California

Healthy Food Access Portal Profiles & Research Spotlights

Learn more about successful projects and research studies advancing healthy food access in the community:

Federal Policy Efforts (State-specific)

​​​​​​​Capital Impact Partners

Capital Impact Partners builds strong, vibrant communities for underserved people. A nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution, they deliver strategic financing, incubate new social ventures, and support capacity building to help ensure that low-to-moderate-income individuals have access to quality health care and education, healthy foods, affordable housing, and the opportunity to age independently.

CIP has deployed over $2.5B to serve nearly 5 million people and create more than 33,000 jobs nationwide in sectors critical to vibrant communities. Capital Impact Partners is a leading nonprofit lender to food projects across the country. Their $150 million in financing has led to the development of new stores, expansion of existing stores, and innovations such as mobile markets and food hubs that scale distribution efforts. This effort creates healthier communities while spurring economic growth and job creation.

CIP was the original fund administrator for the California FreshWorks Fund from 2011 to 2016. (See on a later page for Northern California Community Loan Fund, current administrator). During this time, CIP deployed $55 million in New Markets Tax Credits and debt capital to 15 fresh food retail sites and intermediary organizations, developing 435,000 square feet of retail space and increasing access to fresh food for over 800,000 people across the state. In addition, CIP deployed $2.1 million to 53 organizations to support innovative community projects statewide.

  • LA PREP: Capital Impact Partners joined other investors to provide $17.5 million in NMTC financing through the California FreshWorks Fund for the acquisition and renovation of a 56,000 square foot industrial building in Los Angeles. The new facility is the home of two highly innovative social enterprises, L.A. Prep and L.A. Kitchen. L.A. Prep is a business incubator and production space for wholesale food producers. It facilitates the growth of small food businesses by providing 49 state-of-the-art kitchens that food entrepreneurs can rent as they start and expand their businesses. It also provides a variety of support services—including expert guidance on marketing and distribution, and opportunities to showcase their products to local buyers—to help the entrepreneurs succeed. L.A. Kitchen is a nonprofit organization that collects surplus food and prepares and distributes it to homeless shelters, transitional homes, and other nonprofits. The food is prepared by the participants—among them, at-risk foster youth and adults transitioning out of incarceration—in a 15-week job training program.
     
  • FEED THE HUNGER FOUNDATION: Capital Impact Partners lends to experienced intermediaries that make high-impact loans of their own. Feed the Hunger Foundation (FTHF) is one of those intermediary lenders. FTHF was founded in 2008 to use microfinance to help eliminate poverty and hunger. Through the California FreshWorks Fund, Capital Impact Partners provided $100,000 in financing to support FTHF's California Food For Thought Program, which offers microloans to individuals and organizations that increase access to healthy foods in the state's Central Valley and Central Coast. Through the California Food for Thought Program Javier Zamora was able to access funding to launch JSM Organics, a successful organic berry and vegetable farm. Other successful borrowers included Rosa Hernandez Bautista and Silvia Rojas, the creators of Colectivo Sabor a Mi Terra, a restaurant in Madera offering authentic Oaxacan cuisine.
     
  • COMMUNITY SERVICES UNLIMITED: Community Services Unlimited (CSU) was founded around food insecurity and access issues in 1977, and has been bringing weekly pop-up produce stands to South Los Angeles for the past few years. With two capacity building grants from The FreshWorks Fund totaling $40,000, CSU has purchased bicycles for produce delivery, developed a marketing and branding initiative, and started preparing renovations to the Paul Robeson Community Center, which will be its home base.  This funding helped the CSU grow from serving 15 families in 2007 to serving more than 9,000 families in 2015. Once the renovations to the Robeson Center are finished, CSU will support about 15 new jobs and serve as a business incubator and a community wellness space.
     
  • KITCHENS FOR GOOD: Founded in San Diego, Kitchens for Good (KFG) takes useable but imperfect or near-expiration food and turns it into healthy and affordable frozen meals and shelf stable items. The organization also runs programs that provide meals to seniors and culinary training and life skills to former foster care youth and formerly incarcerated young adults. While Kitchens for Good had an operations site when it approached FreshWorks, it did not have all the equipment needed for its commercial kitchen to be operational. Through a $50,000 FreshWorks Fund grant, KFG was able to purchase equipment and improve its cold storage capacity.  Our investment in KFG paved the way for it to start the revenue generating programs that support the rest of its work, while also helping to expand the number of people it serves through its senior meal deliver programs. The FreshWorks grant also helped KFG get additional funding.

HFFI Projects and Impacts

  • Northgate Gonzalez Market, San Diego, $8.5MM total financing
    • 42,625 sq. ft. food retail space created/preserved
    • 119,000 residents served
    • 122 jobs created
  • Northgate Gonzalez Market, Inglewood, $7.6MM total financing
    • 30,000 sq. ft. food retail space created/preserved
    • 105,000 residents served
    • 110 jobs created
  • El Rancho Marketplace, Pismo Beach, $1.8MM total financing
    • 39,498 sq. ft. food retail space created/preserved
    • 50,052 residents served
    • 140 jobs created
  • Numero Uno Markets, South Los Angeles, $12MM total financing
    • Upgrades and expansion for an 8 store chain
    • Stopped tobacco sales, installed junk food-free checkout aisle, and holds health and wellness fairs
  • Palomino Market, Huntington Park. $651,840 total financing
    • 6,000 sq. ft. food retail space created/preserved
    • 57,000 residents served
    • 8-10 jobs created
  • Urban Radish, Los Angeles. $4,000 grant, $620,000 loan commitment
    • 8,200 sq. ft. food retail space created/preserved
    • 15,000 residents served
    • 25 jobs created

Source of money: HFFI CDFI-Financial Assistance Program; Fiscal Year(s): 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016
Fiscal Year 2011, $3MM, Fiscal Year 2012, $1MM, Fiscal Year 2013, $3MM, Fiscal Year 2014 $2MM, Fiscal Year 2016, $2.4MM

Community Services Unlimited, Inc.

Community Services Unlimited, Inc. (CSU) was established in 1977 and headquartered in South Central Los Angeles. Since then it has created community programs and organizing campaigns like the early Safe Seniors to the more recent Free Medical Screening Program and the most recent From the Ground Up! CSU is using HFFI financing to support its Community Food Village Project, Growing Healthy Program, and From the Ground Up! which have been developed in response to needs expressed by community members.
 
The Growing Healthy program engages youth in urban farming and food based learning to help them adopt a healthier lifestyle and develop an awareness of the food access and environmental justice issues impacting their communities. From The Ground Up! is an apprenticeship program that offers at-risk youth training and mentorship in farming, gardening and entrepreneurial skills. Through the Village Market Place, they sell and distribute fresh "beyond organic" produce from CSU's urban mini-farms and local farmers. In 2006, CSU hosted a Sustainable Transport Collective training and converted a diesel school bus to run on recycled vegetable oil.
 
Projected Impacts

  • Support local farmers and improve local corner markets in the food desert of South Los Angeles
  • Create full-time jobs (9) and offer skills training to local residents
  • Expand CSU’s Village Market Place social enterprise to carry out activities that go beyond selling fresh produce Create permanent, full-time jobs (13) in the food retail, food processing, restaurant, and catering industries
  • Create permanent, full-time jobs (13) in the food retail, food processing, restaurant, and catering industries

Source of money: HFFI CED Program; Fiscal Year(s): 2011, 2015

East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation

For more than 40 years, The East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU) has been improving the lives of individuals and families through community development, economic empowerment, and educational advancement. TELACU is the largest Community Development Corporation in the United States.
 
The East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU) is using HFFI financning to support a low-interest loan for Titan Foods, Inc. to improve access to affordable and healthy foods in Commerce City, a section of East Los Angeles that is underserved by grocery retail. Commerce City has more than double the national unemployment rate and this project will create 33 new, permanent, full-time jobs, the majority of which will be filled by low-income individuals, including CalWORKS/TANF recipients, non-custodial parents, and at-risk youth. The project will substantially improve the community's access and consumption of healthy foods, while improving the local economy.
 
Projected Impacts

  • Renovation of 17,910 sq. ft. building
  • Purchase of inventory, equipment, and working capital
  • 33 new, full-time, permanent jobs created

Source of money: HFFI CED Program; Fiscal Year(s): 2011

El Pájaro Community Development Corporation

Established in 1979, El Pajaro CDC (EPCDC) recognized a need among Latino Spanish-speaking business owners to gain access to various sources of financial aid.  While developing small business and micro-enterprises through a variety of strategies, the organization carries out its mission of promoting equal access to economic opportunity. Based in Watsonville in California’s Pajaro Valley, EPCDC will use HFFI funding to construct a new food processing and distribution facility.
 
Projected Impacts
•    Install equipment to add two production lines to the commercial kitchen
•    Improvements to the berry cooling and processing space
•    Create 32 new, full-time jobs 
 
Source of money: HFFI CED Program; Fiscal Year(s): 2015

​​​​​​​Mandela MarketPlace, Inc.

Based in Oakland, California Mandela MarketPlace is a non-profit Community Development Corporation, incorporated in 2004, that works in partnership with local residents, family farmers, and community-based businesses to improve health, create wealth, and build assets through cooperative food enterprises in low income communities.  Through community organizing, education, business cultivation, and ‘ladder-up’ financing, community members engage in the development, operation, and ownership of a local economy and sustainable food system.
 
Mandela MarketPlace is using HFFI financing to support a revolving loan fund for business expansion. The two initial businesses to receive loans are Mandela Food Cooperative and Earth's Produce Distribution.

Projected Impacts

  • Establishment of a $115,000 revolving loan fund to incubate healthy food-related social enterprise
  • Increase sales of healthy foods at Mandela Foods Cooperative (MFC) by 50% to $1.5 million annually
  • Earth's Produce Distribution will use the loan to increase delivery and consumption of fresh produce by 800,000 pounds annually
  • Create 6 new jobs and 5 ownership positions by opening a grocery store and café in urban low-income, low-access community
  • Support under-resourced, local farmers through creation of an urban wholesale produce distribution enterprise

Source of money: HFFI CED Program; Fiscal Year(s): 2013
 

​​​​​​​Nonprofit Finance Fund

As one of the nation's leading community development financial institutions, Nonprofit Finance Fund ® (NFF®) makes millions of dollars in loans to nonprofits and pushes for fundamental improvement in how money is given and used in the sector.

Through their 7 offices, NFF also speaks out, writes, and conducts research to help advocate for positive change nationwide. As the only national CDFI focused exclusively on nonprofits, NFF has lent over $250 million and leveraged $1.4 billion of capital investment on behalf of their clients. In partnership with others, NFF has generated $16 million for nonprofits for building reserves, cash reserves and endowments through our multiyear asset-building service, Building For the Future (BFF). They also provided $1.2 million in loan guarantees, $10.3 million in 9/11 recovery grants, about $13 million in capital grants, and $2 million in planning grants.

The Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) uses HFFI financing to offer healthy food retail outlets coupled with education and outreach programs that promote food purchasing behavior change in low-income communities.

HFFI Projects

  • LA Kitchen, Los Angeles, CA
    • NFF provided a $2.0 million startup loan for tenant improvements in 2015.
    • Location: Urban
    • Type: distribution of senior meals, & healthy retail snacks, plus culinary job training program, and food processing/food recovery.
    •  Amount Leveraged: $1 million of private grants and program- related investments.
  • City Slicker Farms, Oakland, CA
    • NFF provided a $400,000 bridge loan in 2015
    • Location: Urban
    • Type: Farmstand, urban farm and park
    • Amount Leveraged: $4.0 million government grant

Source of money: HFFI CDFI-Financial Assistance Program; Fiscal Year(s): 2012

Northern California Community Loan Fund

NCCLF is a nonprofit organization committed to California’s low-income communities. For more than 30 years, they have partnered with socially conscious impact investors and mission-driven organizations to support low-income communities’ need for housing, education, healthcare, food, jobs and economic opportunity. NCCLF provides loans and working capital as well as consulting and technical assistance so that mission-driven organizations can achieve their vision of financially secure and culturally vibrant communities. By investing in NCCLF’s loan fund, impact investors achieve their vision of realizing financial returns while funding social good. By bringing together investors, community organizations, and NCCLF’s expertise, they invest in opportunity, together. 

NCCLF is the administrator of California FreshWorks, which supports enterprises that increase healthy food access in California's low-income, low-access communities, through a combination of financing, investment, technical assistance and targeted human capital.   

HFFI Projects and Impacts

  • NCCLF recently closed $3.4MM in financing for People's Community Market, to construct a 14,174 square foot grocery store in West Oakland
  • Create (60) new jobs, at least 75% of which will be filled by low-income local residents

Source of money: HFFI CDFI-Financial Assistance Program; Fiscal Year(s): 2016, 2017
Fiscal Year 2016, $3MM, Fiscal Year 2017, $2MM

Poverty Solutions, Inc.

Based in Los Angeles, California, Poverty Solutions, Inc. (PSI) will use its $800,000 grant from the HFFI HHS program to make loans to nine healthy-food businesses, including the expansion of the Compton Tartar Farmers Market to open a mini-food hub at a location in Compton that formerly housed a different farmers market, as well as Optimal Foods, a fresh food service contractor that distributes healthy lunches to schools. Through these nine businesses, the project will create 60 new, full-time jobs.
 
Projected Impacts

  • Make loans to (9) newly opening or improved healthy-food businesses
  • Create (60) new full-time jobs

Source of money: HFFI CED Program; Fiscal Year(s): 2015

Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance

In 2013, Stanislaus Economic Development and Workforce Alliance (The Alliance) received $800,000 dollars from the HFFI HHS program to develop the Turlock Supermarket Project through a public-private partnership with NUCP Turlock, LLC and Mi Pueblos Supermarket. The supermarket will be located in California's Central Valley, an area that produces half the fresh foods and vegetables in the U.S. but leaves many local, low-income residents without access to healthy, fresh food. This project will also create 40 jobs for residents from Turlock and surrounding areas.
 
Projected Impacts

  • Establishment of a Hispanic-oriented supermarket
  • 40 jobs created

Source of money: HFFI CED Program; Fiscal Year(s): 2013

The East Los Angeles Community Union

For more than 40 years, The East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU) has been improving the lives of individuals and families through community development, economic empowerment, and educational advancement. TELACU is the largest Community Development Corporation in the United States.
 
The East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU) is using HFFI financning to support a low-interest loan for Titan Foods, Inc. to improve access to affordable and healthy foods in Commerce City, a section of East Los Angeles that is underserved by grocery retail. Commerce City has more than double the national unemployment rate and this project will create 33 new, permanent, full-time jobs, the majority of which will be filled by low-income individuals, including CalWORKS/TANF recipients, non-custodial parents, and at-risk youth. The project will substantially improve the community's access and consumption of healthy foods, while improving the local economy.
 
Projected Impacts

  • Renovation of 17,910 sq. ft. building
  • Purchase of inventory, equipment, and working capital
  • 33 new, full-time, permanent jobs created

Source of money: HFFI CED Program; Fiscal Year(s): 2011

State & Local Policy Efforts

California FreshWorks Fund

In July 2011, following an earlier effort to enact AB 581, the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative passed by Governor Brown, the state launched a new model for financing healthy food access for the more than 1 million Californians living without ready access to fresh, healthy food. With celebration from former First Lady Michelle Obama and leadership and investment from the philanthropic sector, The California Endowment and partners launched the California FreshWorks Fund (CAFWF).

CAFWF, a public-private partnership loan fund, spurs economic development and inspires innovation in healthy food retailing by providing loan and grant financing to grocery stores and other eligible healthy food access projects. In its first iteration, CAFWF raised more than $273 million, including leveraged funding from the federal HFFI, and was administered by Capital Impact Partners, a CDFI. Currently, the Northern California Community Loan Fund, another California-based CDFI, is serving as the lead administrator of the program, in partnership with a diverse range of investors, advisers and partners. Emerging Markets serves as the program’s food access organization, responsible for sourcing loan and grant opportunities.

To date, the CAFWF has supported nearly 58 projects serving urban and rural communities across the state, increased access for more than 800,000 Californians and created or retained 1,600 jobs.

  • To learn more about the impact of the California FreshWorks Fund, read this three-part evaluation commissioned by The California Endowment here.

For a full understanding of Healthy Food Financing Initiatives from advocacy to implementation, see The Food Trust’s Healthy Food Financing Handbook.

To find examples of other federal, state, and local policy efforts and initiatives -- as well as financing opportunities -- by going to Find Money & Policy Efforts by State.