U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Ohio State Director Jonathan McCracken announced today that the Department will invest nearly $1.3 million to improve access to healthy foods in underserved communities across Ohio. The investments are being made through USDA’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), which helps bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved urban and rural communities. The awards will be administered by the Reinvestment Fund.
“The HFFI program ensures that all Ohioans, no matter where they live, have access to healthy, nutritious food.” said McCracken. “These projects demonstrate our commitment to increasing investment in underserved communities and promoting local and regional food systems.”
- The Corporation for Findlay Markey manages the historic Findlay Market, the primary grocery store & community gathering space for many individuals living in downtown Cincinnati. HFFI funds will support the build out of an aggregation site for the market's shopping app, and a new mini-market that will sell EBT-eligible items and provide delivery services to customers.
- Homefull Healthy Living works to end homelessness by providing housing, services, advocacy, and education in West Dayton. Homefull Healthy Living is a planned new construction mixed-use project, which will include a full-service grocery store, regional food hub, farmers market, healthcare clinic, pharmacy, community education center. HFFI funds will support the grocery component of this development.
- Keller Market House in Lancaster supplies local alternatives to traditional grocery store products while empowering locally owned food and agricultural operators in east central Ohio, a predominantly rural community. HFFI will assist with a project to expand physical retail space and provide an enhanced retail experience that would broaden the customer base to underserved areas of the county.
- Local Roots Market & Café is a cooperatively owned organization with a mission of connecting producers and consumers with locally grown foods in Wooster. HFFI grant funds will enable financing for the acquisition of a new location that would allow Local Roots to expand their retail and operational space, and partner with more producers to offer a greater variety of products to consumers.
- Paing Family Asian Grocery, the oldest Asian grocery on the Brown Street corridor of the South Akron neighborhood, is owned by Burmese refugees who resettled to Akron in 2013. In the two years since, they have improved service to the Akron's large Asian-born community by expanding inventory, increasing the range of products, and adding weekly delivery of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs specific to Asian dietary tastes, and offering difficult-to-find items, particularly those sought after by Akron's Asian refugee households. To accommodate the growth of the business, the grocery will leverage HFFI funds and additional capital in making significant repairs and renovations to their building that will allow the store to better serve the local community.
- Queen Mother’s Market Cooperative (QMMC) will be a worker and community-owned grocery store whose concept originated from the residents of Walnut Hills in direct response to the closing of the local Kroger. QMMC will operate an 11,700 square foot full-service grocery store as part of a major housing/retail redevelopment project located at Pebbles Corner in Walnut Hills, a historically Black and underserved neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio. An HFFI grant will support interior fit-out costs.
- The Community Builders (TCB), one of America's leading nonprofit housing organizations, has developed Avondale Town Center, a commercial redevelopment project in an underserved neighborhood of Cincinnati. The development includes a federally qualified health center, a laundromat, and other retail owned and operated by Avondale-based black entrepreneurs. HFFI grant funds will support the fit-out of the grocery retail tenant to open an accessible, sustainable grocery store.
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.