KRC Hosting Online Future of Farming and Food Town Halls
Kansans are invited to attend the Kansas Rural Center’s (KRC) “Future of Farming and Food” Town Hall virtual meetings this summer and early fall. Four meetings will facilitate discussion on local/regional food system resiliency, rural revitalization, climate and energy, and farm to school.
Each town hall will be hosted on Zoom from 7 pm to 8:30pm on the following dates:
The Town Halls will offer opportunities to share information and community dialogue on the unique challenges or opportunities communities face in each topic area, within the context of an election year and the new realities of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These come at a time when Kansans are thinking about resiliency and what the future will look like. The ways in which we farm and get food to our plates and our capacity to work together as communities will be critical – perhaps now more than ever.
Based on dialogue and feedback from Town Hall participants last summer, KRC identified components of a shared vision for the future and developed a report and recommendations for a more resilient food, farm and energy future. The recommendations focus on four areas: Local/Regional Food and Agriculture; Rural Revitalization; Water, Conservation and the Environment; and Energy. A free copy of the report can be found on KRC’s website.
This year’s Town Halls will build on the visions and ideas outlined in the report and recommendations. “We want to revisit what we learned from folks last year because we are all living in a much different world and many of our priorities have shifted.” says Natalie Fullerton, KRC Assistant Director. “We want people to come away from the meetings with a better understanding of common concerns, goals and reasons for hope.”
Each Town Hall meeting will feature a pre-recorded farm or local foods industry virtual tour shared ahead of time. During the Town Halls a panel of leaders will share new and old challenges and visions for how we come together to strengthen our resilience around each topic. Attendees will then have time to ask questions, respond to the panelists, and share their experiences or opinions about the issues addressed in order to help identify what is needed to advance opportunities in their communities and/or the region.
KRC has also just begun a two year Farm to School project which includes the opportunity to provide space for community dialogue on what the project entails and how members of the community can support it. The final Town Hall will invite panelists who are part of successful farm to school programs to share the unique ways their schools and communities connect kids to fresh local food.
As the November election nears, the Town Halls will also provide an opportunity to explore questions to be asking candidates and ways to ensure that voter tools are accessible to everyone. “As we have seen in the past and are seeing currently, elections have consequences on our food and ag landscape,” says Fullerton. “Civic engagement is very much an important part of the conversation when thinking about future resiliency.”
Registration is required to receive the meeting links. See links above.
If you have other questions or want to register, contact Ryan Goertzen-Regier at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-579-5469.
The town halls are part of KRC’s Integrated Voter Engagement project, funded by the Kansas Health Foundation and Farm to School project, funded by USDA. The projects aim to improve economic, community, environmental, and human health in Kansas by strengthening civic engagement and public policy support that better incorporates Kansas farms and communities into the state’s healthy food supply chain.
The mission of KRC, founded in 1979, is to promote the long-term health of the land and its people through community-based research, education, and advocacy that advances an economically viable, ecologically sound, and socially just food and farming system in Kansas. For more information, visit kansasruralcenter.org.