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Community Resilience Hub - Kansas Wesleyan University

There are numerous definitions of community resilience, but the one we like the most comes from Science Direct:

“Community resilience is used to describe the interconnected network of systems that directly impact human society at a grassroots community level, including the socioeconomic, ecological and built environments. A community is resilient when members of the population are connected to one another and work together, so that they are able to function and sustain critical systems, even under stress; adapt to changes in the physical, social or economic environment; be self-reliant if external resources are limited or cut off; and learn from experiences to improve itself over time.”

In our work, we also consider the communities of all living organisms that make our environment healthy. A truly resilient community relies upon all humans as well as the grasses of the prairie, the buffalo, the prairie chicken, the rattlesnake, and so on. Broadening our definition of resiliency to include the important roles these living organisms play in sustaining a healthy land for all will guarantee our sustainability now and in the future.

During the pandemic, we witnessed the fragility of our communities when supply chains were disrupted. In Kansas, we rely on other states and countries for 90% of our fresh fruits and vegetables. When natural disasters like floods and fires destroy crops in California, it affects the ability for healthy food to be available in Kansas. Currently, all of the stars must align in the food supply chain for the most nutritious foods to continuously make their way to the Central Plains.

The work of the Community Resilience Hub is to stimulate conversation and ideas that will make Kansans less dependent on other states for fresh produce. What if local farmers dedicated just five or ten percent of their fields to specialty crops using regenerative organic practices? Can community gardens supply fresh and nutritious produce to Salina schools, in which 25 percent of students receive free or reduced lunches? In what other ways is the economic health of our community enhanced when everyone has access to local healthy food?

We don’t have all of the answers, but we do have passion around ensuring current and future generations have the knowledge, skills and inspiration to live healthy lives. We want the community to join us as together, we imagine a thriving future.

The Community Resilience Hub is centered on collaboration and partnership. We convene those willing and able to make change and work with us to develop solutions to our most pressing issues affecting food sustainability and community resilience. In our first year, exciting new partnerships have enhanced our vision and strengthened our mission. Each phase of our development will introduce opportunities, leaders, supporters and organizations that will enable us to achieve our goals.

Connect with us and share your passion and ideas to create a healthy and resilient community.