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Source: David Procter, 785-532-6868,
News release prepared by: Beth Bohn, 785-532-2532,

Friday, May 21, 2010


MANHATTAN -- A summit June 14-15 at Kansas State University will explore ways to counter a growing trend in the state of Kansas: lack of rural grocery stores.

Sponsored by K-State's Center for Engagement and Community Development, Rural Grocery Summit II: Saving Our Critical Infrastructure will highlight research and project-based presentations about bringing more local foods into a community; building community support for local grocery outlets; identifying sources of funding for rural grocery stores; addressing labor issues in rural communities; and recognizing that food is a critical piece of rural culture.

"Fifty-one percent of the 675 Kansas cities and towns do not have a grocery store," said David Procter, director of the K-State Center for Engagement and Community Development. "Since 2007, 82 of the 213 grocery stores in Kansas communities of less than 2,500 have closed their doors."

Procter said rural grocery stores are more than just a local business; they are a critical piece of the infrastructure that undergirds rural America.

"Rural grocery stores provide an important source of jobs and taxes," he said. "They provide a source of healthy food and they are a symbol of community vitality. Unfortunately, these business cornerstones are disappearing at an alarming rate, along with their rural community homes."

The summit will offer two citizen dialogues where participants will chart a path forward on public policy issues, public education campaigns, food distribution models, and ways to build community support for local grocery outlets.

Rick Mills, from Walsh, Colo., will present the luncheon keynote address Monday, June 14, about how his town of 650 citizens saved their grocery store and provided food access to their rural community. The summit welcome will be provided by Kirk Schulz, K-State president, and April Mason, K-State provost and senior vice president. Also presenting a keynote address in the June 14 morning session will be K-State's Procter, who is the author of two books on community building.

The summit, at the K-State Alumni Center, is open to the public. Registration is free to rural grocery store owners and $100 for all other participants. A complete summit agenda and registration information is available at More information also is available by contacting the K-State Center for Engagement and Community Development at 785-532-6868 or