On June 27th, a group of city leaders gathered at the Sunfresh grocery store on E 50th St. in KCMO for a policy makers tour hosted by the Kansas City Food Policy Coalition.
The tour gave policy makers a first-hand look at how current policies are helping or hindering urban agriculture and food retail access and gave them a chance to share ideas that would support a stronger food system.
They also get to see the amazing work residents are doing to grow the community and improve healthy food access through urban agriculture and food retail.
Beth Low-Smith stated, “The tours are a great way for decision makers to connect with the amazing work being done in community to improve access to healthy food and to learn how they can support that work through public policy.”
The tour was split into two segments, the first half taking place in Missouri and the second half in Kansas. Each tour visited an urban farm, a community garden and a grocery store. At each stop, they heard stories about challenges and what it takes to overcome them.
Dr. Jane Winkler Philbrook, a Unified Government board commissioner since 2013, joined the tour for the second time during her term.
“It’s so helpful to see what other communities are doing so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Philbrook said. “We can take those ideas and change them to fit our community so people don’t have to work as hard to have a business and support their families with gardens.”
Philbrook has lived in Wyandotte County her whole life and owns her own business, so she’s well aware of importance of removing obstacles through good policy making.
“At city hall, they follow the rules they are given to them. It’s up to the people who make policy — the commissioners and the mayor — to change the rules to help our community,” Philbrook said.