Everybody deserves good food.
Kanbe’s Markets is a nonprofit organization that seeks to serve, and ultimately eliminate, the food deserts in Kansas City. In 2018, after several years of successful model development, we implemented our first program, the Healthy Corner Store. This program provides daily fruit and vegetable delivery, currently providing over 20,000 pounds of produce to these stores every month.
In order to make the greatest impact on our community, Kanbe’s Markets aims to bring change to four issues that plague our food system.
Access –– Consistent access to fresh, healthy and affordable food is paramount to solving the issues that generations of systemic disenfranchisement have developed.
Food Waste –– Currently in the U.S., billions of tons of food is wasted every year. Yet millions go to bed hungry every night.
Local Production — Large distribution and commitment to sustainability can offer stability to the small neighborhood grower.
Nutrition Education — Distribution of educational materials and hosting demonstrations is a fun way to bring people together around healthy eating.
Our Primary Focus
Food deserts are a major issue in the state of Missouri, and Kansas City is no exception. In neighborhoods across the city, local convenience stores act as grocers to those without reliable transportation to a traditional grocery store. Historically, these types of stores have not been able to provide fresh fruits and vegetables, leaving thousands without access to healthier foods.
In Missouri, anyone living more than 1 mile (urban) or 10 miles (rural) from a supermarket or large grocery retailer lives in a food desert.
This is a large task but we are committed to putting in the work that needs to be done. We’ve started by building collaborative relationships with local corner/convenience stores to get fresh produce to customers who would otherwise not have access to it. With these stores existing in almost every neighborhood in the city, they’ve provided Kanbe’s Markets with instant access to those residing without a grocery store in reach.
Produce The Produce
Knowing so many are without fresh produce, we knew we could use our daily delivery model to tackle the food waste in the U.S.
Typical grocers keep food for longer periods of time and set higher standards for the produce they are waiting to sell. This doesn’t mean the produce they turn away is bad but it might not keep for as long as their business model requires. Kanbe’s Markets delivers new batches of fresh produce to stores every day, [putting food on dinner tables that night.
This allows us to offer large and local wholesalers a more economical way to distribute their food. C&C Produce, a local wholesaler, donates thousands of pounds of food per week that would otherwise go to waste. Additionally, we work with urban farmers, like Nile Valley Aquaponics and Manheim Community Garden, to buy produce whenever it’s available.
Our Recycling and Food Composting program ensures every item Kanbe’s Markets takes in is put to good use. Each week, we sort through multiple tons of produce, organizing what’s ready to be sold. Everything that isn’t is taken to local farmers for compost, and all food packaging materials are recycled, allowing us to remain completely sustainable.
The nutrients from compost can provide major benefits to local farmers. It allows them to fertilize and rejuvenate their land to grow produce in naturally-enriched soil that we can, in return, sell through Kanbe’s Markets.
The Family Meal
The legacy of a shared meal is well-deserved recognition. Food brings people and families together and can create lasting memories. As we grow, Kanbe’s Markets will offer cooking demonstrations in our partner stores to inspire and teach customers to cook with healthy, nutritious foods on a regular basis.