TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – On Wednesday, Governor Laura Kelly and the Kansas Department of Agriculture announced that the COVID Relief Fund supported nearly $12 million of grants to help secure local food systems. This is part of the discretionary CARES Act funding allocated to Kansas.
The program, administered by the Kansas Department of Agriculture and initially supported by the Kansas Department of Commerce, focused on providing grants to Kansas-owned food-related businesses to increase capacity, including expansion of facilities, new equipment and technology to improve business resilience, and support to ensure worker safety and social distancing guidelines.
There were 257 grantees across 80 counties. Types of businesses that received grants included slaughter and other food processing facilities, direct-to-consumer food businesses, grocery stores, farmer’s markets, food pantries, and more.
As a result of this grant, the Journey Bible Church in Johnson County was able to upgrade its kitchen to commercial-grade status to reach the increased needs in their community. The grant also helped Hillside Honey in Eaton. Hillside Honey was able to expand its production footprint and convert an old football field into garden acreage for year-round production. Cedar Vale Locker and Alta Vista Locker, both meat processors, were able to add employees to increase processing capacity.