Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs will be updated frequently with additional content and relevant resources. Last updated: October 20, 2023

Am I eligible for the HFFI Partnerships Program?

The HFFI Partnerships Program is for local, state, or regional food financing funds/programs that are providing loans, grants, and technical assistance to food retail and food enterprise businesses. Partnerships (two or more entities) are eligible to apply (not individual entities). One of the entities must be a public entity. A Partnership is a regional, state, or local public-private partnership that is organized to improve access to fresh, healthy foods and provides financial and technical assistance to eligible projects.

The HFFI Partnership Program is not intended for individual food retail projects that need capital for their store, even if they have a partnership. There will be future funding available for food retail and food enterprise projects.

For more information about eligibility for the HFFI Partnerships Program, please review the full Request for Applications and Frequently Asked Questions document available at


How does this program differ from other programs called HFFI?

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.


Is there current funding available for my food retail or food enterprise project?

New funding opportunities for healthy food access projects and partnerships will be available later this year. To be notified when these opportunities become available, you can sign up for our mailing list at

We hope to make HFFI opportunities available again in the future, possibly on an annual basis, depending on funding availability. There is no guarantee of future funding.


What is an underserved area?

The term “underserved area” is defined by Section 6015 of the 2008 Farm Bill, as a community (including an urban or rural community and an Indian tribal community) that has: limited access to affordable, healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, in grocery retail stores or farmer-to-consumer direct markets; and a high rate of hunger or food insecurity or a high poverty rate. To satisfy the project requirements for the HFFI TSG Program, an underserved area must be:

  1. In a Census tract determined to be a Low-Income and Low-Supermarket-Access Census Tract by the United States Department of Agriculture in its Food Access Research Atlas;
  2. OR in a Census tract adjacent to a Census tract determined to be a Low-Income and Low-Supermarket-Access Census Tracts by the United States Department of Agriculture in its Food Access Research Atlas; and which has a median family income less than or equal to 120 percent of the applicable Area Median Family Income;
  3. OR in a Geographic Unit as defined in 12CFR Part 1805.201(b)(3)(ii)(B), which—meets the criteria as having low access to supermarket or grocery store through a methodology that has been adopted for use by another government or philanthropic healthy food initiative, or demonstrates other criteria describing low access to supermarket or grocery stores for an underserved community.

For more information on underserved areas and location eligibility, please navigate to


If I was an applicant that wasn’t selected for a previous HFFI grant award, will I be eligible in the future?

Specific eligibility requirements will be described in Request for Applications (RFA) of the relevant opportunity.

For the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants Program, geographic eligibility requirements are updated with each RFA release to reflect the most recent Low Income, Low Supermarket Access (LILA) census tract-level data from the 2021 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Access Research Atlas. As a result, some applicants who were previously eligible in previous grant rounds may no longer be located in census-tracts that are eligible Underserved Areas for the 2021 Targeted Small Grants Program grant round.

To determine your eligibility, please review the RFA of the specific program to which you are interested in applying.


How can I get involved with HFFI?

Please sign up for our mailing list at to be informed of future opportunities to support HFFI.


How can I find an HFFI program or resources in my area?

The Healthy Food Access Portal provides a wide variety of resources, data, and policy information to support healthy food access projects around the country.


Should I look for HFFI applications in

No, you cannot apply for this program using Applications to this program will go through Reinvestment Fund’s online grants portal.