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USDA Partners With Reinvestment Fund to Increase Equitable Access to Healthy Foods in Montana

Bozeman, Mont.
Release Date

BOZEMAN, Mont., April 18, 2024 – USDA Rural Development Montana State Director Kathleen Williams today announced USDA is partnering with Reinvestment Fund to help organizations strengthen local food financing programs and improve access to healthy foods in underserved communities in Montana.

“Everyone deserves access to healthy, affordable, locally grown food, no matter where they live,” said Williams. “We at USDA are proud to again partner with Mission West, Montana Department of Agriculture, and Hopa Mountain to help build the networks and capabilities of food hubs and food enterprises across Montana, especially in underserved areas. This project’s integration of credit enhancement services, business coaching, and capacity-building is testament to how Montana organizations truly understand needs and are strategizing on how to best meet them. We look forward to celebrating the many successes for local communities, health, and businesses this partnership will bring.”

Mission West Community Development Partners (MW), as a qualified lender, will leverage longstanding collaborative relationships with the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDOA) and Hopa Mountain to launch the Montana Local Food Financing Fund Partnership (MLFFFP). A key focus of the partnership is to address financial gaps and barriers for food hubs and related food enterprises in Montana. These businesses create economic opportunity in agricultural communities and expand food access for rural and underserved areas through the aggregation, processing, and distribution of local food. The partnership’s activities will enhance existing grant, loan, and capacity-building programs for food enterprises in Montana, including USDA’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program. Credit enhancement services will target HFFI-eligible areas and projects led by local food hubs and food enterprises that supply fresh, healthy food to retail outlets, institutions, and food access programs across Montana. In addition, the MLFFFP will deliver capacity-building services such as business planning and technical assistance to clients applying for grants and loans to launch or expand their businesses.

Reinvestment Fund has selected 16 public-private partnerships to receive $40.3 million in grants under the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Local & Regional Healthy Food Financing Partnerships Program to expand access to nutritious and affordable foods in 20 states and Washington, D.C. The Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) provides grants and loans to entities that offer healthy foods in communities that are underserved by grovery stores and other food retailers.

The 16 partnerships announced today represent 75 local organizations across the country. They will create or expand food financing programs and increase access to healthy food for people living in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.

full description of the partner organizations, their respective missions, and the communities they serve is available online.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the GovDelivery subscriber page.