WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The upcoming closing of a Save A Lot in northeast Wichita has brought attention to the issue of food deserts in Wichita. 

A Food System Master Plan, which launched in 2019, is now in its final stages. The goal of the plan is to lay out the community’s vision for growth in the food system. 

“I know that the Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita and the food policy committee’s hope would be that both entities, the city and the county, would pass the master plan, and then work towards a publicly appointed food policy council,” said Becky Tuttle, District II council member.

A food policy council would allow Wichita’s community to share their thoughts and opinions about the Food System Master Plan. The plan can ‘increase access to healthy, nutritious foods for all.’ 

One of the ways it can do that, specifically for those in the food desert in northeast Wichita, is through transportation. 

“We can look at a transit system, and is there a way that we can help people get to other sources of food, we can look at bikes, bicycling and walking options for people to have safe and reliable forms of transportation,” said Tuttle. 

According to a report from the Health and Wellness Coalition of Wichita, food in Wichita consists of over a one billion dollar industry, and only a small portion of that is sourced locally. 

“I think it’s .4% for vegetables .2% for fruit, and it goes down further when you get into meat and poultry and eggs,” said Tuttle. “And so, if we could get a goal of just 5% of the food that is consumed in Wichita, to be grown and sourced locally, that’s $80 million a year.”

The potential amount of money that could be made from food that is grown and sourced locally would be circulated back into our local economy.