Reinvestment Fund not too long ago introduced $22.6 million in monetary help awards to 134 tasks by means of the 2021 spherical of America’s Wholesome Meals Financing Initiative’s (HFFI) Focused Small Grants Program. Funding for the HFFI grants program is offered by the US Division of Agriculture (USDA), approved by the 2014 Farm Invoice. This system supplies one-time catalytic investments in tasks that may enhance entry to recent, wholesome meals by creating and increasing recent meals retail and meals enterprises.
The 2021 spherical is the most important for the reason that program launched in 2018. The 2021 Request for Purposes (RFA) initially made $4 million accessible by means of this system. The pool was expanded to $22.6 million by the USDA, on account of the $155 million in extra assets for the HFFI program introduced by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in Early June underneath the USDA’s framework for remodeling the meals system. With this funding, the HFFI program will work with stakeholders towards realizing the expanded imaginative and prescient for this system that begins to deal with the complexity of meals entry in communities throughout America.
“The Biden-Harris Administration and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are dedicated to creating native and regional meals programs that profit all People, from farmers and ranchers to small companies and households who at present should journey a great distance from dwelling to search out recent, wholesome meals ,” mentioned USDA Rural Improvement Below Secretary Xochitl Torres Small. “USDA is proud to accomplice with Reinvestment Fund to make sure that these assets attain the communities the place they’re wanted most, so folks can discover nutritious meals choices wherever they stay.”
Because the Nationwide Fund Supervisor, reinvestment fund administers the HFFI program on behalf of USDA. The general public-private partnership goals to offer capability constructing and financing assets to stimulate meals enterprise improvement at scale and construct a extra equitable meals system that helps the well being and financial vibrancy of all People.
“The legacy of racist insurance policies like redlining and the ensuing disinvestment proceed to hurt communities in so some ways, together with by means of the shortage of entry to wholesome, inexpensive meals,” mentioned
Don Hinkle-Brown, President and CEO of Reinvestment Fund. “We’re honored to work with the USDA to deal with a few of these historic injustices by means of the HFFI program by investing in meals programs property that not solely improve meals entry in underserved communities however enhance well being, strengthen native economies, develop wealth and high quality jobs, and develop important neighborhood anchors.”
Awardees had been chosen by means of a aggressive course of that was open to eligible recent meals retail tasks and meals enterprises searching for monetary help to beat the upper prices and preliminary limitations to working in underserved areas. This system acquired 566 Letters of Curiosity submissions to the RFA in December 2021. Primarily based on eligibility, 359 candidates had been invited to submit full functions in January 2022, with 294 last functions acquired by the deadline in March 2022.
Awardee tasks are positioned 46 states, along with Puerto Rico and Washington DC. Of the 134 grant awardees45% serve rural communities and 81% are owned or led by folks of colour, girls, and/or native folks. Of the awardees, 69% are grocery retail tasks. One other 31% of awardees supply various retail fashions together with cell markets, CSAs or meals containers.
Awardees embody 4 tasks in Georgia:
- Atlanta Harvest, an city farm and retail market serving the higher Atlanta area. Positioned in Ellenwood, Clayton County, Atlanta Harvest plans to make use of its HFFI grant to help the Deliver Farms Again undertaking, to construct a brick-and-mortar retail meals retailer, and increase cell supply of quite a lot of recent and inexpensive meals.
- Clinch Memorial Hospital (CMH) is a 25-bed crucial entry hospital serving rural southeast Georgia. To beat limitations to wholesome consuming and improve entry to recent produce in pockets of maximum poverty countywide, CMH will accomplice with Retaaza on an modern mannequin to attach residents experiencing starvation and meals insecurity to native surplus produce that will in any other case be wasted. HFFI funds will assist help the launch of a cell market that may promote “simply in time” staple and perishable meals to underserved rural areas.
- UGROW, Inc is a non-profit group that connects folks to meals and empowers them to stay wholesome lives. UGROW will construct a Meals Innovation Hub to extend entry to recent native meals, facilitate food-centered teaching programs, and turn out to be a catalyst for modern entrepreneurship alternatives for the Columbus neighborhood, particularly the underserved as an growth of UGROW’s present work. An HFFI grant will help a part of the general development.
- West Georgia Farmers Cooperative (WGFC) is a 50+ yr outdated agricultural co-op in West Georgia that has historically consisted of Black farmers. WGFC members work to construct alternatives by means of native meals programs and wealth by means of cooperative economics. HFFI funds will assist increase WGFC’s present operations by means of the development of a brand new co-op grocery retailer and industrial kitchen in an underserved space of Troup County. It’ll additionally help upgrades to WGFC’s present meals hub.
The 2021 HFFI program supplied monetary help within the type of one-time grants to meals retailers and meals enterprises that aimed to strengthen, increase, and innovate throughout the meals retail provide chain. This system assists quite a lot of organizations, enterprise fashions, and capital wants of ventures that course of, distribute, combination, market, and promote wholesome, recent, and inexpensive meals to underserved communities and markets. To be taught in regards to the HFFI program and see a full record of awardees, please go to www.investinginfood.com.