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USDA Partners With Reinvestment Fund to Invest in New Mexico Organizations to Increase Equitable Access to Healthy Foods

Name
Ernie Watson
Phone
City
Albuquerque, NM
Release Date
Jun 09, 2022

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., June 9, 2022 – USDA Rural Development New Mexico State Director Patricia Dominguez 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. Five projects are awarded in New Mexico.

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’s commitment to rural communities extends beyond infrastructure, business, or even housing,” said Dominguez. “Access to healthy food is a key component to ensuring a community is livable and enjoys sustainable living and growth. The investments we’re partnering on today support this vision for rural New Mexico.”

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.

In New Mexico, five projects are awarded:

  • In Dixon, the Dixon Cooperative Market (DCM), a for-profit cooperative, provides fresh food access and sources produce and eggs from local farmers and crafts from local artisans, including many woman-owned and Hispanic-owned small farms and Native American artisans. HFFI will support DCM to expand operations by designing and constructing an addition on the rear of the existing building to provide storage capacity for both shelf stable and perishable foods, as well as to add a ramp and loading dock.
  • In Zuni Pueblo, First Nations Development Institute, a national, Native-controlled nonprofit, aims to reduce the “last mile” of food supply chains between Native food producers and Native families. The goals of the "Strengthening the Zuni Tribal Community Food Supply Chain" project are to increase jobs and producers’ profits, increase food budget dollars and the amount of locally-produced food within the community, and to shorten the food supply chain. With support from HFFI, First Nations will work with prior HFFI grantee Major Market to increase energy efficiency at the market site, and to source regional and indigenous food products, including local meat.
  • In Albuquerque, Manuel’s Food Market is a neighborhood grocer that offers healthy, local produce and staple food items, serves as a community hub, and acts as a historic landmark to preserve the rich culture and heritage of Martineztown. The grocer seeks to partner with local farmers to bring the fresh, local produce to the store by offering grocery retail, a commercial kitchen to prepare healthy meals, and providing weekly produce subscription boxes which are subsidized by USDA food assistance programs. HFFI funds will support necessary building renovation and store improvements serve the local community better.
  • Also in Albuquerque, Three Sisters Kitchen (TSK) is a multi-use community food education center, housing a local foods shop and café, commercial test kitchens for food business training and incubation, community dining rooms for meals and events, and demonstration kitchens for community food education in downtown Albuquerque. TSK will leverage HFFI funds to expand the existing local foods shop retail space, providing healthy, local food retail year-round.
  • In Taos, Taos Food Coop, a community-based not-for-profit grocery store and wholesale buying group, seeks to provide healthy foods and fresh organic produce at the lowest possible prices and to provide a wider variety of fresh, wholesome foods that are ready-to-eat. HFFI funds will support the cooperative in expanding its capacity and pilot a new food delivery program that will better serve customers in the community.

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