Increasing access to healthy food is emerging as a priority in Kansas as local governments and communities are taking action to address food insecurity, support local producers, and improve healthier food and beverage options. These resources provide an overview of Kansas laws that support access to healthy and affordable local food and influence initiatives that provide healthier food environments.
A food system assessment (FSA) is an important tool for evaluating a community’s needs and resources for any number of issues related to food. FSAs can be used to understand gaps in food access and availability, opportunities for food production and waste recovery, or support for economic development around food retail. FSAs can also assist with policymaking.
Local planning efforts can have a significant impact on the ability of residents facing hunger and food insecurity to access affordable, healthy food. Local planning efforts can also affect food access by addressing connections between land use, natural resources, transportation, housing, solid waste, parks and open space, economic development, and other areas of physical development in a community.
Food and beverages high in sugar, calories, and salt can cause chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. An important step in reducing diet-related diseases is creating food environments that support healthy choices. In Kansas, public agencies offer food and drinks to thousands of employees, community members, clients, and visitors every day, making government property an important environment to promote healthy options.
Season extension activities can help those growing local produce overcome challenges and extend the growing season. Season extension activities range from common agricultural practices, such as selecting cold-weather hearty plants, to sophisticated growing techniques that require infrastructure, like hydroponic growing methods within permanent greenhouses. This resource and webinar identify regulatory and other legal issues and discuss local policy options to support season extension in Kansas. This publication was made possible with funding from KC Healthy Kids.
Interest in farmers' markets is growing across Kansas, with the number of these markets increasing more than four-fold in the past two decades. The growth of farmers' markets is closely tied to community efforts to support local producers (sources of fresh, local, and healthy foods) and grow local economies.
This fact sheet and webinar outlines the key components of the Kansas “Government Control” law passed in 2016 that granted state government control over regulation and oversight of food service operations, retail food establishments, and other matters concerning local food and agricultural practices. This resource explains the law and its potential implications for local and statewide efforts to increase access to healthy foods in Kansas.
Hunger and lack of reliable access to nutritious food are pressing issues impacting many families in Kansas. An effective means of addressing hunger and food insecurity in Kansas is donating unused food to families in need. This resource explains Kansas state and federal “Good Samaritan” laws that protect food donors and donees from potential liability in their efforts to donate food so that more families in Kansas can have reliable access to nutritious food.
Establishing policies that support healthy vending and food service in public spaces in Kansas can increase community access to healthy food and beverages. This requires an understanding of the federal Randolph-Sheppard law and its Kansas counterpart. These laws give legally blind vendors a preference in operating food outlets, such as vending machines and concessions, on some government property. This resource explains these laws and how they can influence initiatives to provide healthier food environments on public property in Kansas.
Consumers are increasingly interested in healthier food and beverage options. Being able to see and access calorie and other nutritional information for food and beverages at restaurants and from vending machines prior to purchase can help consumers make informed choices. This resource discusses the federal calorie labeling regulations for restaurants and vending machines going into effect beginning in 2016.
Local governments play a pivotal role in ensuring that community members have access to healthy food through local policies. For example, local governments can change zoning and taxing laws to make it easier to create new grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and community gardens. This resource describes the different types of policies that local governments can use to increase access to healthy food within their communities.
Kansas can benefit from increasing the amount of local food that is served in public institutions, such as agencies and schools. This report introduces readers to three different forms of farm to institution: farm to agency, farm to school, and farm to preschool and child care. Each section provides a brief overview, a discussion of the roles of the different levels of government over that type of farm to institution, the current Kansas laws and policies on that type of farm to institution, and recommendations for how local food advocates in Kansas can increase farm to institution efforts across the state.
This fact sheet outlines the key components of a food vending or procurement policy and identifies resources to help government and private organizations develop and implement these policies for their buildings and campuses.
Creating a food council through resolution is a powerful tool that a local government can utilize to interact with the community in policymaking and seek guidance on complex issues. Food councils are becoming more common in Kansas, and have proven to be an effective process for implementing and executing state and local food policies. No food council is set up or run exactly the same; each one can be adapted to the specific needs of each community.
This fact sheet provides a summary for Kansas of national and regional voluntary pledge programs that focus on improving the food and beverage environments within organizational settings.