TOPEKA – A Summary Report of the 2019 Kansas Rural Center (KRC) Town Halls is now available on KRC’s website. About 250 people attended the five town halls held in Emporia, Wichita, Garden City, St. Francis, and Kansas City held between July and September 2019. The report was developed for state and local policy makers and decision makers as well as for individual citizens to help identify key points for advocacy and action.
The release of this report comes at a time when many Kansans are thinking about resiliency and what the future has in store. Despite the uncertainty around how Covid-19 will impact future gatherings, we must still work together on big picture issues that impact our future. How we farm and get food to our plates and how we work together as communities is critical- perhaps now more than ever. This report does not address the current Covid-19 crisis however the recommendations and calls to action are critical to working together to ensure a resilient farm and food future.
Based on dialogue and feedback from participants last summer, KRC identified components of a vision for the future and developed recommendations for a more resilient food, farm and energy future in these four categories: Local/Regional Food and Agriculture; Rural Revitalization; Water, Conservation and the Environment; and Energy.
While some of the recommendations may seem overwhelming, it’s important to think about what you know you can do, especially during times like now. Natalie Fullerton, KRC staff who coordinated the town halls, states, “If you want to do something about these recommendations but are not sure where to start, start small. Start where you are at. Simply writing to your legislator or letter to the editor about an issue you care about, or talking to your neighbor about it can be a great way to open that door.”
This was the 6th year of town hall meetings KRC has held to inform Kansans about farm, food and rural issues, facilitate community conversations, and motivate action. KRC included two major urban cities (Wichita and Kansas City) in order to gain understanding on the similarities and/or differences between rural and urban perspectives regarding food, farm, and rural issues.
KRC will share this report with legislators and encourage them to consider these recommendations as they engage in the issues and work on legislation. This report will also help frame the issues as KRC organizes their 2020 summer town hall series, and its advocacy and program priorities. The 2020 meetings may be different than in the past as KRC is considering holding digital or virtual meetings in light of current restrictions.
The report is available to read and download at https://kansasruralcenter.org/krc-future-of-farming-food-town-hall-summary-recommendations-available/
KRC’s annual town hall series is a part of KRC’s Civic Agriculture for Civic Health and Integrated Voter Engagement Initiatives. For questions about the initiatives or Town Hall Summary & Recommendations, contact Natalie Fullerton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-579-5469.