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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas funds community orchards


Topeka, Kansas (Oct. 17, 2022) – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas (BCBSKS) in partnership with the Leadership Greater Topeka Class of 2022 and The Big Garden are bringing three community orchards to the city of Topeka over the next month.

  • The Gil Carter Initiative Community Orchard, 2600 SE 23rd St
  • The Oakland Gardens Community Orchard, 1020 NE Forest Ave
  • Quinton Heights Community Orchard, 26th and Buchanan

What started out as a project of the Leadership Greater Topeka Class of 2022, has evolved into a true community collaboration.

“The Leadership Greater Topeka class of 2022’s partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas toward the creation of community orchards is a wonderful way to positively impact children and families in our community,” said Michelle Cuevas Stubblefield, Greater Topeka Partnership senior vice president of strategy. “This partnership is creating healthier and more connected communities with each harvest and is a beautiful example of collaborative leadership in response to a community challenge.”

Up to five additional orchards are being planned to launch in Spring 2023, increasing access to healthy food for thousands of Topekans.

“Everyone should have access to quality, nutritious food, but unfortunately that’s not the reality for many residents of our city and state,” said Virginia Barnes, director of Blue Health Initiatives, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas. “These orchards are one way we can do our part to increase access to healthy produce and provide a space where neighbors can come together to create healthier communities.”

Volunteers from all partner organizations gathered to plant the first two orchards on Monday, Oct. 17. The Quinton Heights Community Orchard is slated for planting in early November.


About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas

For more than 80 years, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has built a reputation of trust with its members and contracting providers by providing outstanding customer service while quickly and accurately processing claims; fairly administering benefit plans and contracts; offering programs, services and tools to help members improve or maintain their health; and operating under the highest ethical standards while being good stewards of premium dollars. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and is the state’s largest insurer, serving all Kansas counties except Johnson and Wyandotte. For more information, visit bcbsks.com.