WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way some Kansans are buying their food. This past spring, with meat shelves in grocery stores across the state space, one Kansas man created an easier way for shippers to get their food directly from the source. With the pandemic causing a broken supply chain and empty store shelves, Rick McNary had an idea to help.
“So I hopped on and started a Facebook page, “Shop Kansas Farms,” McNary said.
It’s a way to connect consumers with the producers in their area so they can buy directly from the source.
“The beautiful thing for me was that the public started learning who their farmers and ranchers really were,” McNary said.
Within the first week, more than 4,500 people joined the Facebook group. McNary kept watching it grow. While not a farmer himself, McNary successfully found a way to connect thousands of people across the state with a common theme: food. That expansion continues with the launch of the “Shop Kansas Farms” website.
The website includes a map so that consumers can more easily find the products they’re looking for in their region. It also educates shoppers on where their food comes from and helps them to build relationships with producers.
In line with the response after the Facebook page launched, the website is successful, especially for producers like Katie Carothers in Anthony.
“Being able to feed out our home-grown beef at our house and sell it directly to consumers, and skip the middle man, skip the packers, has been an amazing thing for me and my husband to experience,” Carothers said.
McNary said there are reports that some have increased their revenues by more than 500 percent, creating a new market for Kansas farmers and ranchers and a new educational opportunity for consumers.
McNary said the next goal is to create a way for producers to sell their products directly on the website.
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