As posted on Kansas Health Foundation's website on April 6, 2018
Four rural Kansas communities have recently been awarded a total of $135,000 through the first round of the Kansas Health Foundation’s Kansas Healthy Food Initiative (KHFI). KHFI is a new innovative loan/grant funding initiative for grocery improvements, food distribution, farmers’ markets or other innovative projects to support increased access to fresh, nutritious food.
Eligible projects must primarily serve a low- to moderate-income community or neighborhood where there are no comparable fresh food markets or full-service grocery stores within the trade area, or if residents must travel outside the trade area to meet their grocery needs.
More than 752,800 Kansans do not have access to healthy food sources, such as grocery stores, within a reasonable distance from their home (or 1 mile in urban areas and 10 miles for rural areas), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Many community grocery stores want to continue to serve local residents, but often operating costs are high, or they can’t afford buying a limited amount of healthy food to offer to their customers,” said Steve Coen, Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) president and CEO. “The KHFI is a unique funding tool to expand existing grocery stores with fresh fruits, vegetables and meat, or to reduce energy costs so they can keep the doors open. With the grant/loan financing, grocers will replenish the fund, meaning we can support more communities over time, help Kansans have access to healthy food and strengthen local economies.”
KHF allocated approximately $4.2 million for the loan/grant initiative to create a system that supports efforts improving greater access to healthy food.
Communities receiving KHFI funding, include:
Grinnell, Gove County –
Hometown Grocery, a community-owned grocery store, will use its $10,000 grant and $5,000 loan to purchase new freezers and a cooler for fresh produce. These improvements will reduce energy costs through greater efficiency. The store will also renovate its public restrooms.
Lucas, Russell County –
Home Oil, a local convenience store, will be using a $25,000 grant for building expansion and equipment upgrades to increase the amount of fresh, healthy food–including produce and fresh meat–in the store.
Moran, Allen County –
The Mildred Store, a local grocery store, will use a $13,300 grant and $6,700 loan for energy-efficient equipment upgrades. Outdated coolers will be replaced to allow the store to carry more produce and reduce energy costs.
St. John, Stafford County –
Stafford County Economic Development, a nonprofit developing the Stafford County Marketplace–which will include a grocery store, pharmacy and gas station–raised $75,000 to receive a $75,000 challenge grant. The grant will be used for new construction, equipment and fixtures since the town’s grocery store closed in early 2016.
KHFI is made possible due to a partnership between Kansas State University’s Center for Engagement and Community Development, the food access organization implementing the KHFI, NetWork Kansas, a statewide network of non-profit business-building resources, The Food Trust, a national organization focused on food retail for underserved populations and IFF, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution.
KHFI financing is available for entities looking to sustain or create food access points in areas of great need. Loans and grants must meet eligibility requirements. To learn more, visit the KHFI website.
ABOUT THE KANSAS HEALTH FOUNDATION
The Kansas Health Foundation is based in Wichita, but statewide in its focus. With a mission to improve the health of all Kansans, KHF envisions a culture in which every Kansan can make healthy choices where they live, work and play. To achieve this, KHF focuses its work in four impact areas: access to affordable health care, healthy behaviors, civic and community engagement and educational attainment. During our 30-year history, we have provided more than $500 million in grants to Kansas communities and organizations, and look forward to many more years of working toward our mission and vision.
Grant recipients, Kevin & Michell Welch of The Welch Farm, an event and catering venue outside Macksville, recently returned from a Colorado-based business improvement “Destination Bootcamp.” The Welch Farm was among a group of business owners from Kansas who attended the two and one-half day, 20-hour workshop. The grant was funded by the Stafford County Economic Development E-Community Partnership with Network Kansas.
“Destination Boot Camp”, created by the internationally recognized business expert and marketing consultant Jon Schallert, focuses on independent business owners and ideas as to how to reposition their businesses as “consumer destinations” using a 14-step strategy. The principles taught at Destination BootCamp are designed for business owners who want to accelerate their learning curve and receive in-depth instruction, strategies, and specific tactics on how to become a dominant “Destination Business” preferred by customers, both in and beyond Stafford County, Kansas.
The Welch Farm is the first business from Stafford County, Kansas ever to attend the
Kevin & Michell Welch, along with their daughter Megan Welch Schnoebelen, are the visionaries behind the venue. The Welch Farm is a renovated and repurposed barn and pavilion with 5,000 square feet of covered roof. The venue was designed for both personal enjoyment and to host the September 2014 wedding reception of Megan and Kade.Schnoebelen. The property is surrounded by trees to the north and overlooks a tranquil pond to the east and south. Located on the west side of the venue, is a “bunkhouse” built by Mr. Welch and his son-in-law, Kade Schnoebelen in the fall of 2015. The bunkhouse includes a commercial kitchen for the catering portion of the business, public restrooms, a large room that doubles as the “brides room” on wedding day as well as a space to entertain guests for small dinner parties or showers. The bunkhouse is also home to 4 guest rooms. Each room highlights unique re-purposed items in the décor and provides a private bath, a queen bed and a pull-out couch bed. Located adjacent to the barn, is an outdoor chapel that can accommodate the most intimate ceremony or seat up to 350 guests with unlimited standing room.
The Welch Farm, located in rural Stafford County Kansas, 1 ¾ mile south of highway 50 on 140th Avenue, was an abandoned and neglected 1880’s pioneer homestead. Patent Records indicate that homestead certificate, No. 4145, had an application date of March 4, 1885 and was granted a patent record by Grover Cleveland, President of the United States of America. The property was homesteaded by Mr. Rueben Webb and then sold to Mr. and Mrs. D.H. Welch in 1886. The property then transferred to their son, Walter Welch, before it was deeded in 1924 to Michell’s maternal great-grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. John E. Seibert. A June 1880 census reveals that the Webb, Welch and Seibert families relocated to Kansas and were all farmers with Mr. Seibert’s father, Clifford Seibert, coming to Stafford County Kansas in 1882 as a 10-year-old boy to care for his brother’s sheep.
The Welch Farm provides an atmosphere full of rustic grace and is the perfect setting for weddings and receptions. The Welch’s have numerous weddings scheduled in 2018 as well as several in 2019. They are organizing events such as a Women’s Conference (June 16, 2018), Biker’s ride (July 2018), family reunions, “steak night”, murder mysteries, symphonies in the sand and numerous other events to make The Welch Farm a destination location. They are also listed on air B n B and have guests stop from all over the county.
Schallert’s Destination Business Boot Camp is held in Colorado three times annually. Schallert has worked with independent business owners since 1983, speaks to thousands every year, and is the President of The Schallert Group, Inc., Longmont, Colorado. Business owners interested in attending may contact Kevin or Michell Welch at 620-352-0160 for more information on their Boot Camp experience, or to book an event.
Credits: The Welch Farm
From left to right: Cashe McVey, St. John; Roger Ramirez, St. John; Preston Dunn, St. John; Liam Lanterman, St. John, Brianna Banks, St. John; Alassandro Zambarda, Stafford; Caleb Hildebrand, Stafford; Marshall Woolf, Stafford (Not pictured: Jaden Reed, St. John)
Stafford County Economic Development had nine Stafford County students compete in the Central Kansas Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge that took place on Friday, March 16 in Kinsley. 7th through 12th grade students were eligible to participate in this year's event. Five students from St. John competed as a team, one student from St. John and three students from Stafford competed as individuals.
Students were judged on their business idea/concept, a three-page executive summary, and a four-minute formal presentation to a panel of three judges. Individuals and teams competed for a total of $1,750 in cash prizes and their chance to compete at the state competition in April at Kansas State University.
Preston Dunn, 8th grader from St. John-Hudson U.S.D. 350 won first place and a prize of $1,000. Cashe McVey, Jaden Reed, Roger Ramirez, Brianna Banks and Liam Lanterman competed as the Tiger Town Pizza team and won second place with a $500 prize. Rylie Miller from Kinsley High School won third place and $250.
Dunn automatically gets to participate at Kansas State University on April 24th. The other students that competed in the regional event were given the opportunity to submit their executive summary at a chance to fill one of the 14 wildcard slots for the state competition in Manhattan.
Congratulations to all of our Stafford County students for competing in this year's regional event!
Stafford County Economic Development
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