Kansas Rural Center to Host Regional Town Hall in Girard
Kansans are encouraged to attend the upcoming Southeast Kansas “Voting for the Future: Dinner & Dialogue” forum, a free dinner and program organized by the Kansas Rural Center. The forum will take place on Tuesday, August 28th, at Girard Civic Center located at 102 N Ozark St. in Girard.
At the event, a complimentary dinner featuring locally sourced ingredients from Schenker Farms and catered by McCune Farm to Market will be available starting at 5:00 pm with the program following. Registration is required in order to ensure an accurate count for dinner. Please register no later than Saturday, August 26 at www.kansasruralcenter.org.
The purpose of the forum is to share information, ideas, and ways to work together to reach a common vision of a healthy, local food system through collaboration and civic engagement. As an election year, linking food and farm system issues and civic engagement through voting and engaging with candidates this fall will be a strong focus.
State and local experts will be on hand to provide information and context on federal and state level food and farm policy, programs and action as well as local momentum around growing opportunities for farms and community food. Time will be available after presentations for roundtable dialogue to reach deeper into questions and action to take on issues this election year.
Covering the state and national conversation, Paul Johnson with the Kansas Rural Center will share an overview of recent legislation and activity that affects food and farm systems and rural communities. Joey Hentzler with Kansas Appleseed will share information about state and local activity and programs that affects impoverished and excluded communities particularly around food access including school food programs and SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). In addition, the Climate and Energy Project’s Jamie Hofling will share an overview of state programs and partnerships focusing on clean Water, Energy, Air, Land, and Transportation and how each affects the food and farming system. All three organizations are part of partnerships that seek to link and strengthen food and health equity and voter engagement across Kansas.
Locally, Debbie Bearden representing Allen County GROW, Rhonda Dunn representing the Bourbon County Food Alliance and Martha Murphy representing the Crawford County Eat Well Task Force will speak about local activities and programs to meet community needs surrounding local food access, business development, and farmer resources.
“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.
The League of Women Voters will weave together the importance of voting, other civic activities and mobilizing community members to do the same with the national, state and local information.
The forum will be the second of four in KRC’s “Voting for the Future: Dinner & Dialogue” series across the state. Upcoming “Voting for the Future: Dinner & Dialogue” forums will also be held in Concordia, Thursday, August 30 and Garden City, September 18.
There is no cost to attend, but registration is required to ensure a meal. Please register no later than Saturday Aug. 25. To register and download an agenda please visit www.kansasruralcenter.org or contact Caryl Hale at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-579-5469.
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.