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The Kansas

Food Policy Council

Goals    Participating Organizations     The Governor's Role


The Kansas Food Policy Council (KFPC)  was launched on Sept. 29, 2005 with an event and announcement at Cottonwood School in Salina. The Council is part of Governor Kathleen Sebeliusí Healthy Kansas Initiative.

Two years of funding, ($120,000) was secured for the Kansas Rural Center through the USDA Community Foods Project Program. The Governor committed in-kind support in the form of employee salaries and expenses as matching funds. She directed the cooperation of several agencies, including Agriculture, Commerce, Aging, Social and Rehabilitative Services (SRS), Education and the Rural Life Task Force.

The primary objective of the KFPC is to bring together a diverse group of public and private sector stakeholders to examine food systems in the state. The KFPC makes policy recommendations regarding ways in which the food system and related practices can be improved to enhance the health of the Kansas population, strengthen local economies and market opportunities, improve coordination and efficiency, protect the environment, and reduce hunger and food insecurity.

The KFPC operates throughout Kansas under the sponsorship of Governor Kathleen Sebelius and her administration. Membership on the KFPC includes both governmental and private sector representatives from all aspects of the Kansas food system (production, distribution, marketing and consumers). The KFPC serves as a venue for coordinating governmental and private sector interests and activities, with efforts focused primarily in three areas:

  • Regional Food Systems
    - reviews the problems and issues that stand in the way of revitalizing the local food economy, and promotes implementation of new policies that will encourage more local farmers, food processors and food retailers.

  • Food Security
    targets the problems of hunger and inadequate diets for low income and nutritionally at-risk populations, including the elderly, children, pregnant and nursing women, and incapacitated populations, with the goal of ensuring these groups receive the nutrition they need.

  • Human Health and the Environment
    - focuses on the hard problem of changing how people eat.  Many of our chronic health issues are based on poor nutrition.   Issues such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity all have their origins in food and eating habits. A second area of investigation concerns health problems related to how food is produced and the possible incidental ingestion of carcinogens related to an historical switch to prepared and preserved foods instead of home-prepared whole foods.


  • Increase the regional production and marketing of food products.

  • Streamline and clarify the rules and regulations governing direct-marketed foods to provide increased marketing opportunities for Kansas farmers.

  • Promote the use of regionally produced foods in programs serving at-risk populations.

  • Support the development and implementation of new community-based regional food policy councils within Kansas.

  • Improve communication and coordination among programs providing food assistance to at-risk populations, and streamline eligibility determination processes.

  • Improve participation rates in government-sponsored nutrition assistance programs.

  • Improve the health of Kansans through improved school-based nutrition, reduction of childhood obesity, and other nutritional initiatives, working in coordination with the Governorís Healthy Kansans Initiative.

  • Maximize nutritional density of foods, clean water, and air quality through improvements in agricultural practices.

ORganizations Involved at Inception

The following groups, with the assistance of Governor Kathleen Sebelius, initially organized the Kansas Food Policy Council.

  • The Kansas Rural Center

  • The Salina Food Policy Council

  • Drake University Agricultural Law Center

  • Kansas Department of Aging

  • Kansas Department of Agriculture

  • Kansas Department of Commerce

  • Kansas Department of Education

  • Kansas Department of Health & Environment

  • Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services

  • Kansas State University Ė Research and Extension

  • Wichita State University - Center for Human Health and the Environment

  • The Kansas Rural Life Task Force

Other parties are being added as they are identified, including:

  • Farm groups and food marketing organizations such as farmers markets

  • The Food Distribution Network of processors and wholesalers

  • Food service providers to school children, the elderly and in other institutional settings

  • Emergency food providers including shelters, kitchens, pantries and warehouses

  • Professional nutritionists

  • Governmental agencies charged with the same missions

  • Churches and other non-profit organizations concerned with human welfare and the public good

  • Health care providers

  • Interested citizens and consumers.

The Governor's Role

The Governor provides a leadership role, encouraging the formation of the Food Policy Council and insuring that Departments and Agencies participate as information providers and full partners in implementation of agreed to activities. Often, Food Policy Councils operate in the nebulous area between and among state agencies, private service providers, non-profits, for-profits, the Universities and Extension. As such, they exist as on-going stakeholder meetings, continually supplying information back to the Governor.

Agreed upon activities may or may not seek the Governorís assistance in implementation, though this would always be necessary for tasks involving State Agencies and Departments. The Food Policy Council would not take public positions contrary to the Governorís policies. Rather, it would seek to work with the Governor to advance positions agreed to by all.

Coordinator of the KFPC is Dan Nagengast, Executive Director of the Kansas Rural Center, and Co-Coordinator of the Governorís Rural Life Task Force. He will chair the Regional Food Systems and Human Health and the Environment Task Forces. Barbara LaClair, M.H.A. chairs the Food Security Task Force

Funding for this two year project comes from USDA with a substantial non-cash match from the Kansas State Administration.

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