From Sesame Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, everyone’s talking about food insecurity. Food insecurity is the umbrella term being used to describe a dense and precarious problem. Food insecurity is, in its simplest terms, the lack of access to food because of geography and/or money (1). More than 49 million families in the United States fit the definition, and they’re gaining more attention everyday.
One strategy being utilized to combat food insecurity is healthy food financing, as highlighted in the video above from the California FreshWorks Fund. California FreshWorks Fund has built a robust public-private partnership organization to fund their efforts (something we love to see!), but the Federal government is also taking action through the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI).
According the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, HFFI is, “loan and grant financing used to establish, expand, or renovate supermarkets, grocery stores, food cooperatives, farmers markets, and other food retail outlets in underserved low to mid-income communities in rural, suburban, and urban areas across America. (2)” Congress, with the support of President Barack Obama, first introduced the idea of an HFFI program back in 2011 and the program was funded again in the 2012. Since its launch, HFFI has allocated $77 million towards strategies that bring full-service grocery stores and farmers’ markets to low-income and underserved areas. Most importantly though, is the fact that HFFI projects are not only increasing access to healthy food; they are also creating new jobs, improving the overall health and well-being of communities, and sprouting new economic opportunities in areas of great decline.
President Obama has requested $285 million for HFFI for 2013, a stark reminder of last year when he requested $330 million in funding and only received $32 million from Congress. That’s where you and organizations like PolicyLink, The Food Trust, and The Reinvestment Fund come in. With budget talks scheduled this spring, you’ll want to connect with these organizations to learn more about how you can be involved in making sure healthy food financing remains in the budget and well funded for the future.
Learn more about HFFI and related programs by checking out our resources ——->
Is your community apart of an HFFI funded project? What types of strategies and policies has your community implemented to foster the development of new fresh food markets? Have you found and/or utilized resources other than HFFI funding to help increase access to new food markets and decrease rates of food insecurity in your community? Tell us your story today! Click the bubble above the video or “Leave a Reply” below!
Did You Know?
A entrepreneur in New Zealand is trying to make it easier than ever for local farmer’s to sell their products to local consumers. Check out Bucky Box and tell us what you think about their strategy!