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Rural Grocery Initiative

Rural Grocery Summit

Local grocery stores are vital to America’s rural communities. These stores are part of the economic engine that sustains rural communities—providing essential jobs and taxes. They are an important source of nutrition and health, providing a supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and protein. Grocery stores are also where we meet friends, catch up on the latest news and stay connected. Like schools, restaurants and post offices, rural grocery stores are community assets that attract and retain citizens. A thriving local grocery store is a sign of a healthy community.

Yet, all too often we hear of another store closing.

Because the loss of a rural grocery store threatens the health of local citizens and the very existence of that community, Kansas State University and a broad range of partners launched the Rural Grocery Initiative (RGI) in 2007. Since that time, we have worked hard to understand rural grocery challenges and provide workable solutions to address those challenges.

We hosted our fifth National Rural Grocery Summit in Manhattan, Kansas on June 6-7, 2016 to offer the latest and best ideas regarding rural grocery operations. Participants ranged from store owners, concerned citizens, funders, non-profits, government agencies, food suppliers, university researchers and business leaders. We spent two days talking with one another about the "triple bottom line" of rural grocery benefits—economic development, nutritional health and community sustainability.

The fifth National Rural Grocery Summit:

  • provided the latest and best thinking about rural grocery stores and rural community sustainability;
  • offered a discussion around the latest models for providing healthy food access to rural communities;
  • presented rural grocery store owners and rural grocery stakeholders the opportunity to network and dialogue with one another about the significant issues and challenges they face;
  • provided a discussion regarding rural grocery best business practices, and
  • charted a path forward for rural healthy food access.

View the Rural Grocery Summit V PowerPoint slides, agenda and sponsors.

We would like to again thank all of the sponsors, supporters and participants who continue to make it possible to explore ways to strengthen our rural grocery stores and communities. We look forward to seeing you at the sixth National Rural Grocery Summit in 2018.