Every Kansan should have access to healthy, affordable food, but more than 800,000 do not have access within a reasonable distance from their home. More than 30 percent of Kansas counties are considered food deserts according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
To help create a system that supports efforts improving food access, the Kansas Health Foundation, or KHF, has provided $4.2 million for the Kansas Healthy Food Initiative, also known as KHFI. Healthy food projects and investors will be able to leverage KHF funds with other funding opportunities to sustain or create food access points in areas of great need.
Approved KHFI efforts could include the development or renovation of a grocery store, improving food distribution to rural grocers, offering technology or energy-efficient improvements to grocers, or seeking innovative solutions for food access points in food deserts.
Kansas State University's Center for Engagement and Community Development will serve as the food access organization helping to implement the KHFI by
- working directly with retail outlets and organizations,
- reviewing all applicants to the program for eligibility, as well as
- connecting to available technical assistance resources.
K-State has been a leader in improving food access in areas that need it most, launching the Rural Grocery Initiative in 2007. The Food Trust, a national organization focused on food retail for underserved populations, will assist K-State with best practices and evaluation. NetWork Kansas will provide the program with a strategic financial partnership as KHFI projects are created across the state.
IFF, a nonprofit community development financial institution, manages the loan/grant pool for food access projects across Kansas and will provide financing to eligible applicants.
Read the KHFI Guidebook (pdf) for application and eligibility information.