WICHITA, Kan. – Twenty-two projects from 16 Kansas counties were approved during the first three years of the Kansas Health Foundation’s Kansas Healthy Food Initiative (KHFI). These projects equate to 85,666 square feet of expanded or renovated food retail space, the creation or retention of approximately 196 local jobs (reported by funded projects) and 95,427 Kansas residents served.
The 22 projects have been approved to receive a total $2.5 million in KHFI financing (or $1.9 million in loans, $527,825 in project grants and $78,785 in technical assistance grants). This financing is part of a larger $8.4 million KHF funded KHFI program launched in late 2017 with plans to continue financing additional projects through 2023.
KHFI is a loan/grant funding initiative for grocery improvements, farmers’ markets, food distribution or other innovative projects to support increased access to nutritious food. KHFI is a partnership between Kansas State University’s Center for Engagement and Community Development, NetWork Kansas, The Food Trust and IFF.
An additional $13.35 million has been leveraged in other financing for the initial 22 projects (such as owner equity, bank loans, NetWork Kansas loans and funding from the United States Department of Agriculture). So far, for every $1 KHFI invests, it produces another $1.11 in economic impact for the Kansas economy.
By region, approved KHFI projects (from Jan. 2018 through Sept. 2020) include:
- Peabody, Marion County: A $331,100 loan is being used by the Peabody Market to purchase an existing store in Peabody and a $50,000 grant will assist with any budget shortfalls (Funded May 2019).
- Blue Rapids, Marshall County: A $60,000 grant was approved to help Marshall County Partnership 4 Growth open Riverside Market, a new grocery store, after the city’s grocery store closed. In addition to the grant being used for startup costs, a $10,000 technical assistance grant was used to hire a business consultant (Funded Oct. 2019).
- Kansas City, Kansas, Wyandotte County – KCK Greenmarket received a $5,000 grant to pay for business and communications development, and equipment for the existing farmers’ market that serves three locations within the county (Funded Sept. 2018).
- Kansas City, Kansas, Wyandotte County: Merc Co-op used a $50,000 grant to hire a community outreach coordinator for one year to bring community awareness to the new store before it opened (Funded Aug. 2019).
- Topeka, Shawnee County – El Torito (a new grocery store which provides ethnic food for a Hispanic market) used a $52,000 grant and $455,000 loan to cover the cost of initial store inventory to open the store (Funded Oct. 2018).
- Wathena, Doniphan County – A $4,500 technical assistance grant was used by Wathena Market to complete a market study of the store (Funded Feb. 2020).
- Bird City, Cheyenne County – High Plains Food Co-op, a food hub in northwest Kansas, received a $995 technical assistance grant to complete a market study before expanding a warehouse facility(Funded July 2018).
- Grinnell, Gove County – Grinnell Hometown Grocery, a community-owned grocery store, used its $10,000 grant to purchase new freezers and a cooler for fresh produce to reduce energy costs through greater efficiency (Funded Feb. 2018). The store has since closed.
- Lucas, Russell County – Home Oil, a local convenience store, is using a $25,000 grant for building expansion and equipment upgrades to increase the amount of fresh, healthy food (including produce and fresh meat) in the store (Funded March 2018).
- Francis, Cheyenne County – Sainty Super Foods used a $15,000 grant for expansion of its fresh produce section and replacing or adding fresh food cooling equipment (Funded Dec. 2018).
- Hutchinson, Reno County – Tecklenburg Farms was given a $15,000 grant on its 6-acre urban farm to help build a 1,520-square-foot post-harvest handling and distribution building to move produce to local grocery outlets (Funded March 2019).
- Leon, Butler County – Bluestem Mercantile, a local grocery store operated by the Bluestem school district, will use a $15,300 loan to purchase equipment, shelving and inventory and a $16,000 grant to repair the building’s roof. The store, which opened in March 2020, is operated by Bluestem students who offer food from local producers and meat raised on the school farm (Funded Jan. 2020).
- Caney, Montgomery County – A $1,195 technical assistance grant was given to the City of Caney to complete a market study of a proposed city-owned grocery store to serve the area (Funded Feb. 2019).
- Humboldt, Allen County – Willard’s Inc, dba Moon’s Market, received a $30,000 grant to increase inventory, add to operating capital and to possibly add a deli (Funded July 2018). The store has since closed.
- Humboldt, Allen County – Welch’s Market plans to repurpose the existing vacant Moon’s Market grocery store to house a meat processing facility and full-service grocery store. It will use a $300,000 loan for equipment and construction. It also received a $20,000 technical assistance grant (Funded July 2020).
- McCune, Crawford County (2 rounds of KHFI financing) – In Aug. 2018, McCune Farm to Market received a $12,000 grant and a $6,000 loan to add a three-door freezer unit to store healthy take-and-bake items. In June 2020, the store received an additional loan of $11,475 and $2,025 grant to purchase additional coolers to expand its read-to-eat meals and its meat section in the midst of COVID-19.
- Moran, Allen County (2 rounds of KHFI financing) – In April 2018, Marmaton Market received a $168,200 loan and $50,000 grant to renovate the existing store, complete a project market study and for working capital. In Dec. 2019, the store received an additional $5,000 grant and $38,600 technical assistance grant to help the store reset and to cover operating costs through the end of 2019.
- Moran, Allen County – The Mildred Store used a $13,300 grant and $6,700 loan for energy-efficient equipment upgrades. Outdated coolers were being replaced to allow the store to carry more produce and reduce energy costs (Funded March 2018).
- Pittsburg, Crawford County – Leafy Green Farms will use a $15,000 grant toward self-service locker systems to use on its new urban hydroponic farm in Pittsburg. The farm will produce lettuce and herbs sold directly to consumers on the farm, at grocery stores and restaurants (Funded Sept. 2020).
- Plains, Meade County – The Community Enhancement Foundation of Plains plans to open a nonprofit grocery store in Plains and will use its $630,450 loan and $30,000 grant for store equipment (Funded Aug. 2020).
- Protection, Comanche County – Protection Community Venture, a local grocery store, utilized a $7,500 grant for cooler equipment upgrades (Funded Dec. 2018).
- John, Stafford County – A $75,000 challenge grant was awarded to Stafford County Economic Development for the creation of the Stafford County Marketplace, which offers a grocery store, pharmacy and gas station. Funds were used for new construction, equipment and fixtures (Funded Feb. 2018).
KHFI is made possible due to a partnership between Kansas State University’s Center for Engagement and Community Development, the food access organization implementing the KHFI, NetWork Kansas, a statewide network of non-profit business-building resources, The Food Trust, a national organization focused on food retail for underserved populations and IFF, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution.
KHFI financing continues to be available for entities looking to sustain or create food access points in areas of great need. Loans and grants must meet eligibility requirements. To learn more, visit the KHFI website.
Note: This release has been updated to reflect newly funded projects. The initial release was published April 15, 2019 highlighting the first 12 projects in 10 counties.