Call for Presentations

National Rural Grocery Summit VI

Strengthening Community; Strengthening Health:  The Rural Grocery Store

June 25-26, 2018

Hilton Garden Inn, Manhattan, Kansas

About the Summit

Millions of rural residents now face limited choice and low quality in their retail food choices. Eight percent of the U.S. rural population – approximately 4.75 million people – live in communities lacking access to healthy foods.  Significant research indicates a strong relationship between those citizens living in food deserts and chronic, diet-related disease.  Obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease are all associated with a lack of access to healthy foods.

An important source of healthy rural food access is the local grocery store.  They are a vital source for nutrition and health, providing a supply of fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and protein.  In fact, the presence of grocery stores in rural areas has been shown to correlate with lower rates of obesity and nutritionally-related disease.  Unfortunately, these rural businesses struggle and it seems every day we hear about another store closing shop and shutting their doors.

Because the loss of a rural grocery store threatens the health of local citizens and the very existence of that community, Kansas State University and a broad range of partners are working to assist rural communities and their grocery stores.  Toward that goal, we are proud to announce that on June 25-26, 2018 we will host the Sixth National Rural Grocery Summit at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan, Kansas.  At the Sixth National Rural Grocery Summit we will bring together store owners, citizen leaders, food suppliers, academic researchers, policy makers, and funders to talk with one another about how best to sustain this critical piece of community infrastructure and improve the health of our rural citizens.

Over 200 participants attended our last rural grocery summit and we are expecting a larger meeting this year.   We are writing to invite you and/or your organization to consider presenting your work at this important conference.




Project presentations, posters, case studies, original research and/or abstracts, should be broadly related to rural grocery development and/or sustainability: Presentation at the National Rural Grocery Summit VI may take the form of:

  1. Poster: Conference attendees may present and solicit feedback on their existing and emerging projects by displaying a poster at a session dedicated to that format. Posters typically mix a brief narrative description with photographs, organizational or historical charts, maps, video, or other modes of presentation.
  2. Panel Presentation: Designed to generate discussion around a shared topic, issue, or action, panel presentations begin with short statements (10-15 minutes) by presenters followed by question and answer opportunities. These sessions seek discussion and feedback. Panel presentations involve participants from different institutions, centers, and organizations and seek to provide a variety of ideas on a particular topic area.  Panelists may be organized by attendees’ suggestions or by summit organizers.

Key presentation topic areas may include, but are not limited to:

1. food deserts

2. food access

3. food insecurity

4. rural grocery best practices, including but not limited to:

a. customer service

b. operating costs

c. competition with “big box chain” grocery stores

d. meeting minimum buying requirements

e. dealing with labor issues (a lack of labor and/or quality of labor)

f. dealing with a lack of community support

g. increasing sales volume

h. rural shopping patterns, and/or

i. marketing grocery stores

5. models of grocery store ownership

6. food distribution systems

7. grocery stores as civic and cultural spaces:

a. community meeting spaces

b. educational centers, and/or

c. culture centers

8. food hubs

9. financing store operations

10. policy options to promote and sustain grocery operations.

Dates to Remember


More Information

For more information on the National Rural Grocery Summit VI or the Rural Grocery Initiative (RGI) please visit our website. Or contact us at: 785-532-6868