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USDA Partners With Reinvestment Fund to Invest $22.6 Million to Increase Equitable Access to Healthy Foods Across Country

Name
Philip Eggman
Phone
City
Olympia
Release Date
Jun 09, 2022

Financing Will Help Grocers, Markets and Other Organizations Provide Healthy Food Options to Underserved Communities

WASHINGTON, June 9, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small announced today that the Department has partnered with Reinvestment Fund to invest $22.6 million to improve access to healthy foods in underserved communities across the country.

The investments are being made through the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), which helps bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved urban and rural communities.

“The Biden-Harris Administration and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to creating local and regional food systems that benefit all Americans, from farmers and ranchers to small businesses and families who currently have to travel a long way from home to find fresh, healthy food,” Torres Small said. “USDA is proud to partner with Reinvestment Fund to ensure that these resources reach the communities where they are needed most, so people can find nutritious food options wherever they live.”

Today’s announcement includes investments that will support 134 projects in rural, urban and Tribal communities in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C, including four investments in Washington State.

For example:

  • East African Grocery is a family-owned store in Seattle. Funds will be used to enhance their business to improve access to food in the local community, by enhancing and improving the customer experience by sourcing new suppliers, upgrading equipment, and reconfiguring & repairing the building and its interior.
  • Rainier Beach Action Coalition (RBAC) is a place-based Black-led non-profit rooted in and stewarding its Neighborhood Plan. RBAC is developing The Food Innovation Center to support local farmers and food businesses in serving the community they represent by filling a major gap in infrastructure in the local food system for BIPOC communities. HFFI Grant funds will support the rehab and build out of a new facility that will be used to host cold and dry storage, community space, a permanent location for a farmers market and CSA Program, and support a BIPOC-centered local food system.
  • De La Mesa Farms, owned by a husband and wife team, had visions of one-day operating a "farm to table" store/deli which could offer the community access to a variety of fresh, healthy vegetables and local goods made with premium ingredients at affordable prices. HFFI funds will support design and construction of "La Milpa Market," an on-farm food retail store and community meeting space in Tacoma.
  • The Kitsap Community Food Co-op (KCFC) is a cooperatively owned business that operates a small grocery store specializing in fresh, local, and sustainable product. The HFFI grant will help KCFC upgrade their Point-of-Sale (POS) system to one that is purpose-built to support food co-ops, with the goal of increasing operational efficiency, improving inventory management and sales, improving the experience of both staff and customers, and ultimately increasing profitability through better margin management.

Background

Many low-income communities lack adequate, affordable access to healthy food. HFFI provides grants and loans to entities that offer healthy foods in communities that are underserved by grocery stores and other food retailers. The program increases access to healthy foods, provides new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers, stabilizes small and independent retailers, and creates quality jobs and economic opportunity in low-income communities.

Reinvestment Fund serves as the National Fund Manager for USDA. It raises capital; provides financial and technical assistance to regional, state and local partnerships; and helps fund projects to improve access to fresh, healthy foods in underserved areas.

Today’s announcement builds on Secretary Vilsack’s announcement that USDA is committing an additional $155 million to HFFI that will also be delivered it in partnership with the Reinvestment Fund.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.