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 Bob Morgan announced today that the Department has partnered with Reinvestment Fund to invest $970,000 to improve access to healthy foods in underserved communities in Pennsylvania.
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,” Morgan 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.”
In Pennsylvania the following projects received investments:
- Edinboro Market Inc. in Oil City, Pa., received a $120,000 grant to support three retail markets in Northwest Pennsylvania. The markets will collaborate to expand and enhance existing informal aggregation and distribution efforts, increasing access to a wide variety of healthy foods for consumers while simultaneously building sales for small farms and food producers in the region. HFFI grant funding will help to address the initial, critical tasks of coordination, refrigeration, and developing routes to best accommodate multiple producers.
- No Dirt Farms LLC in Erie, Pa., received a grant of $175,000 to certify a automated hydroponics farm that is female-owned and operated. NDF is developing The West Side Market on Powell, a year-round indoor market located in west Erie that will renovate a building to create an innovative local market for regional farms and producers. HFFI funding will be used to transform a 5,400 square foot commercial building into an innovative eco-friendly local grocery store.
- Freeman Family Farm & Greenhouse in Pittsburgh, Pa., received a grant of $175,000. The Freeman Family Farm and Greenhouse is a minority owned business located in historically black community in Pittsburgh. HFFI funds will support Freeman Family Farm to build capacity to develop and establish a retail food space on their property to serve the community with fresh food for retail sale.
- Salems Market Centre Ave LLC in Pittsburgh, Pa., received a grant of $200,000. SMCA operates a full-service Halal grocery store that has served the Pittsburgh region for over 40 years. With Support from HFFI, SMCA will renovate the now vacant former Shop 'N Save in the historic Hill District neighborhood. This project will reactivate a former grocery store that has been vacant since it went out of business in 2019.
- Power Plant Market in Philadelphia, Pa., received a grant of $100,000. The Philadelphia Power Market is a new project in a historically low-income, predominantly African-American residential neighborhood in north Philadelphia, which seeks to have a positive, invigorating impact on the neighborhood as BlPOC vendors and entrepreneurs are given priority and support, and high-quality fresh produce is made affordable and accessible. HFFI funds will support predevelopment costs to contribute to the project's development.
- Weavers Way Co-op in Philadelphia, Pa., received a grant of $200,000. Weavers Way Co-op is a consumer-owned cooperative in Northwest Philadelphia that is committed to community betterment around food, health and education. HFFI funds will be used to support the opening of a new location of a full-service, community-owned grocery store in the ethnically diverse neighborhood of Germantown in order to better serve the co-op's membership. In addition, the co-op will provide community engagement and education opportunities on site at its new location.
Today’s announcement also includes investments that will support 134 projects in rural, urban and Tribal communities in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. You can read the national announcement here.
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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