September 3, 2019
Improving Healthy Food Access Among Kansas Tribes
KSRE professionals presented the K-State Research and Extension Food and Gardening Program on August 20, at the Kansas Tribal Health Summit. Dr. Charles Barden, Extension Specialist in the Horticulture and Natural Resources Department; Conner Nickerson, graduate student of Dr. Barden; and Tandy Rundus, Northeast Region SNAP-Ed specialist; informed conference participants on the progress of the Kansas Tribal Food Systems Project and on how to plant fall garden crops. KSRE has partnered with the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, and the Sac and Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas and Nebraska playing major roles to improve healthy food access.
Community and backyard gardens in these locations have been assisted by Dr. Barden's expertise and supported by local KSRE staff including Matt Young, Brown County Ag and Natural Resources Extension Agent; and David Hallauer, Meadowlark Extension District Agent; starting 8 years ago. Tandy Rundus has been working with the Kansas Tribal Health Summit committee and its partners to develop the Tribal Food System pilot project with the goal to increase access to culturally tailored nutrition education, healthy food choices, and ultimately the development of a Kansas tribal food system plan.
This Kansas Tribal Health Summit aimed to convene Kansas Tribes and partners who supported tribal health and wellness issues. One of the wellness issues this year was food, specifically on how to develop efficient and effective food preparation and eating methods as native ancestors did, access to tribal food and nutrition information, and review traditional gardening techniques. Other conference attendees included KSRE SNAP-Ed and EFNEP staff.