Kansans are invited to attend the upcoming “Voting for the Future: Dinner & Dialogue” forums, a free dinner and program organized by the Kansas Rural Center. In August, KRC will travel around the state to host the forums which aim to help inform on federal and state level food and farm policy updates, local and regional level efforts to strengthen community access to food, resources for farmers, and other critical issues, and dialogue about civic engagement and ways to work together to reach the common vision of a healthy food and farm system.
The forums will be held in Norton, Tuesday, August 14; Girard, Tuesday, August 28; Concordia, Thursday, August 30; and Garden City, Tuesday, September 18.
Note: The Southwest Kansas Forum scheduled in Cimarron, Wednesday, Aug. 15 was canceled and rescheduled for Garden City, Sept. 18.
At all forums, a complementary dinner featuring locally sourced ingredients will be available starting at 5:00 pm with the program following. Registration is required in order to ensure an accurate dinner count.
“Being informed is critical to the choices we make. KRC wants Kansans to be informed and equipped to make the best decisions possible on food and farming, health and education, and other issues this election year. Taking time to listen and to share with others about your community needs and public policy decisions is important. These dinner and dialogue opportunities offer you a great chance to do just that. These are your town hall meetings – they are not candidate forums, so local citizens have a chance to discuss with each other what they need and want, and what to ask candidates about,” says Mary Fund, Executive Director of the Kansas Rural Center.
State and local experts will provide Kansans with information on federal and state level food and farm policy and action within the broader context of state budget and revenue issues. Local and regional leaders will also be on hand to share efforts that are strengthening access to healthy food for all, resources for those who grow food, access to health resources, and other food and farm system needs.
The forums will also provide the opportunity for round table dialogue to reach deeper into food and farm system issues, learn about the questions important to ask candidates this summer and fall, how to mobilize your community to vote, and other common interest topics critical to an election year.
“With an emphasis on the power Kansans have to create the changes they seek, we hope folks will use these forums as an opportunity to talk about what’s needed in their communities, region, or state and how to encourage peers to head to the polls, write letters to the editor, or other ways to strengthen civic engagement,” says Natalie Fullerton, Program Director at the Kansas Rural Center.
These forums are part of KRC’s “Community Food Solutions for a Healthier Kansas” initiative and Integrated Voter Engagement project, which aims to improve economy, community, environment, and 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.