Washington D.C. – The National Grocers Association (NGA) has presented RF Buche with its prestigious Spirit of America Award, recognizing his commitment to the independent grocery industry and his work in his community.
Buche, a fourth-generation grocer and president of South Dakota-based GF Buche Co., received the award during NGA’s Fly-In for Fair Competition, held June 6-7, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
“RF Buche has demonstrated that independent grocers play a central role in expanding food access in rural, remote and underserved communities,” noted Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO. “His extensive efforts toward fighting food insecurity, as well as his advocacy for antitrust reform, exemplify his commitment to our industry and the essential role in plays in feeding our nation.”
Buche has testified before the House Rules Committee, detailing efforts by his company to tackle food insecurity. He has worked to boost access to fresh food in rural communities, stocking a trailer with healthy foods as well as essential products for communities on tribal lands and other areas where there are few means of transportation.
Additionally, Buche’s company serves food lockers in areas with limited access to grocery products. The grocer received a grant to install temperature-controlled food locker units in a rural community 16 miles from the nearest grocery store, allowing residents to order groceries online or with a smart device using SNAP, debit or credit.
The mission of the grocer’s ongoing campaign, Team Buche Cares, is to feed the hungry and provide assistance to those in the local community in times of a gap in benefits.
Buche has also been strident in his advocacy for antitrust reform. As he noted after participating in last fall’s White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, “Without a level playing field for independent grocers, the food insecure of our nation are only going to have a harder time accessing the nutritious food their families need to thrive.” Not long after that conference, Buche was present in Minneapolis when FTC Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya declared his commitment to reviving enforcement of the Robinson-Patman Act.
Established in 1982, the NGA Spirit of America Award honors key industry and community leaders in the areas of community service and government relations on behalf of the independent supermarket industry. NGA has proudly presented this award to distinguished individuals who serve the grocery industry and the public interest, including Presidents George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford.
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Click Here for a photo of RF Buche receiving the Spirit of America Award yesterday during NGA’s Fly-In for Fair Competition.
NGA is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale community grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats. The independent grocery sector is accountable for about 1.2 percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating more than $250 billion in sales, 1.1 million jobs, $39 billion in wages and $36 billion in taxes. NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers located in every congressional district across the country, as well as state grocers’ associations, manufacturers and service suppliers. For more information about NGA, visit www.nationalgrocers.org.