Loss of Rural Grocery Stores Draws National Attention
The Center for Engagement and Community Development's (CECD) director, David Procter traveled to Washington DC on December 1, 2011. Procter briefed the US Senate Hunger Caucus on the loss of grocery stores in rural communities and its devastating impact on the town.
Procter's presentation focused on the closing of rural grocery stores as an economic development issue, as well as a nutrition and community health issue. The preservation of a rural grocery store has significant benefits. However, high operational costs, limited labor force, and owner burnout are significant factors that influence the closing of rural grocery stores.
"I thought the briefing went very well," said Procter, "People were very interested in the issue. Several folks came up and talked to us after the presentation about how they could help."
One day before talking to the Hunger Caucus, Procter spoke at a conference called "The Partnership for a Healthier America" in Washington DC. The conference focused on the variety of ways kids could grow healthier. Procter spoke about access to nutritious food in rural America through rural grocery stores.
After his testimony, Procter met with US Senators to brief them on Kansas State University's Rural Grocery Initiative (RGI) and the work that is being done to preserve rural grocery stores. Procter had the opportunity to meet one on one with Senator Jerry Moran and Representative Lynn Jenkins. In each meeting, Procter spoke on addressing the food access issue.
"I think the biggest success of this trip was getting more people nationally interested in RGI," said Procter, "Being able to talk about RGI to Senators and their staff from across the US is very important."
The next big step is preparing for and hosting the Rural Grocery Summit on June 5-6, 2012 at Kansas State University.
"This will be a great opportunity to highlight all the important work we've done and to hear from rural grocery store owners and rural grocery stakeholders from around Kansas and the US," said Procter.