Across the United States, 42.2 million Americans experience food insecurity — including 13.1 million children.
15.2% of Missouri households were found by the USDA to be food insecure. In Kansas City’s Jackson County alone, 19% of residents experienced this insecurity as did 20% of those under the age of 18.
Without proper access to fresh, healthy foods, people living in these “food deserts” rely instead on convenience stores and fast-food to feed their families. Though it may seem that nutritious lifestyles are out of their financial reach, the price of salty, sugary, and processed food is much higher: 1 in 5 Americans dies from a poor quality and unbalanced diet.
Kanbe's Markets seeks to bring the smells, tastes, and joys of healthy meals to these communities.
Luckily, the desire for real food and the infrastructure to provide it already exist. While the construction of one supermarket might take years and cost millions of dollars, neighborhood convenience stores already play trusted roles in the routines of these communities. By helping local businesses purchase and stock fresh produce, we place these foods within physical and financial reach for affected families. Then, through community outreach, we engage, educate, and empower residents to lead healthy lifestyles — both nutritious and civic.
Often, stocking and selling fresh produce is difficult at a small scale. We make things easy by connecting a network of small businesses with wholesalers while also delivering and stocking the foods. This way, we keep costs low for both the shopkeeper and the customer.
Live Cooking Demonstrations
Preparing delicious, healthy, and affordable meals doesn't need to be a time-consuming ordeal. In collaboration with local chefs and nutritionists, we dream up easy, tasty recipes made with the foods we provide — and then share the joy of cooking them.
Advocacy and mobilization
Our mission does not stop at the plate — it begins there. Coming together over a freshly-cooked meal is the perfect opportunity to learn from, engage with, and mobilize citizens of all walks of life. When collaboration is fostered in the community, it creates a new sense of possibility — limited only by the imaginations of empowered, healthy minds.
"Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious."
Ruth Reichl | Chef, Food Writer, and Advocate
Our Past, Present, and Future
Kanbe's Markets began making deliveries of fresh produce to the Ivanhoe neighborhood in 2016 — a predominantly low-income African American neighborhood on the east side of Kansas City. Partnering with C & C Produce, we were able to deliver over 2,500 pounds of fresh produce to The Cakery Bread and Bakery Outlet in just a couple months. In this collaboration, we bolstered sales at The Cakery by 20%.
Eight additional store partnerships are planned for the coming year, all of them serving the food deserts of the east side. New relationships are being established with wholesalers, supermarkets, and local farming alliances to meet the needs of these partners. We are also excited for our education and outreach collaborations with various area community leaders, hospitals, schools, and non-profits.
We are funded through the grants of health organizations and generous contributions from individual donors. Even the smallest donation makes a difference!