Guest Post by Molly Hartman, Program Director, Healthy Food Financing Initiative, Reinvestment Fund
For over a decade, CDFIs have worked to improve equity in access to healthy food and economic opportunity in urban and rural communities nationwide. This year, with support from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Reinvestment Fund is pleased to share news of the availability of $1.8 million in financial and technical assistance for healthy food retail projects through the national Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI). HFFI aims to improve access to healthy food in underserved areas, to create and preserve quality jobs, and to revitalize low-income communities. Authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, HFFI is a public-private partnership administered by Reinvestment Fund on behalf of USDA Rural Development As National Fund Manager, Reinvestment Fund is working with long-standing partners to elevate the program, leverage local expertise and support more healthy food retail projects across the country in underserved areas.
The inaugural USDA HFFI grant program offers an opportunity for eligible healthy food retail projects to receive targeted financial or technical assistance. To be eligible for assistance, applicants must present a project that: plans to expand or preserve the availability of staple and perishable foods in underserved areas with low- and moderate-income populations; and accept or plan to accept benefits under the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP).
The program aims to support innovations in fresh food retail and to assist retailers with everything from store development, to renovation, and expansion, including predevelopment and store improvements.
Financial assistance grants will be made available through a competitive application process. Technical assistance awards will provide selected applicants with managerial, financial or operational consultation, as well as marketing and feasibility studies. Technical assistance is intended to support the development of early stage projects with the potential to improve healthy food access in an underserved area.
Reinvestment Fund will be hosting two webinars: December 13, 2018 at 2 p.m. ET and January 8, 2019 at 12 p.m. ET, to confirm details about the application process and answer questions. Registration is required to participate in one of these sessions. To register, applicants need to fill out the webinar registration form.
Don’t miss the opportunity to apply for financial and technical assistance through HFFI. The request for assistance (RFA) and additional information is available through www.investinginfood.com. Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for applications is February 14, 2019.