In 2006, Kansas State held listening sessions across the state aimed at identifying challenges facing rural communities. During these sessions, the need to support rural grocery stores rose to the top.
Supporting rural grocery stores is important because they:
- Provide jobs and contribute to the local tax base.
- Act as community hubs for residents to gather and connect.
- Serve as essential sources for healthy food options.
The Rural Grocery Initiative (RGI) was formed at K-State to provide resources to help sustain and enhance independently-owned rural grocery stores. The initiative assists communities and citizens to strengthen rural grocery operations and improve access to healthy foods.
Rial Carver is a Program Manager for the Rural Grocery Initiative and Kansas Healthy Food Initiative. She is also an Extension Specialist for K-State Research and Extension with a focus on rural and healthy food access initiatives.
In this episode of the Rural Business Show, Carver talks about the Rural Grocery Initiative, and why this effort is important to her.
She discusses her main concerns for rural grocery stores and what she’s optimistic about.
We talk about the impacts grocery stores have on rural communities and Carver shares some specific success stories that show a variety of ways a rural grocery business can thrive.