Kevin and Cherie Schenker didn’t grow up in the same small Kansas town. Cherie grew up in McCune, Kansas, and Kevin is from nearby Oswego, Kansas. They did grow up, however, with what proved to be the same desire to live in the kind of close-knit community they grew up in. So after graduating from college and pursuing careers, they individually came to the same conclusion – that sense of community they had experienced while growing up was what they wanted now for their futures.
“We’re rural by choice,” Cherie says. “Small towns have community and that’s our number one thing. That’s part of the rural life. We care for each other.”
Not long after they moved back to McCune to operate the farm that had been in Cherie’s family since 1874, they realized they were actually living in a food desert. The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a food desert in a rural area as one where at least 500 people live at least 10 miles from the nearest supermarket or large grocery store.
“I seems really strange,” Cherie said. “We live in the breadbasket of the world, but we were living in a food desert.”
Today, the Schenkers operate Schenker Family Farms, which raises and sells grass-fed meat online and through retailers across the country. Then in 2017 they opened McCune Farm To Market, a small grocery store and cafe that now satisfies many of the food needs of a surprising large area. All in all, they’re having a positive impact on their entire community, which is exactly why they came back.