Small shifts in spending habits can have big results on a community’s economy.
So said Live Local Bourbon County member and spokesman Bryan Holt to attendees of Thursday evening’s Buy and Eat/Meet and Greet public meeting at Memorial Hall.
The event was sponsored by Blue Cross/ Blue Shield Pathways to Healthy Kansas.
“A 10 percent shift in spending at local restaurants would mean an additional $400,000 plus to our local economy on an annual basis,” Holt said. “If I spend $200 eating out every month and say I took $20 of that and moved it from Taco Bell to Papa Don’s or Sharkey’s or LaHacienda that’s going to make a big impact in our economy.”
“When you do business locally…it also helps to strengthen the social fabric of our community,” Holt said.
An example Holt gave was Norris Heating and Air Conditioning.
“They are in their third generation of local ownership,” Holt said. “Every year they do a very large donation to The Sharing Bucket, a locally owned business who is supporting cancer (survivors).”
Making purposeful efforts will stimulate our economy and its social fabric, Holt said.
Nat Bjerke-Harvey, a first generation young farmer was another guest speaker at the meet and greet.
Harvey started an approximately one-acre farm outside Manhattan five years ago with his wife and has started a wholesale business working with local retailers and restaurants off of his farm, he said.
“After two to three years of production, we decided we were going to add another farmers market or diversify into a (selling produce to a) restaurant (business), Harvey said.
They chose the restaurant route and worked out a plan.
Each week Harvey sends out emails to restaurants telling them of the food products that are available from his farm.
Harvey then takes orders from the restaurants on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday he harvests the produce and delivers it on Thursdays. On Fridays, he harvests for the Downtown Manhattan Farmers Market.
“I think there is a great opportunity in Kansas for growing synergy (collaboration)between farmers and restaurants,” he said.
Demand for local food and food safety and liability issues were part of a panel discussion involving Harvey, Kathy McEwan, Krista Harding and Ann Stark.
“There is a trend towards people who want to know who is growing their food and food that provides the most nutrient load,” McEwan, a K-State Extension Family, and Consumer Science Agent said.
Krista Harding, K-State Extension Horticulture Agent said: “It’s our responsibility to grow food safely.”
To have a plan for the safety of food produced locally, Harding recommended Food Safety Training classes in Olathe May 17 and May 23 which are $20 per person.
The 2015 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) will have an impact on food production in the near future, McEwan said.
To learn more about FSMA: https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/
If a food producer makes $25,000 or less on his produce per year there is an exemption in FSMA, McEwan said.
Stark, a local insurance agent recommended talking to one’s property insurance agent to add an incidental insurance policy “so you can be covered correctly.”
“The cost will vary, some are based on gross receipts,” Stark said.
David Goodyear, representing Pathways AgPath, was presented a check for $20,000, for purchasing equipment to help at-risk individuals in the community to produce food together.
“Each year we have a community project,”Hoener said. “This year our focus is on healthy food. The Pathway AgPath (Goodyear is a coordinator for) was a perfect fit with our focus to promote locally produced food in the community. There is a natural connection between it and Common Ground, but David is also seeking out connections with G&W food and the Beacon.”
The names are confusing because the giver of the grant is Pathways to a Healthy Kansas and the recipient is PathwayAgPath, a piece of a local ministry of Pathway.
Pathway is a ministry of the Fort Scott Church of the Nazarene with a board that is multi-denominational and collaborates with Next Steps, a program to combat cycles of poverty in Fort Scott.
A future feature will tell the story behind this ministry and what they are doing in the community.