Kelly Perry: Kansas State Food Fellow Offers Free Workshop For Local Food Sellers

Kelly Perry. Sumbitted photo.

Kelly Perry answered a job ad from the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team posting in October, 2023 for a local food fellow position.

“I was so excited and quickly applied and in January was interviewed by Amanda Lindahl, Local Food System Program Coordinator with Kansas State, and Rachel Carpenter with HBCAT,” she said. ” I love food, small business, and local so this was right up my alley.  The duties were pretty vast for an 18-week program that is brand new across the state…and I landed this awesome opportunity!”
“As part of my job duties, I am required to hold an educational workshop,” she said. “I wanted to focus on food labeling at the farmers market. I know our local Fort Scott Farmers Market is growing like crazy, pun intended. I figured it would be a great topic for people to learn what the state requires at pop-up shops, festivals, bake sales, and farmers’ markets. I also wanted to cover the proper food licenses required by the state.”
“The main reason for this is that I receive about three calls, texts, or messages a week asking food-related questions from everyday people who own, run, or are thinking of starting a business full-time, part-time, or occasionally,” she said.
Kelly and her husband Thadeus Perry own Perry’s Pork Rinds and Country Store in Bronson.

“People know me and know I’m willing to help if I can,” she said. “Sometimes people get intimidated or scared of the inspectors or do not know who to contact to ask the questions so that leads them to me. I, for one, have had to attend countless seminars, online Zoom meetings, and hours of reading to learn about my family’s business Perry’s Pork Rinds, and our food laws and regulations.”

“I remember having the state Inspector show up at our front door needing to look over our home-based business back in 2018,” Perry said. “I remember the federal meat inspector showing up as well, due to the product we make being a meat product. I cried each time someone would flash their badge at the front door and I’d panic. After years of visits, and our yearly renewal inspections I came to realize food inspection, safety, and visits were not intimidating or anything to be scared of.”
“They had a job to do and if we were doing something wrong they would answer questions and tell us what to do to fix it and be in compliance,” she said. ” It’s in the state’s best interest to HAVE business in operation and to generate revenue. They want the businesses but they also have standards and regulations to help keep us all safe, both the consumer as well as the producer.”
“I figured a food license discussion would help so many who were just unsure, curious or didn’t know where to start,” she said.
The workshop is FREE to anyone from any part of the state, from 6-8 p.m. at the HBCAT offices, 104 N. National Avenue on Monday, April 15.
“We ask that you register so we can make sure to have enough handouts and packets created,” she said.
“We are so fortunate to have From the Land of Kansas’s very own Robyn Dolby attend and present a slide show and answer questions,” Perry said. “We will also have the K-State Local Food System Program Coordinator Amanda Lindahl coming to discuss the Local Food Fellow Program as well.”
Robin Dolby, From the Land of Kansas Marketing Coordinator, Kansas Dept. of Agriculture. Submitted photo.
Amanda Lindahl from her LinkedIn page.
“My goal with this Local Food Fellow position and HBCAT goal is to provide knowledge, access to resources, and networking,” she said. “We can then grow as producers, growers, suppliers, and a community! HBCAT always has the saying  Stronger Together and it is just that simple.”
 A description for the position she accepted is
– Update the Bourbon County Wholesale Food Directory
– Create a storytelling campaign on food-related business.
– Organize an Educational Workshop in Bourbon County.
– Complete the final report to be submitted to the K-State Research and Extension Local Food Systems Program Coordinator

One thought on “Kelly Perry: Kansas State Food Fellow Offers Free Workshop For Local Food Sellers”

  1. It would be great if this was also ZOOM and/or Livestream. 6pmin the evening in Ft Scott is late for other travelers to get to in Kansas.

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