Since 2009, PolicyLink, The Food Trust, and Reinvestment Fund have led a national effort to raise awareness of the issue of limited food access in many communities across America. To date, multiple federal, state, and local governments and philanthropies have supported healthy food financing policies and initiatives.
Initial federal HFFI programs were through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Economic Development (CED) Program and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund and supported various healthy food initiatives that are designed to meet locally determined community needs and priorities. These HFFI programs have provided grants and loans to help construct new and renovated grocery stores, farmers markets, corner stores, food hubs, and urban farms. In addition, several states and municipalities have developed HFFI programs based on the public-private model of investment in food access.
The 2014 Farm Bill created a new Healthy Food Financing Initiative within USDA, to be administered by a CDFI. This program, called America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative, is managed by Reinvestment Fund. It has offered direct grants and technical assistance to eligible healthy food retail projects and food enterprises since 2019. America’s HFFI is expanding to provide additional funding (grants and loans) to eligible projects and grant funding to Partnerships and other intermediaries.