NASAA Notes: June 2022

June 7, 2022

Kansas: Ethnic Markets Initiative: People's Markets Program

A poster with yellow background that reads People's Markets ProgramThe Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission (KCAIC) is partnering with Lawrence County’s ethnic food retailers to create the People’s Markets Program. This multipartner initiative is informed by the Ethnic Food Retail Study prepared by the KU Center for Community Health & Development in 2019 for the Douglas County Food Policy Council. The study was conducted to explore opportunities and barriers to healthy food offerings in culturally specific retail stores in Douglas County. The study found that these retailers offered significant health benefits through their provision of culturally significant foods and the accompanying sense of community inclusion and belonging.

The pilot program, comprised of public art, an ethnic retail store convening, networking opportunities and cooking demonstrations, aims to support equitable food systems through culture sharing and the arts. Participating culture-specific food retailers in Lawrence will be paired with local artists of similar cultural backgrounds to create public artworks at each retailer location. KCAIC and Kansas Healthy Food Initiative will fund and facilitate these works of art, which may include mediums such as mural, vinyl installation and sculpture. The marketing for this specific effort will be strategized by the KU Small Business Development Center to highlight these retailers. The works of art will be installed in summer and fall 2022. KCAIC hopes to eventually replicate this effort across the state.

This program also will highlight diverse culinary arts through prerecorded cooking demonstrations using ingredients found at these retailers. With the support of the Kansas Healthy Food Initiative, retail owners will be provided with economic development training and marketing assistance to further build toward food systems equity. The Lawrence-Douglas County Sustainability Office will provide technical support and convening space for this project. For more information, contact KCAIC.

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