Fifth National Rural Grocery Summit

The K-State Rural Grocery Initiative is pleased to announce the Fifth National Rural Grocery Summit. This event will be held on June 6-7 at the Hyatt Regency in Wichita, Kan. Summit speakers and panelists will highlight food retail resources, best practices for rural grocery store operations, and innovative ways to strengthen healthy food access.

Local grocery stores are critical for survival of America’s rural communities.  These stores are an important part of the economic engine that sustains rural communities, providing essential jobs and taxes.  They are a vital source for nutrition and health, providing a supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and protein.  A local grocery store is most important for the rural young, elderly and those with limited resources.  Grocery stores are where we meet friends, catch up on the latest news, and stay connected.  Grocery stores, like schools, cafes, and post offices are community assets that attract and retain citizens.  A thriving local grocery store is a sign of a healthy community.  Regrettably, many local grocery stores struggle to keep their doors open.

Kansas State University and a comprehensive range of partners are working together to support rural communities and their grocery stores. Some of the topics at the summit will include providing methods of accessing funds for a rural grocery store, planning successful business transitions, increasing healthy food options, and understanding customer needs.

The Fifth National Rural Grocery Summit will include participants from all walks of life; store owners, citizen leaders, food suppliers, academic researchers, policy makers, and funders. Presenters at the summit include keynote speaker Nick Graham, whose speech “10 Years of Being America’s Youngest Grocer: Growing a Business and Sales in a Declining Area”, addresses common grocery store concerns. Additionally, Marci Penner from the Kansas Sampler Foundation will discuss her grocery store observations in, “What I Learned about Rural Grocery Stores by Visiting Towns across Kansas.”

“This gathering of people interested in rural food retail has grown consistently since we began in 2008.  This year we’re anticipating over 200 attendees representing close to twenty states,” said Dr. David Procter, Director of the Center for Engagement and Community Development, and opening keynote speaker.

To register and make lodging arrangements, please visit conferences.k-state.edu/ruralgrocery/. For questions regarding registration, contact Kansas State University Global Campus at (785)-532-5569 or 1-(800)-432-8222. The lodging reservation deadline is May 16 and the summit registration deadline is May 23.

If you have any questions regarding program content, contact Dr. Procter at (785)-532-6868, cecd@k-state.edu.  

We hope you will join us!