The ICT Food Circle was created to engage our community in a locally-sourced food system. It’s about improving health, community action, and boosting Wichita’s local economy with FOOD purchasing power.

From what we’ve seen, there is a great demand for food grown and made with our very own local flavor. Because our circle has grown so much since January, we decided to launch some volunteer surveys to gain more insights on how we can best engage YOU and our community in buying local.

What are these SURVEYS all about?

Starting with a farmer community survey, our goal is to better understand the needs of community food producers. The big question we’re looking to answer is: What can the ICT Food Circle and community do to improve access to and availability of farmer produce?

We’ve got a lot of ideas coming through our network already. Ideas like “farm-and-art” tours to get the community excited about local food. Or, winter farmers markets and more evening farmers markets to encourage year-long commitment and to accommodate people who want the farmers market experience any day or time. We’re hoping insights from our surveys will help inform and justify where we can prioritize our efforts (and funding!) in the ICT Food Circle organization.

What do we know?

lettuce_2016It’s a little too early to make any substantial claims yet, but we have made some interesting observations already in the last 6 months of the ICT Food Circle’s operation:

  • Farmers want to improve/expand engagement with consumers via events and more markets – and consumers want it, too!
  • Consumers don’t just want local food – they want healthy, natural food.
  • There is growing concern for “food deserts” in Wichita and surrounding communities, where it may be more difficult to access affordable/local/healthy food.
  • Our circle is showing a lot of support for a market for Wichita – a locally-sourced marketplace available to consumers beyond the traditional Saturday morning time-frame.

How can you help?

Our online social networks show that we are growing a flock of people interested in the IDEA of eating local – and our numbers are growing every week. We’re excited to celebrate these interests and show appreciation for our farmers. The first thing you can do is mark your calendar for our upcoming Farmer Festival in October. This will be Wichita’s chance to truly celebrate those farmers that make up our “food circle.” In the meantime, here is what we recommend:

  • We'll need a team of volunteers for the Farmers Festival. Click this photo to let us know you're interested.

    We’ll need a team of volunteers for the Farmers Festival. Click this photo to let us know you’re interested.

    Participate in a short survey – If you haven’t participated in any of our current on-going surveys, please consider it. Currently focusing on different perspectives, please choose a survey that best describes you: Consumer, Farmer, or Restaurant. Surveys will be available throughout 2016. Our team will review those and make those a part of our planning for 2017.

  • Visit a farmer – many of our directory partners welcome visitors and even have farm stand on site. Looking for something in particular? Find the product in the directory and contact the farm for more information.
  • Invest in LOCAL – Start small, if you must. Choose 1 or 2 food products (like eggs, grass-fed beef, or honey) that you can purchase from any of our directory farmers and commit to a local source for that product.

With over 100 food producers recorded in our online food directory, Wichita-area consumers should be comfortable knowing that they could begin to – at a minimum – supplement their groceries with locally-grown food products. When we can show our growers that there is a market demand for good local food, they’ll have something to work towards!