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Improving access to healthy food

Common Ground’s Strategy for Improving Access to Health Foods for Families in Wichita

Thousands of families in desert areas of Wichita cannot get fresh, healthy food on their tables.

They also don’t have quick access to a supermarket or grocery store. Also, the foods stocked in supermarkets might be more expensive and less nutritious.

Transport is also an issue for them to get fresh, healthy produce. They have to travel a long distance to get fresh garden fruits and vegetables.

The food loses nutritional value during transportation before reaching the customer’s plates.

It doesn’t make sense when the food reaches the market when its nutritional value is lost.

So, improving access to healthy food is essential to ensure families access and get food while they are still fresh and healthy.

Why Does a Food Desert Exist?

Food desert areas exist because many rural areas lack food sellers. They also lack a sufficient supply of fresh, healthy, affordable produce.

We need resources and strategies to successfully boost access to sustainable fresh fruits and vegetables in rural areas of Wichita.

But the good thing is that the city council passes an initiative to improve food access. Though the city council approved a master food plan back in January, they are still taking steps to reach the plan’s goals.

They are still identifying the need and providing the food, which McClish says Common Ground is already doing.

Wichita City Council approves $1M for healthy food access.

They have the money, but they are not giving it to anyone. On Tuesday, the Wichita City Council approved $1M for healthy food access.

The $1M of the federal money will be used to launch a new program to increase access to fresh produce in the food desert areas of Wichita.

And the program has been used in other cities to convince stores and other businesses like them to enable them to sell fresh, healthy foods.

We need to serve the community and solve the food shortage. But we don’t have the money to enable us to grow and produce sustainable food.

We also need to buy fridges, freezers or other equipment required to deliver things like fruits and vegetables while they are still fresh.

If we can get the resources, we can produce sufficient food and supply for our people.

Common Ground’s Strategy for Improving Access to Health Foods for Families in Wichita

According to Donna McClish, Common Ground uses a few strategies to improve access to fresh, healthy, and affordable produce.

1. Farmers Market

Farmers market should be established in rural areas to help small local farmers get money. This will enable local farmers to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for local residents.

Establishing a farmer’s market in rural areas can be challenging because of large geographic distances and the small number of potential buyers or customers.

Despite the challenges, Dr. Donna McClish, the CEO of Common Ground Producers and Growers Mobile Market, said, “we have been putting food on people’s tables since 2014”.

Common Ground Producers and Growers Mobile Market is a mobile farmer’s market that delivers fresh, healthy produce closer to people in rural areas of Wichita.

And we have the workforce to grow, produce and deliver fresh, healthy produce to the desert areas of Wichita.

2. Senior Centers and Programs

We increased senior spending power by 218 % through senior programs.

Common Ground - Senior Voucher Program

3. Local Food Pantries

With the help of churches that have food pantries, such as meals for kids, we delivered and brought fresh and healthy produce to families in need of food in desert areas.

Food pantries and other direct food assistance can bring nutritious food to low-income individuals in rural areas.

Mobile food pantry trucks or vans can be a perfect option in places without food stores.

For example, McClish said, “We need the resources to ramp up. We need like 3 or 4 more delivery trucks and vans.” This will enable us to deliver fresh produce to rural communities easily.

4. Community Training Programs

The community needs training and education to improve access to fresh produce. They have to be trained in growing and producing sustainable food in desert areas.

Common Ground also trains individuals, supermarkets, and groceries owners on how to produce and take care of the food.

The training also educates low-income families and individuals living in rural areas on the best approaches to help with social services and home economics, like cooking from scratch and shopping wisely.

Common Ground Producers and Growers are also offering peer education in those areas.

Additionally, we partner with community organizations and use community gardens to grow and produce food. In return, we teach people how to grow their own food.

5. Community Supported Agriculture Programs

In community-supported agriculture programs, locals can commit to buying from local farmers at the beginning of the year.
The farmers can use part of the cash to operate their farms and deliver fresh produce.

This is what we have been doing. We produce and sell fresh fruits and vegetables to the local community at a reduced price.

And at Common Ground Farmers Market, we use part of the cash to reinvest in the community.

In this case, this program helps farmers and consumers share the risks and benefits of local farming.

6. Donations

Common Ground Inc. accepts food, gift, and monetary donations from individuals, churches, well-wishers, and organizations.

These donations have helped us to reach and deliver food to the most vulnerable in society.

Farmers need funds to deliver fresh produce to the families in desert areas of the city. And because the Wichita City Council approved the funds, the funds should be used to fund farmers and food sellers.

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