April 17, 2015                                                                                                                   Newsblast Vol. 5 No. 5
In This Issue
ICDD Associate Spotlight: Carol Barta  & Thea Nietfeld
K-State's RGI Working to Increase Healthful Food Options in Rural Grocery Stores
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Center for Engagement and Community Development

Project 17 Rural Business Enterprise Grant


Kansas State University's Center for Engagement and Community Development (CECD) was awarded a grant in 2014 from the USDA Rural Development. This rural business enterprise grant supports Project 17, a rural regional development initiative, which seeks to improve the economic opportunities and quality of life of those who live and work in 17 Southeast Kansas counties. The counties include Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Coffey, Crawford, Elk, Franklin, Greenwood, Labette, Linn, Miami, Montgomery, Neosho, Wilson, and Woodson. Read more

I nstitute for Civic Discourse and Democracy

Associate Spotlight


Carol Barta

-Current Position: Carol Barta is currently the assistant director of the North Central Kansas Libraries system. 

-First became involved with ICDD: Barta first became involved with ICDD when Donna Schenck-Hamlin (K-State Undergraduate and Community Services librarian and ICDD Associate) told her about an ICDD training.

"It sounded useful for my job. I invited several of my library colleagues to come along," said Barta.  Read more

Thea Nietfeld
-Current Position: Unitarian Universalist minister serving small fellowships in Salina and Hutchinson.

-Role as an ICDD Member: Nietfeld served on ICDD's advisory board and enjoyed seeing the bigger picture. 

"The National Issues Forum issue I facilitated the most times was the mental health one. I'm still working on that issue in Salina because law enforcement and mental health consumers were energized by the community dialogue," said Nietfeld. 
Read more
Rural Grocery Initiative 

K-State's RGI Working to Increase Healthful Food Options in Rural Grocery Stores


Rural communities often struggle to sustain core economic, nutritional, and civic needs. A central piece of the infrastructure sustaining rural regions is the small-town, independently owned grocery store. These stores are a source of healthful foods to the local food system, a source of jobs and taxes for the local economy, and a community asset in citizen recruitment and retention. Yet, these grocery stores often struggle to stay in business. Read more


Kansas State University established the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy (ICDD) in 2004 to enhance democracy through improved community deliberation. Soon after, the Center for Engagement and Community Development (CECD) was created by K-State in 2006 to connect the resources of the university to significant issues of public need facing Kansas and communities worldwide. To help sustain rural communities due to growing economic problems, CECD launched the Rural Grocery Initiative (RGI) in 2008.