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

Submitting a Proposal

Please submit your papers or abstract proposals via email by February 1, 2018. Submission should be electronically to: with the subject line “Rural Grocery Summit Proposal.”


About the Summit

Millions of rural residents now face limited choice and low quality in their retail food options.  Significant research indicates a strong relationship between lack of access to healthy food 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 nutrition-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.

In an effort to address the growing crisis regarding rural food access and rural community sustainability, Kansas State University and the Center for Engagement and Community Development are pleased to host Rural Grocery Summit VI.  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 Rural Grocery Summit VI may take the form of:

  1. Paper Presentation Proposal: Designed to highlight a particular strategy, research project, and/or resource around a shared topic, issue, or action.  The paper presentation should be presented with content and in a manner that generates interest and discussion.  Paper presenters will be organized by issue or topic area and will involve participants from different institutions, centers, and organizations and will provide a variety of ideas on a particular topic area.  Presenters should plan on 10-15 minutes of oral presentation, followed by Q&A. For more information and instructions how to submit a paper presentation, please review the Paper Requirements.
  2. Panel Presentation: Designed to propose an entire panel session.  The format is identical as described above in the paper presentation, except that your submission should identify the topic to be discussed and identify the other panelists who will participate.  Your panel proposal must include commitments from the other panel speakers. Panel presentations begin with short statements (10-15 minutes) by each paper presenter, followed by question and answer opportunities from the audience.
  3. Poster Proposal: 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.  Poster presentations may be research posters (empirical research), community action research, participatory research, or a poster that highlights a theoretical/philosophical perspective.  Additionally, posters may be practitioner outreach posters highlighting innovative ideas and practices, programmatic successes and/or reflections. For more information and instructions how to submit a poster, please review the Poster Requirements.

Key presentation/panel 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:
    • customer service
    • operating costs
    • competition with “big box chain” grocery stores
    • meeting minimum buying requirements
    • dealing with labor issues (a lack of labor and/or quality of labor)
    • dealing with a lack of community support
    • increasing sales volume
    • rural shopping patterns
    • marketing grocery stores
  5. Models of grocery store ownership
  6. Food distribution systems
  7. Grocery stores as civic and cultural spaces
    • community meeting spaces
    • educational centers
    • culture centers
  8. Food hubs
  9. Financing store operations
  10. Policy options to strengthen healthy food access

Dates to Remember


More Information

For more information on the Rural Grocery Summit VI or the Rural Grocery Initiative (RGI) please visit our website at or contact us at:

Center for Engagement and Community Development
324 Nichols Hall
702 Mid-Campus Drive South
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506-2300
Phone: 785-532-6868
Fax: 785-532-6808