State and Local

Across the country state and local city governments are enacting legislation and policies similar to the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) to support healthy food retail projects, revitalize communities and improve access to healthy food in low-income underserved communities. These programs are improving health and revitalizing communities by creating jobs and serving as anchors to other commercial development, which increases retail activity, employment rates, and property values in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Search this list of states to find policy initiatives implemented or in the process of being implemented either at the state or city level.

 

Find a list of the Healthy Food Financing Programs across the country here.

Alabama

Policy Efforts to Watch: Alabama Healthy Food Financing Act
 
With strong bipartisan support, Governor Robert Bentley signed the Alabama Healthy Food Financing Act into law on June 30, 2015. The legislation created the structure for a statewide revolving loan fund program, administered in partnership with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA), to provide incentives to develop, renovate or expand grocery stores in communities with limited access to fresh, healthy food. Advocates are actively working to secure funding for this new initiative. Read more about the legislative effort here.
 
 
Background and Advocacy
 
In November 2014, VOICES for Alabama’s Children and the Alabama Grocer’s Association joined forces to convene the first Alabama Grocery Summit. Fifty state and community leaders in the fight against childhood obesity were brought together to understand the challenges that local grocers face and to discuss a variety of tools that state and local governments could use to address the urgent issue through expanding grocery store investments in underserved communities around the state.
 
Following the meeting, The Food Trust worked with VOICES for Alabama’s Children on a report, Food for Every Child: The Need for Healthy Food Financing in Alabama, which found that 1.8 million Alabamians, including nearly half a million children, live in areas with limited access to healthy food.
 
VOICES for Alabama’s Children, The Food Trust, American Heart Association, the Alabama Grocer’s Association and other partners continue to advocate for funding of the Alabama Healthy Food Financing Act and remain committed to bringing healthy food closer to home for everyone in Alabama.
 

California

California FreshWorks Fund

In July 2011, California launched a new model for financing healthy food access, with leadership from philanthropy. The California Endowment and partners developed the California FreshWorks Fund (CAFWF), a public-private partnership loan fund created to increase access to healthy foods in underserved communities, spur economic development that supports healthy communities, and inspire innovation in healthy food retailing. CAFWF finances grocery stores and other forms of healthy food retail and distribution by providing a combination of loan and grant financing to eligible applicants. In it's first iteration, CAFWF raised more than $273 million and was administered by Capital Impact Partners. Currently, the Northern California Community Loan Fund is serving as the lead administrator of the program, in partnership with a diverse range of investors, advisers, and partners - view the full list here. For more information and to apply for funding please go to California FreshWorks.

 

California Healthy Food Financing Initiative

In 2011, Governor Brown signed AB 581, the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative (CHFFI) into law. AB 581, introduced by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, finds that “access to healthy food items is a basic human right.” The bill will create the CHFFI in the State Treasury, to comprise federal, state, philanthropic, and private funds, for the purpose of expanding access to healthy foods in underserved communities and, to the extent practicable, to leverage other funding, as specified. Moneys in the fund would be expended upon appropriation by the legislature. A CHFFI Council will be created to develop financing options; define program parameters; and partner with government, nonprofit, and philanthropic agencies to advance the key goal of improving access to healthy food in underserved communities. See details of AB 581 for more information.

Policy Efforts to Watch: San Francisco Healthy Food Retailer Incentives Program

In September 2012, Supervisor Eric Mar introduced legislation to establish a Healthy Food Retailer Incentives Program, to be administered by the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development. The proposal takes aim at a long-standing challenge in San Francisco to ensure there are an adequate number of grocery stores, especially in low-income neighborhoods. The legislation focuses attention on promoting and assisting stores that meet the criteria of being a “healthy food retailer.” The criteria include that at least 35 percent of the selling area contain fresh produce and no more than 20 percent of the area have tobacco or alcohol for sale. The program would analyze what areas are most in need of healthier food choices and figure out how to attract purveyors to those areas. The proposal calls for the creation of a “one-stop-shop” by July 1, 2013 for anyone looking to become a healthy food retailer. And, by fiscal year 2013–14, the proposal calls for at least one full-time city worker heading the program.

 

Go to California federal page >

Colorado

Colorado Launches its Fresh Food Financing Fund

Seeded with a $7.1 million investment from the Colorado Health Foundation, the Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F) will enable food retailers to provide fresh, healthy food in underserved Colorado communities. A public-private partnership fund, CO4F will make financing available for grocers that offer affordable and nutritious foods in areas where such goods are scarce.

Modeled after successful, national programs and aligned with the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative, CO4F is designed to:

 

The statewide fund is the first of its kind in Colorado and was developed in response to recommendations from the Denver Food Access Task Force. CO4F aims to remove financial barriers from the construction, expansion, and renovation of grocery stores in underserved areas. For more information go to Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund.

 

Colorado Enterprise Fund

The Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) is a partner in The Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F) and is using its HFFI grant to finance food production, small grocery retail, and innovative healthy food businesses, including farmers markets, bodegas, food carts, and produce stands. Expert small business lenders, CEF provides loans for equipment purchases, energy efficiency improvements, and leasehold improvements. CEF lends to all segments of the food system to foster healthy food access and economic development. You can find more information about the CEF here.

Source of money: HFFI CED Program

 

Go to Colorado federal page >

Connecticut

Advisory Commission on Food Policy, City of Hartford

The City of Hartford’s Advisory Commission on Food Policy is charged with integrating all city agencies in a common effort to improve the availability of safe and nutritious food at reasonable prices for residents. Established in 1991, the Commission is guided by four goals: 1) Eliminate hunger as an obstacle to a happy, healthy, and productive life in the city. 2) Ensure that a wide variety of safe and nutritious food is available for city residents. 3) Ensure that access to food is not limited by economic status, location, or other factors beyond a resident’s control. 4) Ensure that the price of food in the city remains at a level approximating the level for the state.

In March of 2013, the Commission released recommendations for increased food security in Hartford. Of the nine recommendations, three focused specifically on healthy food access. The Commission proposed exploring and implementing tax incentives and economic benefits for healthy food businesses. In response to survey findings on the availability, pricing, and quality of fruits and vegetables, the Commission advised that the city help improve the business infrastructure and sales of these markets to support the local economy. Lastly, they suggested increased support for the development of a Hartford Food Hub. Read more about the recommendations here.

Healthy Food Retailer Incentive

In 2006, Hartford Food System (HFS) launched the Healthy Food Retailer Initiative program. HFS partners with corner stores to increase the availability of healthy food in the city. HFS works with stores to discuss, identify, and document best practices for healthy food retailing, including elements such as marketing, licensing, access to storage and display equipment, and purchasing cooperatives. They also help store owners comply with the WIC program and municipal food licensing requirements. Within a year of the launch, HFS measured an 8% shift in the percentage of healthy food offerings across 23 stores. Learn more about the Healthy Food Retailer Incentive here.

District of Columbia

FEED DC Act

The District of Columbia passed the Food, Environment, and Economic Development in the District of Columbia Act of 2010 to incentivize grocery store development in the District. The “FEED” DC Act builds on the district’s existing Supermarket Tax Exemption Act of 2000 to create a package of incentives and assistance for new grocery store developments and for grocery store renovations in lower-income parts of the city. Specifically, the act (1) sets up a structure for grants and loans to eligible grocery store projects (both new developments and renovations to existing stores), awarded on a competitive basis; (2) designates a “Grocery Ambassador” in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to help grocers navigate through the bureaucratic hurdles of opening new stores; (3) allows for density bonuses and other zoning flexibility for eligible grocery store developments; (4) creates a fast-track permitting and review process for eligible grocery store developments; and (5) directs the DC Department of the Environment to develop and promote energy-efficiency resources to help grocers lower their operating costs. For more information, see the FEED DC Act.

DC Healthy Food Retail Program

Additionally, the FEED DC Act creates, in the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), a Healthy Food Retail Program, which will provide assistance for small retailers seeking to sell healthy foods in underserved communities. Small retailers can include existing corner stores seeking to sell fresh produce and healthy foods; farmers’ markets; and other small retailers, such as fruit and vegetable vendors. The program was funded at $300,000 for fiscal year 2011. These funds are helping corner stores, farmers’ markets, and other small food retailers sell healthy foods in underserved, low-income areas, as directed by the FEED DC Act. DSLBD also will work with a variety of local stakeholders to create a plan for a commercial fruit and vegetable distribution system for corner stores and other small retailers.  For more information, see the DC Healthy Food Retail Program

Florida

Policy Efforts to Watch: Healthy Food Florida Campaign 
 
Advocates are working in Florida to ensure that all residents have access to healthy food and that communities are able to thrive with more grocery stores and economic investment. Led by the American Heart Association, this campaign, called Healthy Food Florida, joins forces with volunteers and groups on the ground, including community, business, and faith-based groups, to advocate for the importance of healthy communities. The goal of Healthy Food Florida is to garner public and legislative support around the establishment and funding of a statewide Healthy Food Financing Initiative that would support grocery stores and other healthy food retail development in underserved communities across the state. 
  • Learn about how federal HFFI dollars are already being used in Florida to increase healthy food retail here.
  • Check out Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ “Roadmap to Living Healthy” interactive mapping tool. This resource identifies the 100 highest rural and urban impact tracts in the state using GIS technology. 
 

Go to Florida federal page >

Georgia

Policy Efforts to WatchGeorgia Supermarket Access Task Force

The Georgia Supermarket Access Task Force, convened by The Food Trust, the Georgia Family Connection Partnership, and the Georgia Food Industry Association, met over the course of a year to develop policy recommendations to support supermarkets and other fresh food retail in underserved areas of the state. Visit here to view the report.

 

Changes to SNAP Distribution

In September 2012, cooperative efforts between the Georgia Department of Human Services, Georgia Food Industry Association, and Georgia Supermarket Access Task Force members, led to the overhaul of the state’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) distribution schedule from a 10-day to a 19-day cycle. Historically, the State of Georgia dispersed SNAP, or food stamp, benefits during a 10-day cycle each month. As a result, stores located in areas where a high concentration of SNAP beneficiaries shop experienced a surge of business during that 10-day period, and a significant decline in business during the other days of the month. This imbalance produced a myriad of consequences, including overcrowding and slow periods, difficulty in staffing, and challenges to stocking fresh produce throughout the month. These complications made some retailers hesitant to operate in communities with heavy SNAP participation. The change to the cycle benefits not only SNAP participants, providing a better shopping experience and increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the month, but also grocers, wholesalers, and suppliers tied to Georgia’s food system.

 

Go to Georgia federal page >

Illinois

Illinois Fresh Food Fund

In 2007 the Illinois Food Marketing Task Force, convened by Voices for Illinois Children, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the Illinois Food Retailers Association, and The Food Trust, met to develop recommendations to overcome the barriers to supermarket and other fresh food retail access that plagues many communities throughout the state.  This effort gave way to the Illinois Fresh Food Fund, a statewide grocery financing program designed to increase access to healthy foods in underserved communities in Illinois. This new program was one of the 10 policy recommendations put forth by the Task Force. 

 

Governor Pat Quinn announced the launch of the new fund in 2012. The state is working with IFF, a community development financial institution (CDFI), to administer the program and provide initial funding for the initiative in the form of a $10-million grant. An additional $3 million in funding has been secured by IFF through the national Healthy Food Financing Initiative

In addition to healthy food retail, the program supports community engagement programs, including efforts to improve nutrition education. The program is modeled after the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, the New York Healthy Food and Healthy Communities Fund, and similar programs across the country. This new program will bring more grocery stores that sell fresh produce to underserved communities across Illinois, which improves health and wellness while also stimulating local economies and creating jobs. For more information, go to the Illinois Fresh Food Fund.

 

Go to Illinois federal page >

Kansas

Policy Efforts to Watch: Kansas City Grocery Access Task Force

Co-chaired by KC Healthy Kids and IFF, a community development financial institution, and facilitated by The Food Trust, the Kansas City Grocery Access Task Force met in 2013 to develop practical solutions to support food access in the metropolitan area. The task force was composed of representatives from the grocery industry as well as from the civic, financial, and public-health sectors. The group met over the course of the year and developed nine policy recommendations to improve food access in bi-state Kansas City.  Recommendations include the need for local governments to invest in existing financing programs and create new incentives for healthy food retail development.

 

Go to Kansas federal page >

Kentucky

Local Leaders Discuss Need for HFFI In Their Community

Gerry Roll, Executive Director of Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, spoke with Kentucky News Network and WMKY in Kentucky to discuss how the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) can improve healthy food access in local communities. HFFI assists communities to secure critical loan and grant financing to operate healthy food retail such as grocery stores in low-income communities or communities of color that often lack healthy food access. Listen to the interview here

 

Go to Kentucky federal page >

Louisiana

New Orleans Fresh Food Retailer Initiative

Storm damage and flooding caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 forced many New Orleans healthy food retailers to close their doors – further exacerbating resident’s struggles to access healthy food. Six-years after Hurricane Katrina, the City of New Orleans launched the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI) to increase healthy food access in underserved areas. This program provides direct financial assistance to retail businesses by awarding forgivable and/or low-interest loans to supermarkets and other fresh food retailers. The City has partnered with The Food Trust and HOPE Enterprise Corporation (HOPE), a community-development financial institution and Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) grantee, to implement the program. The program was seeded with $7 million of federal Disaster Community Development Block Grant funds that have already leveraged millions in additional public and private funding for grocery projects.

As of early 2015, FFRI helped to finance three large-scale projects that will have a significant impact on New Orleans in terms of fresh food access, job creation, and community revitalization: Circle Food Store, ReFresh/Whole Foods, and Jack and Jake’s, scheduled to open in the Fall 2015. 

Background and Advocacy

In 2007, healthy food stakeholders presented information to the New Orleans City Council about how limited access plagued communities post-Katrina. The Council voted unanimously to convene the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee to directly address this issue and generate a list of recommendations to improve access to healthy food in the city. The multi-sector group met over the course of a year and developed recommendations to support grocery stores in underserved areas throughout the city.

In response to the recommendations of the Food Policy Advisory Committee, the City of New Orleans prioritized healthy food retailing in the strategic rebuilding of the city, setting the stage for the creation of the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI)

For more background, read the full list of Food Policy Advisory Committee recommendations that led to the creation of the FFRI program: Building Healthy Communities: Expanding Access to Fresh Food Retail.

For more information on how to advocate for and create a state or local healthy food financing Initiative: The Healthy Food Financing Handbook: From Advocacy to Implementation.

Policy Efforts to Watch: Louisiana Healthy Food Retail Act

Concurrent with the implementation of the FFRI, statewide advocacy efforts were also underway which culminated in Governor Bobby Jindal signing the Healthy Food Retail Act into law on August 15, 2009. The legislation created the structure for a financing program that would provide grants and loans to supermarkets, farmers' markets and food retail providers to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables in underserved communities across the state of Louisiana; however no funding has been appropriated for the program.  

Advocates of the Healthy Food Retail Act, including Together Louisiana, Market Umbrella, Tulane University’s Prevention Research Center and The Food Trust, among others, have been working together to get funding allocated for the program.

 
Mid South Healthy Food Initiative 
 
Administered by Hope Enterprise Corporation in partnership with The Food Trust, the Mid South Healthy Food Financing Initiative is a regional healthy food financing program that offers offers flexible financing for new store development and renovations, as well as training with retailers to promote healthier choices projects across three states in the Mid South region. The initiative started in New Orleans but has grown to support grocery projects in urban areas across Mississippi, Louisiana and the greater Memphis area. The program was developed through the support of a $3 million initial seed from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, which was leveraged further by other funding including the national Healthy Food Financing Initiative. For more information about the program, visit the program website here.

Go to Louisiana federal page >

Maryland

Maryland Fresh Food Financing Initiative
 
Maryland’s Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI) is aimed at increasing access to healthy foods in underserved areas. Authorized and funded by the Maryland General Assembly in 2014, the program was created to provide flexible financing through the Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) Neighborhood BusinessWorks (NBW) program for the start-up, rehabilitation or expansion of businesses and nonprofits offering healthy food options, with a particular emphasis on those retailers that will source fresh food from Maryland farmers. To be eligible for assistance, projects seeking financing must be located in a food desert area within the agency’s designated Priority Funding Areas. Nonprofit organizations and small businesses, including corner markets and "micro-enterprises" with fewer than six employees, are also encouraged to apply for funding.
 
The Maryland FFFI will be administered by a designated community-based lending intermediary selected through a competitive process. The lending intermediary must be either a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) working in Maryland communities, a local government or quasi-public agency, and priority will be given to lending intermediaries that are working in jurisdictions with existing healthy food access initiatives. In addition to originating loans, the lending intermediary is expected to provide technical assistance to applicants. More than one intermediary may be selected to administer the program.  
 
 
Background and Advocacy
 
In December 2011, Advocates for Children and Youth, the Maryland Retailers Association, and The Food Trust convened leaders from the grocery industry, state and local governments, community development, public health, and civic sectors to serve on the Maryland Fresh Food Retail Task Force. The task force developed 10 public policy recommendations to improve access to healthy, affordable food retail in underserved areas throughout the state. High on the list of recommendations was the need to develop a new or expand an existing financing program by providing grants and loans to support the development, renovation and expansion of grocery stores and other stores in underserved communities that provide fresh and healthy food choices.
 
Drawing on the task force recommendations, the Maryland DHCD asked The Reinvestment Fund in 2013 to conduct a market study to gain a deeper understanding of the extent of the supermarket access in Maryland and highlight areas of opportunity for healthy food retailers in underserved communities.
 
 
These policy advocacy efforts culminated in the Maryland state legislature passing legislation (HB 451) in 2014 to encourage vendors to make local fruits and vegetables more available in underserved neighborhoods.  Now named the Maryland Fresh Food Financing Initiative, the bill expanded the purpose of the Neighborhood Business Development Program (NBDP) to include helping to create small businesses and other food-related enterprises that provide healthy foods to residents in food deserts.  The legislation also authorizes DHCD to invest in partners who can demonstrate the ability to recruit, capitalize and support the development of a pipeline of food-related enterprises located in underserved communities. 
 
Policy Efforts to Watch: City of Baltimore Supermarket Tax Incentives
 
Building upon the June 2015 release of the 2015 Food Environment Map and Report by the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, City of Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, and the Baltimore Development Corporation introduced a bill in September 2015 that aimed to expand access to healthy food options in the city through supermarket tax incentives. Unanimously approved by City Council in December 2015, the bill offers 10-year tax incentives to attract and retain supermarkets located in or nearby designated food desert areas. The bill defines a food desert as an area that meets four criteria: least a quarter of a mile from the nearest supermarket, with a median household income at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level, with more than 30 percent of households have no vehicle available, and a low healthy food availability index. New or renovating markets that qualify will receive an 80 percent discount on their personal property taxes for 10 years. An earlier version of the bill also proposed expanding the disbursement period for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), enabling recipients to access their benefits over 24 days, instead of the existing 10-day span. 
 
Read these articles to learn more about the new measure:
 
Policy Efforts to Watch: City of Baltimore Food Policy Initiative 
 
The Baltimore Food Policy Initiative (BFPI) is an inter-governmental collaboration with the Department of Planning, Baltimore Office of Sustainability, Baltimore Development Corporation, and the Baltimore City Health Department. The BFPI was launched in 2010 to "improve health outcomes by increasing access to healthy affordable food in Baltimore City’s food deserts." With each agency lending its expertise, the BFPI creates comprehensive strategies that tackle food access from many perspectives, and implements programs and policies with multi-sector support. To date, BFPI has facilitated the implementation of a healthy carryout strategy, local farmer day stalls, and nutrition and fitness activities, and it coordinates existing health and educational resources in the public markets.
 
Go to Maryland federal page >

Massachusetts

Policy Efforts to Watch: Massachusetts Food Trust Program

In 2014, the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill to establish the Massachusetts Food Trust Program, a healthy food financing program that would provide loans, grants, and technical assistance to support the development, renovation, and expansion of healthy food retailers and food enterprises in parts of the state that need them the most. This could include supermarkets, corner stores, farmers markets, and mobile markets, as well as community kitchens, greenhouses, and food distribution hubs. The measure was included in an Environmental Bond Bill and signed into law in 2014 by Governor Patrick.
 
The program was created in response to the recommendations of the Massachusetts Grocery Access Task Force, and the advocacy of convening partners, including the Massachusetts Food Association, the Massachusetts Public Health Association, The Boston Foundation, and The Food Trust. The task force met over the course of 2012 and developed policy recommendations to support supermarkets and other fresh food retail in underserved areas across the state.
 
Signing the program into law marked an important milestone in the state’s commitment to improving food access in areas of need. After four years of tireless advocacy by task force members and partners across the state, on July 2016, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the FY17 Operating Budget, which included $100,000 in dedicated funding to the Massachusetts Food Trust program. Additionally, the Massachusetts Legislature is currently working on an Economic Development bill that has $6 million in funding for the capital expenses of the Massachusetts Food Trust and is expected to be signed into law later in the summer of 2016. To stay up-to-date on healthy food access in Massachusetts, click here.
 

For more information on how to advocate for and create a state or local healthy food financing Initiative: The Healthy Food Financing Handbook: From Advocacy to Implementation.

 

Go to Massachusetts federal page >

Michigan

The Michigan Good Food Fund 
In 2015, the Michigan Good Food Fund (MGFF)— a statewide public-private healthy food financing program— was launched to increase access to healthy food, spur economic development and create jobs. Managed by Capital Impact Partners (CIP), a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that has been overseeing the California FreshWorks fund since 2011, MGFF will expand access to healthy food for Michigan residents in underserved areas by providing loans and business assistance to support projects across the state’s food value chain, including production, processing, aggregation, distribution and retail projects. Other core partners of the fund include Fair Food Network and the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems. The Fund is supported with a $3 million federal grant from the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) as well as further financial support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation. MGFF partners are implementing the program with a focus on promoting equitable access to food jobs, business ownership, and flexible capital; sustainable environmental practices; and locally grown and regionally produced foods. 
 
 
Detroit Green Grocer Project
In May 2010, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) launched the Green Grocer Project (formerly Fresh Food Access Initiative) to provide Detroit’s grocers with the technical assistance and funding needed to become successful, sustainable and competitive in the metro area grocery market. The Green Grocer Project acts as a clearinghouse for grocers to help navigate city bureaucracy and issues such as permitting, zoning and site selection. The program assists stores with such things as technical assistance grants; connections to partners such as community banks and vendors; and help with licensing, zoning, permits, and easements. Also part of the Green Grocer Project is the Façade Improvement Program, inviting grocers to apply for matching funds to improve the visual appearance and marketability of their full service grocery stores and their parking lots within the city of Detroit. To date, over 25 projects have secured financing and received technical assistance through the program to support both existing and new retail outlets. The program plans to assist another 5-10 of the city’s grocers through the end of 2015. The Green Grocer Project has received funding from the Kresge Foundation, Lasalle Bank (now Bank of America), Detroit Investment Fund and the City of Detroit. See the Green Grocer Project Page for more information.
 
 
Policy Efforts to Watch: 
 
Michigan Healthy Food Financing Campaign
The Michigan Healthy Food Financing Campaign, led by the American Heart Association in partnership with Healthy Kids, Healthy Michigan and Michigan Good Food Fund (MGFF) partners, is an effort to support healthy food choices by expanding healthy food access for all residents in Michigan communities. The campaign is an innovative partnership made up of retailers, health advocates, policymakers and finance leaders across Michigan with the goal of securing a state investment in the MGFF. Funding will support food production, distribution, processing, and retail projects that expand the availability of healthy food offerings in places where access to healthy food is currently limited. 
 
As part of this effort, the Michigan chapter of the American Heart Association, together with The Food Trust, recently released a report highlighting neighborhoods in greatest need of healthy food retail throughout the state, Food For Every Child: The Need for Healthy Food Financing in Michigan. The report found that there are over 1.8 million Michigan residents, including an estimated 300,000 children, living in lower-income communities with limited supermarket access. 
 
On October 5th, 2015, the Michigan Healthy Food Access Campaign convened a meeting of stakeholders where campaign partners shared updates on the campaign’s progress in securing $10 million from the State of Michigan to support the MGFF.  
 
Background and Advocacy
 
Michigan Good Food Charter
Beginning in late 2009, the Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems joined forces with the Food Bank Council of Michigan and the Michigan Food Policy Council to examine the state of Michigan’s food systems and together began work to develop specific goals that would promote equity, sustainability and a thriving economy across the state. These identified priorities were presented as the Charter’s initial recommendations at a statewide summit, held at the Lansing Center on February 2010. The culmination of all comments and feedback from advocates across the state about these recommendations resulted in the release of the Michigan Good Food Charter in June 2010. The Charter serves as a roadmap for a food system rooted in local communities of which many current efforts in Michigan have built upon. 
 
Detroit Fresh Food Access Initiative and Green Grocer Project
The Detroit Fresh Food Access Initiative was formed in October 2007 in response to the city’s unmet demand for grocery stores. Headed by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) with support from the Kresge Foundation, the initiative created a multi-sector taskforce that released a report in August 2008 with recommendations of ways to strengthen the overall grocery industry as a delivery mechanism for fresh and healthy foods. See the report, Detroit Fresh Food Access Initiative.
 
 
Go to Michigan federal page >

Minnesota

Policy Efforts to Watch: Mobile Grocery Stores

Several entrepreneurs and nonprofits interested in expanding healthy food options have passed a proposal through the city's regulatory committee that will allow mobile grocery stores. The Twin Cities Mobile Market, a new program of the Wilder Foudation, intends to serve low-income areas that have been designated as food deserts. Learn more about this exciting development here.

Minnesota Grocery Access Task Force

The Minnesota Grocery Access Task Force, convened by the Greater Twin Cities United Way, the Minnesota Grocers Association, and The Food Trust, presented policy recommendations to support supermarkets and other fresh food retail in underserved neighborhoods at its final meeting in September 2012. 

 

Go to Minnesota federal page >

Mississippi

In 2012 the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, the National Grocers Association, and The Food Trust convened the Mississippi Grocery Access Task Force, comprising local community, economic, and public health leaders. The group addressed how residents in underserved communities can better access healthy food and generated policy recommendations to support supermarkets and other fresh food retail across the state.

On the heels of the work of the Grocery Access Task Force, the Mississippi House of Representatives introduced MS HB 798, the Healthy Food Retail Act, to create a grant and loan program to increase access to fresh and healthy food in underserved communities. The act passed in the House by a wide margin (114-4) and was approved by the Senate (52-0). Although the legislature adjourned before the bill was completed, there was incredible bipartisan support, signifying a growing interest and commitment to economic development in communities underserved by grocery stores and other healthy food retail, along with the creation of expanded opportunities for American farmers.

 

Mid South Healthy Food Initiative 
 
Administered by Hope Enterprise Corporation in partnership with The Food Trust, the Mid South Healthy Food Financing Initiative is a regional healthy food financing program that offers offers flexible financing for new store development and renovations, as well as training with retailers to promote healthier choices projects across three states in the Mid South region. The initiative started in New Orleans but has grown to support grocery projects in urban areas across Mississippi, Louisiana and the greater Memphis area. The program was developed through the support of a $3 million initial seed from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, which was leveraged further by other funding including the national Healthy Food Financing Initiative. For more information about the program, visit the program website here.

 

Missouri

Policy Efforts to Watch: Kansas City Grocery Access Task Force

Facilitated by The Food Trust and co-chaired by KC Healthy Kids and IFF, a community development financial institution, the Kansas City Grocery Access Task Force met in 2013 to develop practical solutions to support food access in the metropolitan area. The task force was composed of representatives from the grocery industry as well as from the civic, financial, and public-health sectors. The group met over the course of the year and developed nine policy recommendations to improve food access in bi-state Kansas City.  Recommendations include the need for local governments to invest in existing financing programs and create new incentives for healthy food retail development.

 

Go to Missouri federal page >

Nebraska

Policy Efforts to Watch: Nebraska Healthy Food Financing Initiative Act

In the 2012 session of the Nebraska Legislature, Nebraska State Senator Brenda Council introduced the Nebraska Healthy Food Financing Initiative Act, which would set aside $300,000 in the state budget for small loans, grants, and interest rate assistance on loans made through other financial institutions. The bill would provide funding to establish new farmers’ markets and community gardens, develop cooperative grocery stores, establish new grocery stores, and refurbish existing grocery stores to better meet the needs of the community in terms of providing fresh, healthy food. While the Agriculture Committee held a hearing on the bill and the legislation was supported by farmers and public health groups alike, the bill did not make it to the governor’s desk for signature.

 

Nevada

Policy Efforts to Watch: City of Reno works with Washoe County Food Policy

The City of Reno recently announced a plan to study healthy food access policy for 2014. The new goal will guide the city's Planning Comission efforts to research and identify planning and development policies that can promote healthy food access and support local food production and sales. Interest in local, healthy food is fueling economic growth in the Reno area, and the Great Basin Community Food Co-op is one of the fastest growing co-ops in the country. Check out this article for additional information.

Las Vegas Healthy Food Access Policy

In an effort to combat obesity in their city, the Las Vegas City Council has passed a resolution that will increase access to healthy food options in underserved areas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34 percent of Las Vegas children and 60 percent of adults are obese or overweight. Through this resolution the city hopes to improve the quality of life and health benefits for residents as well encourage economic development within the community.

The City Council adopted the Food Access Policy and Planning Guide which presents key objectives for improving access to affordable and nutritious food. Future plans include the following:

Read the resolution, guide, and other supporting materials here.

New Jersey

Policy Effort to Watch: The New Jersey Healthy Small Food Retailer Act
The American Heart Association, The Food Trust, and the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids have been working to educate policymakers at the state level about the lack of healthy food access in many lower-income communities and the impact of the program to build support for state investment in the initiative.  To date, legislation has been introduced in both the Senate and the Assembly. The “Healthy Small Food Retailer Act” was passed favorably by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee and the Senate Economic Growth Committee. Advocates continue to work on moving the Act through the legislative process in the state. 

 

Background and Advocacy
In 2014, The Food Trust and the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids launched a partnered effort to launch a statewide Healthy Corner Store Initiative in New Jersey. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Campbell’s Soup Company, and the New Jersey Department of Health, the initiative has grown to include over 125 participating stores in 19 cities across the state. Participating stores receive a range of customized support and technical assistance including training on how to stock and display fresh produce and other healthy products; marketing materials, such as shelf talkers and recipe cards; equipment, such as baskets and shelving; and in-store consumer education programs such as nutrition lessons, taste tests and health screenings. 
As part of this statewide initiative, The Food Trust, the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, and the American Heart Association convened the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Task Force in October 2014. Comprised of nearly 40 leaders from the health, financial, philanthropic, government, business, distribution and food retail sectors, the task force was formed to explore barriers to offering healthy foods in corner stores in underserved communities and identify strategies to increase the distribution, promotion, and sale of healthy products. The group released its recommendations in 2015 in the new report “Supporting Healthy Corner Store Development in New Jersey.” 
 
Links for more information:
 
New Jersey Food Access Initiative

In 2010, the New Jersey Food Council and the New Jersey Economic Development Agency, in conjunction with The Food Trust, convened the New Jersey Food Marketing Task Force. The task force developed a series of recommendations to support supermarkets and other fresh food retail in underserved areas across the state.                                   

In 2009, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) collaborated with The Reinvestment Fund to launch  the New Jersey Food Access Initiative (NJFAI), a statewide financing program to improve access to healthy foods. NJFAI makes grants and loans available to support supermarket developers and operators, food hubs, and other formats of fresh food retail that will increase access to fresh, healthy foods in underserved areas across the state, with emphasis on serving the following ten cities: Atlantic City, Camden, East Orange, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Newark, New Brunswick, Paterson, Trenton, and Vineland.  

Responding to the task force recommendations, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) contributed a $10 million Program Related Investment (PRI) and a $2 million grant to NJFAI in 2012.  This investment compliments the work of community coalitions funded by RWJF to combat childhood obesity as part of the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids (NJPHK).  NJFAI's other financial partners include Living Cities ($2 million), NJEDA ($4 million), and The Reinvestment Fund ($2 million).

See the New Jersey Food Access Initiative for more information.

 

Go to New Jersey federal page >

New York

New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund

In 2006, New York City public officials, including Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, began a concerted effort to improve access to healthy foods in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. This investigation highlighted the need for statewide intervention and the creation of task force, funded by the Friedman Foundation and convened by New York City’s Food Policy Coordinator, the Food Bank of New York City, the New York City Council, the Food Industry Alliance of New York, and The Food Trust, to address the barriers to supermarket and other fresh food retail development in underserved communities across New York State. As a result, the New York Supermarket Commission created a set of policy recommendations to incentivize healthy food retail investment in these areas, including the recommendation that a statewide grocery financing program be created. In response to the recommendations of the New York Supermarket Commission, Governor Paterson launched the New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities (HFHC) Fund in 2010, a $30-million business financing program to encourage supermarket and other fresh food retail investment in underserved areas throughout the state. 

The program provides grants and loans made available through a revolving loan fund to eligible projects. The initiative includes a $10-million commitment from the state’s Empire State Development Corporation and a $20-million commitment from The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. The Low Income Investment Fund is the lead administrator for the fund and is partnering with The Reinvestment Fund and The Food Trust to implement the program.

The New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities (HFHC) Fund has thus far provided $6.24 million ($4.86 million in loans and $1.38 million in grants) to eight healthy food retail projects (6 traditional grocery stores, 1 mobile market, and 1 regional farmers market) aimed at improving access to nutritious food for approximately 24,000 people in underserved communities in New York State.  The eight projects receiving HFHC funding so far are spread across New York towns and cities, including Mount Vernon, Highland Falls, Conklin, Buffalo, Red Creek, Binghamton, and in the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island, which also received tax incentives through the FRESH (Food Retail Expansion to Support Health) Program. The Fund’s investments have so far supported 67,500 square feet of new, improved, or preserved food retail space and created or preserved more than 200 full-time jobs and over 100 construction jobs. 

The Low Income Investment Fund is actively underwriting several projects and continuing to accept applications for projects across New York State. For more information on the program go to the New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund.

New York City FRESH Program

In New York City, the Bloomberg administration acted on the New York Supermarket Commission's recommendations by creating the FRESH Program (Food Retail Expansion to Support Health) to encourage healthy food retail development in underserved areas throughout the city. Launched in summer 2010, the FRESH Program (1) provides tax incentives to healthy food retailers, (2) creates incentives in the zoning code for real estate developments that incorporate healthy food, and (3) creates a single point of access for supermarket operators to interface with city government. Click here to learn more about the FRESH Program.

 

Go to New York federal page >

North Carolina

Policy Efforts to Watch: Healthy Food Small Retailer Act
The Healthy Food Small Retailer Act, introduced in both the North Carolina House and Senate in March 2015, would encourage grocery and corner store owners across the state to carry more healthy food options in underserved areas. The North Carolina Alliance for Health has been advocating for this legislation, which would appropriate $1 million in the state budget to establish a program that provides resources and technical assistance to grocery store owners to ensure fresh, healthy food options remain available and affordable to residents in the state’s most distressed areas. This includes helping stores get equipment and shelving to display and stock fresh produce. The Healthy Food Small Retailer Act would provide both health and economic benefits by also helping local farmers gain access to new markets. The lack of grocery stores in low- and moderate-income areas is a major barrier for healthy food access in local North Carolina communities. 
 
Earlier this year, the North Carolina Alliance for Health released a poll finding broad public support for the measure which received significant attention from the media
 
In June 2016, the North Carolina General Assembly included in this year's final state budget $250,000 towards the creation of a statewide Healthy Corner Store Initiative, housed in the Department of Agriculture. For up-to-date information about the progress of ongoing advocacy of this effort, visit here
 
For more information on how to advocate for and create a state or local healthy food financing Initiative: The Healthy Food Financing Handbook: From Advocacy to Implementation.
 
Go to North Carolina federal page >

Ohio

Healthy Food for Ohio Program 
In June 2015, Governor John Kasich signed the FY 2016-17 operating budget that includes a $2 million provision of seed capital to create the statewide Healthy Food for Ohio program (HFFO). HFFO supports the development of new and existing grocery stores and other healthy food retail in underserved areas throughout the state. Launched in March 2016, HFFO provides financing for costs associated with land acquisition, predevelopment, construction, equipment, infrastructure, and related expenses as well as credit needs not typically filled by conventional financial institutions and is operated through the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. Finance Fund, a CDFI, is working with The Food Trust, a national food access organization, to review each application and determine whether each proposed project meets program goals and is financially viable. Applicants for funding will be evaluated and approved on a rolling basis while funds remain available. For more information, click here
 
For more information on the launch of the HFFO:
 
 
Background and Advocacy

In 2014, the Ohio Regional Convergence Partnership and Finance Fund, in partnership with The Food Trust, conducted a statewide research study to identify communities in Ohio that lack access to healthy food options. Study findings translated into a mapping report, Food for Every Child: The Need for Healthy Food Financing in Ohio, which revealed that over two million Ohioans, including 500,000 children, live in lower-income communities underserved by supermarkets. 

 
This report was used as the launching point for a series of meetings of the Ohio Healthy Food Financing Task Force beginning in June 2014. The Task Force, comprised of key stakeholders representing leaders from state agencies, foundations, grocery businesses, corporations, and nonprofit organizations, developed practical policy recommendations to support and encourage grocery store and other healthy food retail development in underserved areas across the state. The group identified the key barriers to healthy food retail and from those developed a series of policy recommendations to overcome these barriers. A key recommendation of this group was the creation of an Ohio Healthy Food Financing Initiative. Learn more about the policy recommendations generated by the Ohio Healthy Food Financing task force: Supporting Grocery Development in Ohio
 

Finance Fund also participates in Reinvestment Fund’s ReFresh Initiative, a national network of CDFI practitioners engaged in improving access to healthy food across the United States, particularly in areas where long-standing barriers exist that make it difficult for residents to live healthier, more stable lives.

Recently, Finance Fund was awarded $2 million in funding through the FY2015 CDFI-HFFI program, enabling their CDFI affiliate, Finance Fund Capital Corporation (FCAP), to expand its healthy food-focused financing activities to help meet the unique needs of healthy food projects operating in economically underserved communities. Finance Fund was also awarded $4 million in round six through the Ohio New Markets Tax Credit (ONMTC) Program administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency, amounting to $14 million in ONMTC. Find out more about Finance Fund's work in Ohio here.

The American Heart Association in Ohio has prioritized Healthy Food Financing as a key part of their policy agenda. For more information on the American Heart Association efforts see here.

 

Cincinnati Fresh Food Retail Financing Fund 

The Cincinnati Fresh Food Retail Financing Fund (FFRFF), ), established in late 2012, supports supermarkets, grocery stores, and other fresh food markets in low-income, underserved communities in the Cincinnati area. The Cincinnati City Council voted in December of 2012 to approve the city manager's budget recommendation for Focus 52, a program under the Neighborhoods in the Economic Development Director's Budget, formally creating the Cincinnati FFRFF. The program allows city funds to be used to support qualifying grocery projects in underserved areas. The Center for Closing the Health Gap and the Cincinnati Development Fund will work to support qualifying grocery projects in underserved neighborhoods of the city. Click here to download the Program Guidelines. To find out if you are eligible for the fund, download the application.

Efforts to create this program in Cincinnati began in February 2012, at the request of the Cincinnati City Council and the City Food Access Task Force, a group made up of public health, economic development, civic and grocery retail leaders. This group convened and began studying financing mechanisms to incentivize new retail food establishments to offer healthy food to underserved communities in Cincinnati. 
 
For more information about the task force and to review recommendations: Cincinnati Fresh Food Retail Financing Fund: Proposed Elements.
 
Policy Efforts to Watch: Cincinnati Grocery Attraction Pilot Program
The Cincinnati City Council's Neighborhoods Committee recently approved plans for a new initiative, the Grocery Attraction Pilot Program, aimed at attracting new grocery retail and supporting existing retailers in areas designated as food deserts according to USDA’s definition. The program offers a number of new incentives to businesses, including waiving the annual city food service permit fee for up to five years, and also abating up to 75% of property improvements for 12 years or more to reduce operating expenses and the risk associated with operations. Read this article to learn more about the proposed program: Cincinnati wants to end food deserts. Here's how.
 
 
Go to Ohio federal page >

 

Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative

The Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI), launched in 2004, was a public-private partnership among the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Reinvestment Fund, The Food Trust, and Urban Affairs Coalition. Through the leadership of State Representative Dwight Evans, Pennsylvania invested $30 million in seed funding for the program, leading to total project costs of $190 million. FFFI approved financing for 88 projects accounting for more than $85 million in grants and loans for eligible healthy food retail businesses in underserved urban and rural communities. FFFI created or saved more than 5,000 jobs and 1.67 million square feet of commercial food retail space. FFFI ended in June 2010 when all of the state funds were deployed.

Learn more about FFFI in this four part video series:

Healthy Food Retail in Pennsylvania Today

Although the FFFI funding was expended, Reinvestment Fund continues to manage a healthy food retail revolving loan fund for Pennsylvania businesses using its own investor capital, a federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative grant from the CDFI Fund New Markets Tax Credit, and the proceeds from loans repaid by FFFI borrowers.

Reinvestment Fund's 2014 Limited Supermarket Access Study, which analyzes access to healthy foods in communities across the nation, estimated that 301,397 Philadelphia residents were living in communities with low access to healthy foods in 2005. By 2013, the number was more than halved because of FFFI and other concerted efforts. Today, 187,000 Philadelphia residents' nearest option for obtaining fresh foods is at a grocer financed by Reinvestment Fund. In all, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania experienced a 38 percent net increase in grocery stores between 2005 and 2013.

The Pennsylvania initiative continues to draw national attention for its success in improving access to fresh foods, job creation, and economic revitalization in underserved communities statewide. The program has been recognized by Harvard University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Governors Association, and the National Conference of State Legislatures as a model for communities nationwide committed to combating obesity and improving food access. For more information on the program, go to Reinvestment Fund's Healthy Food Retail webpage. 

Background and Advocacy

Creating the PA FFFI started with The Food Trust’s mapping in 2001 of neighborhoods in Philadelphia that were lower-income, had poor access to a supermarkets, and suffered from higher rates of death from diet-related disease. These findings were published in a report, Food for Every Child: The Need for More Supermarkets in Philadelphia.
 
The maps engaged city leadership around the issue of healthy food access and its connection to health. As a result, in 2003 The Food Trust convened the Philadelphia Food Marketing Task Force, which met to identify the barriers to healthy food retail development and come to consensus around a series of policy recommendations to overcome these barriers. The task force released a report, Stimulating Supermarket Development: A New Day for Philadelphia, specifically recommending the state develop a business financing program to support local supermarket development projects. This report, along with the leadership of Representative Dwight Evans and other key champions, led to the creation of the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative.
 
For more information on how to advocate for and create a state or local healthy food financing Initiative: The Healthy Food Financing Handbook: From Advocacy to Implementation.
 
 
Go to Pennsylvania federal page >

South Carolina

Policy Effort to Watch: South Carolina Healthy Food Financing Initiative
The South Carolina Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) is aimed at increasing access to healthy foods for the more than one million South Carolina residents who live in food deserts. The Initiative will be a public-private partnership, which supports local farmers and businesses by providing access to loans to support the establishment, renovation or expansion of different food projects, including farm businesses, mobile markets, small food stores, and grocery stores.  The program is designed to provide flexible financing for the start-up, rehabilitation or expansion of businesses and nonprofits. To be eligible, applicants seeking financing must be located in a designated Food Desert Area or Low Supermarket Access Community.  Nonprofit organizations, for profit entities, and municipalities may apply for funding. 
 
The South Carolina HFFI will be administered by the South Carolina Community Loan Fund (SCCLF), a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with an eleven year history of community based lending in South Carolina communities.  In addition to originating loans, SCCLF will provide technical assistance services to applicants for financial support.  
 
Background and Advocacy
In 2013, borne out of the SC Food Policy Council and with support from the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, the SCCLF convened the South Carolina Food Access Task Force. The task force developed five public policy recommendations to improve the availability of healthy, affordable food in underserved areas. These recommendations are rooted in a strategy that addresses capital, affordability, supply, planning and transportation.  Number one on the list of recommendations was the need to develop a healthy food financing initiative to provide capital to support the establishment, renovation, or expansion of different food projects, including food hubs, farm businesses, mobile markets, small food stores, and grocery stores that make available affordable, local, and healthy food. 
 

 

In 2015, SCCLF partnered with the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, Eat Smart Move More SC, and the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) to advocate for funding to support the Healthy Food Financing Initiative.  As a result of these efforts, the South Carolina General Assembly included $250,000 in the state budget for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative in 2015. Due to the advocacy of SCCLF and partners, in June 2016, South Carolina General Assembly ratified the state’s budget which included an appropriation of $250,000 for the Health Food Financing Initiative. For update-to-date information about these advocacy efforts, visit the CFSA website here.  

 

Tennessee

Policy Efforts to Watch: Tennessee Grocery Access Task Force

The Tennessee Grocery Access Task Force, convened by the Tennessee Grocery and Convenience Association (TGCA), the American Heart Association (AHA), and The Food Trust, met over the course of a year to develop policy recommendations to support supermarkets and other fresh food retail in underserved communities across the state.

Changes to SNAP Distribution Schedules

In addition to the task force efforts, cooperative efforts between key stakeholders in Tennessee have led to the overhaul of the state’s SNAP distribution schedule. In late October 2012, the state’s SNAP distribution schedule was extended from a 10-day cycle to a 20-day cycle, thereby improving the effectiveness of the program. This new distribution schedule for SNAP benefits in Tennessee helps ensure that fresh foods are available throughout the month and that grocery stores can properly serve consumers in areas of high food-stamp volume. This change will also benefit grocers, wholesalers, and suppliers tied to Tennessee’s local food system. This improvement to the distribution schedule is a good indication of the State of Tennessee’s commitment to implementing changes to improve access to healthy foods in local communities.

 

Mid South Healthy Food Initiative 
 
Administered by Hope Enterprise Corporation in partnership with The Food Trust, the Mid South Healthy Food Financing Initiative is a regional healthy food financing program that offers flexible financing for new store development and renovations, as well as training with retailers to promote healthier choices projects across three states in the Mid South region. The initiative started in New Orleans but has grown to support grocery projects in urban areas across Mississippi, Louisiana and the greater Memphis area. The program was developed through the support of a $3 million initial seed from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, which was leveraged further by other funding including the national Healthy Food Financing Initiative. For more information about the program, visit the program website here.
 

Go to Tennessee federal page >

Texas

Policy Efforts to Watch: Houston Grocery Access Task Force

In 2012 the Houston Grocery Access Task Force, convened by Children at Risk, the City of Houston, and The Food Trust, developed a roadmap to improve grocery access in Houston and Texas. The group’s recommendations included creating attractive financing opportunities for grocers opening or expanding stores in areas of need throughout the city. 

 

In response to the work of the task force, the City of Houston has dedicated financial resources to incentivize healthy food retail development or expansion in target neighborhoods currently underserved by grocery stores. The Houston Redevelopment Authority, using Community Development Grant Funds, will award and determine financing for projects on a case-by-case basis. 

In June of 2014 Houston Mayor Annise Parker, along with members of city council and the Houston Redevelopment Authority, celebrated the ground-breaking of Pyburns Farm Fresh Foods, a grocery store expected to open next year in the South Union neighborhood, an area with limited access to healthy food. The new supermarket is the first store to receive financing through the city’s new healthy food financing program. Pyburns’ owner John Vuong and his family currently operate eleven other stores in the Houston area. The new 19,500 square foot store will create a minimum of 25 jobs for Houston residents.
 
 
 
Go to Texas federal page >

Virginia

Virginia Fresh Food Loan Program

Virginia Community Capital (VCC), a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and community development bank in Richmond, Virginia, is working to launch the Virginia Fresh Food Loan Fund (VFFLF).  VFFLF will address the unmet capital needs of healthy food enterprises in Virginia's rural and urban areas. The commitment to form the VFFLF is a scale up and expansion of VCC's 2012 healthy corner store pilot program, “Get Fresh East End,”  which encourages corner stores to provide healthy food options to the residents in Richmond's East End neighborhood: the largest underserved community for a city its size in the United States. Over the next three years, VCC will replicate this corner store initiative in two additional urban underserved communities in Virginia. This expansion includes increasing the number of corner stores and urban areas included in the program, deepening engagement with participating stores by increasing store capacity to sell and market healthy items through financial incentives and providing refrigeration and other necessary infrastructure to support the inventory and marketing of healthy food items.

VCC plans to develop an $11 million dollar fund from a variety of sources, including through program and mission-related investments from foundation partners and from their own loan fund. The VFFLF combines small business technical assistance as well as lending opportunities to increase the capacity of urban corner stores to sell and market healthy items and foster the expansion and formation of food hubs, and other small and medium-sized food enterprises. This commitment will significantly increase healthy food sales in participating corner stores and is anticipated to create an average of 12 jobs per food hub. VCC was recently recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative America for their commitment to launching the VFFLF. 

For more information, see the Virginia Fresh Food Loan Program.

 

Go to Virginia federal page >