Increasing Food Acceptance
by Mindy Von Elling
Due to a recent outreach by the state of Kansas and the Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS), Sandra Procter, assistant professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, is the principle investigator of a study involving food assistance and Vision cards in rural Kansas groceries.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) called for proposals in food assistance in and in response, the Kansas SRS recently increased allotments for this specific cause. The necessity for the project lead by Procter sprang from a need for more Vision cards in 2008 and a desire to match the allotment increase set by the Kansas SRS.
In 2008, the state of Kansas was home to 199,000 people who received food assistance, which was only 70.6% of those eligible. Procter and her team looked at two counties in particular that were below the numbers of eligible individuals being served. Brown County was serving 80.8% of those eligible for assistance and Nehama County was serving just 40.1% of those eligible; 328 people. This meant that 490 individuals eligible were not receiving food assistance.
In an effort to quash those numbers and provide wider acceptance of the Vision card, the project team is conjoined with a combination of state and county extension faculty, the K-State Center for Engagement and Community Development (CECD), the Kansas Rural Center, The Kansas Food Policy Counsel, rural groceries and community development professionals. Some of the main objectives include identifying information needs and benefits of acceptance of Vision cards by rural grocery stores, identifying opportunities to promote food assistance to people in rural communities and developing an extension program in which the results are used to facilitate increased food assistance use and acceptance in Kansas.
The project, "Increasing awareness of food assistance Vision cards by rural Kansas groceries to improve resident health and economic viability within rural Kansas communities," builds upon the K-State Center for Engagement and Community Development's Rural Grocery Store Sustainability Initiative and was awarded funding by CECD in the spring of 2009.