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K-State Today

December 3, 2018

Multimedia projects from art, English and journalism to show challenges of rural food deserts Dec. 10

By Tom Hallaq

Hungry Heartland

Kansas is the Wheat State, the nation's and the world's breadbasket, and a leader in grain sorghum, corn, soybean and beef productions. By all appearance, it is a bustling agricultural state where food access should be the least of one's concerns. Yet ironically, right in this agriculture state are patches of food deserts where local Kansans lack affordable and easy access to fresh food. In rural towns with populations in the hundreds, grocery stores are few and far between. What grocery stores are there struggle to operate with a handful of consumers. Getting food into these rural areas adds to the cost, creating a vicious circle that hurts local business and affordable food access.

This semester, students from art, English and journalism have been working together on a multimedia documentary project, "Hungry Heartland: A food desert project." The project has documented the challenges faced by Kansas residents living in rural food deserts — places where access to fresh foods is difficult.

During the semester, members of the three classes traveled on location to interview rural residents living in small communities in north central Kansas, shooting video and photographs to document the lives of these people.

You are invited to attend the premiere showing of these multimedia projects. The finished projects will premiere at 9:40 a.m. Monday, Dec. 10, in the Big 12 Room of the K-State Student Union.

The project has been supported through several small grants and by the departments themselves. Granting agencies include the Northwest Kansas Economic Innovation Center and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

For more information about this project, or to support future phases of this project, please contact Tom Hallaq at 801 232-9173 or thallaq@k-state.edu.

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