food desert

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

Valley Center’s only independent grocery store, Leeker’s Family Foods, closed this weekend. The store was not only a place to buy food, but it also served as a community hub for the past 50 years.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas News Service

A small Kansas town's effort to replace its lone grocery store is getting a big boost from the federal government.

A $780,000 Community Economic Development Grant will pay about a quarter of the cost of bringing a new grocery store, pharmacy and gas station to St. John, a town of about 1,300 people in Stafford County.

The Hutchinson News reports the award makes officials hopeful they could break ground on the $3 million project this year.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas News Service

A brick building that was the only grocery store in St. John sits vacant, its glass doors covered with paper since it closed early last year.

St. John is the county seat of Stafford County in south-central Kansas — but it’s home to fewer than 1,300 people.

Now, the closest grocery store is 12 miles away, in Stafford.

St. John resident Amy Collins said that means meals and shopping require more effort.

“Now when we make a trip to the grocery store we are planning four, five … six days out in advance, so you have to be much more efficient,” she said.

Moran Introduces Bill To Fight Food Deserts

Aug 4, 2017
ers.usda.gov

Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran helped introduce a new bill aimed at giving relief to food deserts across the country.

Wichita Transit Facebook

Wichita Transit is trying out a new program it says will help people in food deserts get to grocery stores.

Bryan Thompson / Kansas News Service

During a Friday visit to Junction City, Kansas, that included a stop at a food pantry site, U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall said he would work to maintain funding for programs that feed the hungry.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

A furniture store, not a grocery store, will soon occupy the former Walmart Neighborhood Market in northeast Wichita.

Rachel Andrew / flickr Creative Commons

Eight rural communities across Kansas will share $120,000 in grants over the next year to find ways to improve access to fresh produce.

Many rural grocery stores have closed, or are struggling to survive. In St. John, Kansas, the only grocery in town closed last year. Now the nearest full-service food store is 29 miles away.

The Sunflower Foundation is issuing the grants to St. John and other communities to help them figure out how to foster local access to fresh food.

Mike Mozart/Flickr Creative Commons

A Save-A-Lot discount grocery store opened its doors this morning in a Wichita neighborhood previously considered to be a food desert. 

KMUW file photo

The Kansas Food Bank received a $10,000 donation Wednesday from Union Pacific Foundation. The funds will go toward purchasing food and produce to be distributed to partner agencies throughout Kansas.

The donation is expected to benefit agencies in 85 counties in Kansas.

"An integral part of Union Pacific’s success is the work we do to enhance quality of life in the communities where our employees live and work," Union Pacific Foundation President Scott Moore said in a release.

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