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Rural Grocery Initiative

About the Rural Grocery Initiative

The Rural Grocery Initiative is housed within the Center for Engagement and Community Development (CECD) at Kansas State University.  In 2006, CECD held listening sessions across the state aimed at identifying challenges facing rural Kansas communities.  During these sessions, the need to support rural grocery stores rose to the top. 

Supporting rural grocery stores is important because they:

  • Provide economic development through jobs and by contributing to the local tax base.
  • Act as community hubs for community members to gather and connect.
  • Serve as essential sources for healthy food options.

Our Mission

The mission of the Rural Grocery Initiative (RGI) is to provide resources to help sustain and enhance independently-owned rural grocery stores.  RGI assists communities and citizens to strengthen rural grocery operations and improve access to healthy foods.

Rural Grocery Initiative Goals

  • Serve as a national source of evidence-based information for rural grocery
  • Identify the significant challenges that rural grocery stores face
  • Provide a list of rural grocer best practices
  • Highlight sustainable models of rural grocery operation
  • Strengthen access to healthy foods

What does the Rural Grocery Initiative do?

  • Provides technical assistance to grocers and communities related to rural grocery stores and/or healthy food access
  • Maintains Rural Grocery Store Database
  • Develops and maintains Rural Grocery Toolkit
  • Hosts biennial National Rural Grocery Summit
  • Conducts research on relevant rural grocery and food access issues
  • Partners with organizations and institutions that work to support rural grocery stores and communities
  • Serves as Food Access Organization for Kansas Healthy Food Initiative.

For more information, please contact CECD at 785-532-6868 or cecd@k-state.edu.