate in the country.
KC Healthy Kids has been sounding the alarm about this harmful tax since 2014, when we rallied our partners and began working with the Kansas Legislature on both sides of the aisle to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries.
“Over the last seven years, we’ve worked with grocers, economists, hunger relief agencies, and consumers to educate Kansas decision makers about all the ways the grocery tax hurts Kansans,” Beth Low-Smith, vice president for policy at KC Healthy Kids said.
As a result of this work, in October 2014, two members of the Kansas Senate — a Republican and a Democrat — announced they would pursue legislation to eliminate the sales tax on food. Republican Michael O’Donnell and Democrat Oletha Faust-Goudeau, both from Wichita, said their proposal would likely phase out the tax over several years.
“As bipartisan support for eliminating the grocery tax has grown, so has the urgency of this issue. It’s time for decision makers in Topeka to do what’s right for the physical and economic health of Kansas and do away with this outdated and harmful tax on groceries,” Beth says.
In 2015, KC Healthy Kids’ food policy staff partnered with Wichita State to publish a series of white papers showing the damaging effects of the sales tax: it drives shoppers across state lines, hurts lower-income families more, and hurts rural grocery stores.
The elimination of the state food sales tax applies to food purchased at grocery stores, farmers markets and anywhere grocery food items are sold.
According to Governor Kelly’s office, a Kansas family of 4 would save an average of $500 dollars on their grocery bill every year. That’s extra money that could go to school supplies, gas, or bills, instead. The plan would not divert resources from other state services or agencies.
KC Healthy Kids, along with partnering organizations Cultivate KC, Mid-America Regional Council and New Growth, have received funding from the USDA's Regional Food System Partnerships program to connect and strengthen our regional foodshed.
The partnering organizations bring together diverse networks from urban, suburban and rural communities. The project area includes: Allen, Douglas, Leavenworth and Wyandotte in Kansas and Cass, Jackson, Lafayette and St. Clair in Missouri. They also bring complimentary expertise in community planning, research, stakeholder engagement, food system justice and community development.
Katie Nixon, Food Systems Director with West Central Missouri Community Action Agency and member of the New Growth Team, believes this project "will give us an opportunity to understand our local food system from new perspectives and help guide future work that will help make the region more resilient and food secure."
The main goal of the project is to identify actionable strategies to develop a sustainable, systematic connection between food producers and consumers in the regional foodshed by:
For Marlene Nagel, Director of Community Development at MARC, "this project is important to our region in understanding food security needs and how to best leverage existing resources and determine where additional support is necessary."
Andrea Clark, Project Manager
Director of Food System Planning, KC Healthy Kids
Ami Freeberg, Coordinating Partner
Metro Farms and Food Systems Program Manager, Cultivate KC
Katie Nixon, Coordinating Partner
Food Systems Director, West Central Missouri Community Action Agency & New Growth
President, The KC Food Hub
Co-Operator, Green Gate Family Farm
Marlene Nagel, Coordinating Partner
Community Development Director, Mid-America Regional Council
Rachael McGinnis-Millsap, Project Coordinator
VP of Programs and Policy, KC Healthy Kids
Beth Low-Smith, KC Healthy Kids’ vice president for policy and director of the Greater KC Food Policy Coalition, was presented with the InnovateHER Lifetime Achievement award, which was established to recognize women who’ve paved the way for positive change in the Kansas City community.
After completing the Women’s Studies program at MU, Beth moved to Kansas City to receive some on-the-job experience. A few years later her work for the Progressive Vote Coalition helped her grow deep roots in the community and to eventually led her to join KC Healthy Kids.
Since then, Beth has served three terms as Missouri State Representative (2005-2010) serving a district that included Westport, the Country Club Plaza and part of Brookside, working as a domestic violence social worker, and serving as the Jackson County Democratic Committeewoman for Ward 6 since 2012.
At KC Healthy Kids Beth engages stakeholders to shape policies that define our opportunities to eat well and be physically active throughout our lives. Beth also strives to change policies around urban agriculture and public transit and to shift state policies to improve community food security and local foods including SNAP, WIC, and school lunch programs — programs that have made a difference in her own life.
Here are her comments from the awards ceremony:
Thank you for this honor. At the risk of sounding trite, I am humbled to receive a lifetime achievement award. I’ve tried to live up to Teddy Roosevelt’s advice to “work hard at work worth doing,” but I think it is often difficult to know whether you are actually making a difference while you’re in the midst of such efforts. So it is truly an honor to look up from my tasks and find that others admire and respect my efforts.
My career has been quite varied, but the unifying thread has been working with others to change policy. In other words, I’ve specialized in group projects. That means sharing the credit—or occasionally the blame—for any achievement. There’s a long list of people whose love, encouragement, wisdom, grace and generosity contributed to every achievement. They have not only made my work possible, they make the work worth doing.
My parents, Jim and Diane, blessed me with unconditional love and support that gave me the courage and tenacity I’ve needed. They also raised me with a fierce commitment to justice and mutual responsibility.
Over the years, I’ve been blessed to work with people who share that commitment, and who inspire me each day to build the kind of community we all deserve. I’ve learned from brilliant supervisors and coworkers such as John, Gretchen, Sarah, Heather, Miranda, Andrea and many others.
I’ve also found teachers among the countless volunteers and stakeholders involved in campaigns and coalitions with which I’ve worked, such as the Greater KC Food Policy Coalition.
Throughout my career I’ve drawn from these wells to build an extraordinary community of friends and mentors who sustain me: Crystal, Brook, MaryEllen, Alexis, Susan, Judy, Joni, Todd, Amy, Sarah, Amanda, Kirsten and many other BABS. Finally, my husband, Dwight, whose patience and generosity allow me to devote a massive amount of time to my work and our community. These people are both my daily inspiration and reward.
Thank you to InnovateHer for recognizing the merit of our collective efforts.
Buckle up, because we are just getting started.
InnovateHER KC is a 4,600+ member leadership community, serving a diverse, passionate and highly engaged network of women and individuals from marginalized gender communities. They focus on equity, inclusion and low-barrier-to-entry through their five pillars of social connection, professional development, championship, mentorship, and resource sharing.