A New Food Retailer, People’s Harvest Community Grocery Store, to Expand Healthy Food Access in North County

Erica Williams founded A Red Circle, a North St. Louis County, Missouri-based nonprofit, in 2017. A Red Circle promotes community betterment in North County through a racial equity lens. In 2022, the organization was awarded a Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) grant to support the development of its first grocery store project—a community-owned grocery store named People’s Harvest, which will include access to affordable groceries, cold storage space for Black farmers, a community learning space, and more.

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USDA Increases Investment in Farm Bill’s Healthy Food Financing

The Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s framework for shoring up the food supply chain and transforming the food system to be fairer, more competitive, and more resilient. USDA efforts to create more and better markets will benefit both producers and consumers, as well as address longstanding issues intensified by the pandemic. This framework includes an investment of $155 million to expand America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) with resources from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and other relief legislation. HFFI is administered by Reinvestment Fund on behalf of USDA Rural Development to improve access to healthy food in underserved areas.

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Building an Equitable Food System: America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative & other Tools for Increasing Food Access

Across the country, the shameful reality of limited access to healthy food plagues historically marginalized communities. It is an issue that is rooted in discriminatory policies and disinvestment, and is reflected in the 27.6 million people living in places with inequitable and inadequate access to healthy food, according to our research on supermarket access disparities in the contiguous United States. In cities like Atlanta, supermarket development has notoriously followed patterns of redlining, a discriminatory lending practice beginning in the 1930s, as retailers concentrated development in wealthy, white communities while avoiding low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

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