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.
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.
KC Healthy Kids, along with partnering organizations Groundwork Northeast Revitalization Group (NRG), 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."
Alyssa Moncure, who coordinates the Northeast Grocers Project for Groundwork NRG, is "especially interested in seeing how we can assist our BIPOC farmers to self-organize and implement their visions for a more integrated and locally-reliant regional food supply chain".
The main goal of the project, led by the Greater KC Food Policy Coalition, 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 Coordinator
Policy & Planning Manager, KC Healthy Kids
Ben Carpenter (interim), Coordinating Partner
Climate Safe Neighborhoods Coordinator, Groundworks NRG
Beth Low-Smith, Project Manager
Vice President Policy, KC Healthy Kids
Director, Greater KC Food Policy Coalition
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
Farm to Institution Director, KC Healthy Kids
The Urban Farm Zoning and Planning Task Force just released their report From the Ground Up: Planning and Zoning for Urban Agriculture in Greater Kansas City. The report is a tool for urban planners, city staff, urban farmers and advocates to use to address the biggest barriers to urban agriculture in the Kansas City region.
The first section of this report gives an overview of urban agriculture and its benefits. The second section provides best practices and resources to plan for urban agriculture. The third section outlines seven barriers and offers policy recommendations and case studies to support urban agriculture.
The Greater KC Food Policy Coalition established the task force in April 2020 to improve community food security by identifying and advocating for planning and zoning policies that ensure urban farmers are able to operate successfully. Moving forward, the report will inform the coalition's work to advocate for policy change.
If you'd like to join us in advocating for urban agriculture, fill out this form and we'll be in touch.
Until today, Missouri was one of the few states that did not participate in the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Thanks to State Rep. Martha Stevens, State Sen. Lauren Arthur and advocates across the state, legislation establishing the program passed as an amendment to House Bill 432.
WIC FMNP is a federally funded program that provides WIC participants with coupons to purchase fresh, local fruits and vegetables at farmers markets. It puts healthy food within reach for moms and kids while injecting federal dollars into local economies across Missouri.
"This bill is a win for families, farmers, and local economies around the state," Stevens said. "This measure provides direct support for women and children and helps address the serious issue of food insecurity in our state."
WIC participants include low-income pregnant and postpartum women, infants and children up to 5 years of age who are found to be at nutritional risk. Feeding America estimates over 290,000 Missouri kids were food insecure in 2020.
House Bill 432 also establishes the Missouri Food Security Task Force to make recommendations to improve food access and ensure food security for urban and rural communities.
The Supreme Court made it official; the former administration's "Public Charge" rule change is dead. The rule was a big barrier to safety net programs, including those which prevent hunger. Learn more.
We've provided a very brief run down, below, on some of the ways President Biden's pandemic relief package relates to our work. Click here for complete information and here for the President's remarks about the package.
The American Rescue Plan
Here are 10 ways you can speak out for good food policy in Kansas City today and everyday.
Many of our initiatives at KC Healthy Kids focus on improving community food security, which is defined as a condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice. By its very definition, community food security means building food system equity. We cannot succeed in that goal without addressing racial injustice.
Updated May 25, 2020
We’ve always fought to defend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps). Now that more people need assistance, we’re focused on increasing benefits and making it easier and safer for people to apply.
Join the Greater KC Food Policy Coalition and community partners across Missouri for Good Food Policy Advocacy Day on Wednesday, April 8. Why? Because small-scale farmers, restaurant and food service workers, food banks and pantries and food insecure families are struggling.