Established by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (commonly known as the Farm Bill), the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) is a public-private partnership administered by Reinvestment Fund on behalf of USDA Rural Development that seeks to improve access to healthy foods in underserved areas.
The program provides financial and technical assistance to eligible healthy food retail projects to overcome the higher costs and initial barriers to entry in underserved areas. Congress included $1 million in each of the Fiscal Year 2017 and Fiscal Year 2018 budgets to launch HFFI.
Now an initiative of USDA, HFFI has also been supported at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services since 2010. To date, HFFI has helped leverage more than $220 million in grants and an estimated $1 billion in additional financing. It has also supported nearly 1,000 grocery and other healthy food retail projects in more than 35 states across the country, revitalizing economies, creating jobs, and improving health.
HFFI has also been at the heart of a national effort by PolicyLink, Reinvestment Fund and The Food Trust to raise awareness on the issue of limited food access in many communities across America. Since 2009, the three organizations have been working closely to educate policymakers and other stakeholders on the need to improve access to healthy foods in low-income, underserved, rural, suburban and urban communities.