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April 9 Dinner
June 4 Forum

Happy Birthday, Kansas Rural Center!

On Saturday, April 9, 2005, the Kansas Rural Center celebrated 25 years of work as the voice for a sustainable food and agriculture system with an evening of local food, good conversation, and homegrown musical entertainment. The event was held at Black Jack Hills, a rustic setting 10 miles east of Manhattan and 5 miles west of Wamego just off Highway 24. The celebration included a "Populist Social Hour and Half", followed by a dinner (6 p.m.) of local or organically produced foods, and an evening of musical entertainment.

It was twenty-five years ago in December 1979, that a small group of concerned Kansas activists came together to form the Kansas Rural Center, a non-profit education and advocacy organization. Small in number and big in ideals, they set about developing an organization to address the decline of independent family farms, erosion of the natural resources and the environment, and concentration of wealth and resources into fewer and fewer hands. In recent years, the scope of KRC's work has grown to include not only family farms and rural communities, but also a safe local and regional food system supported by partnerships between consumers and farmers. Over the past twenty-five years, KRC has gained strength and support, and established itself as the voice for a sustainable agriculture and food system in Kansas.

Dana Jackson, a Kansas native who is currently Associate Director of the Land Stewardship Project in Minnesota, provided keynote remarks during a short evening program. Dana served on KRC's first board of directors and offered KRC years of valuable advice and direction. She has continued her commitment to building a sustainable agriculture and food system as an activist and author (most recently "The Farm as Natural Habitat: Reconnecting Food Systems with Nature" with Laura Jackson, Island Press 2002)

Special recognition for the founders of the Rural Center
Dana Jackson receives a 25th Anniversary
commemorative print from Mary Fund.
Also honored were KRC co-founders Fred Bentley (L),
Vaughn Flora (R) and Jim Lukens (see below).

Dan Nagengast, KRC Executive Director, offered remarks on KRC's history and future direction, and recognized the KRC founders and past and current board members.

Ann Zimmerman and Kelly Werts
Ann Zimmerman and Kelly Werts

Following dinner, several Kansas grown musicians offered musical entertainment. These included Jim French and the Forever Young band, and our special guests: Ann Zimmerman and Kelly Werts.

And a good time was had by all!





Jim Lukens and Fred Bentley share a laugh at the Anniversary Dinner.




Whiting, Ks. - On Saturday, June 4, 2005, in the Kansas Rural Center sponsored a "Prairie Populist " forum featuring a dialogue and discussion of the future of agriculture, our communities, and our food system. Wes Jackson, Kansas born and raised scientist and philosopher, helped launch a dialogue about the past, present and the future for agriculture, our resources, and the people who live in the Great Plains . The event took place in Chase County's Matfield Green in the heart of the Flint Hills, and included a wildflower walk on the prairie at Jane Koger's ranch and an all local foods meal at the Matfield Green School.

The Kansas Rural Center is a private non-profit research, education, and advocacy organization funded by public and private foundation grants and individual contributions. The 2005 Board of Directors included: Herb Bartel, Hillsboro, Ks.; Tom Brenneman, Solomon; Julie Elfving, Olathe; Ervin Ediger, Hillsboro; Jim and Sue Keating, Bennington; Jackie Keller, Topeka; Gary Kilgore, Chanute; Paul Johnson, Perry; Bruce Larkin, Baileyville; Joy and Bob Lominska, Lawrence; Robert Mulch, Scott City; Jim Rowh, Norton; Rodger Schneider, Smolan; Donn Teske, Wheaton; Marjorie Van Buren, Topeka; and Nancy Vogelsberg, Home.

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