Last updated on June 13th, 2023 at 04:57 pm
The National Grocers Association has presented RF Buche with its 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 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,” Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO, shared in a statement.
“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 his company’s efforts 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 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 industry and community leaders in the areas of community service and government relations on behalf of the independent supermarket industry. NGA has presented this award to people who serve the grocery industry and the public interest, including Presidents George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford.