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USDA Partners with Reinvestment Fund to Invest $650,000 to Increase Equitable Access to Healthy Foods Across Missouri

Name
Antonia Varner
Phone
City
Columbia
Release Date
Jun 09, 2022

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

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director Kyle Wilkens today announces that the Department has partnered with Reinvestment Fund to invest $650,000 to improve access to healthy foods in underserved communities in Missouri. 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. 

“USDA Rural Development is assisting with the creation of local food systems that benefit Missouri communities that are in need of finding fresh, healthy food,” Wilkens said. “Rural Development is proud to partner with Reinvestment Fund to assist communities in Missouri where nutritious food options are needed most."

Today’s announcement includes investments that will support 4 projects in Missouri.

A Red Circle (ARC) is a collaborative, community-based non-profit organization in St. Louis, works to promote economic development through a racial equity lens. HFFI funds will support ARC with the development process of a new community grocery store in the predominately Black community of North St. Louis County, where closed Shop n' Save Stores have left a gap in access to food.

Be Well Marketplace (BWM) is a community food project under development in St. Louis that will include a grocery store, cafe, incubator kitchen, and a permanent farmers' market. Grant funding will support the renovation and fit-out of a historic building into the BWM.

City Greens Market was founded by a group of Black women to bring healthier food options produced by local family-operated farms into their neighborhood. HFFI funds will support a project focused on engaging in a robust community outreach effort, revamping the store, and enhancing product sourcing from women and BIPOC-owned businesses in the St. Louis region.

Kortney O'Dell LLC was founded with the intent to make healthier products more accessible and affordable to communities that do not otherwise have access. The company operates Community Groceries, a food retail store in the Crossroads neighborhood of Kansas City, with a focus on healthy options. Support from HFFI will expand the business model by helping to open two additional grocery stores in underserved Kansas City neighborhoods.

Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI)

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.

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