Celebrating the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI)

16 Nov 2016 | PolicyLink, The Food Trust, Reinvestment Fund
Celebrating the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI)
Celebrating stories of community action, impact, and hope through images captured by Healthy Food Financing Initiative grantees working to foster access to healthy food, good jobs, and opportunities to thrive.
 
Six years ago, PolicyLink, Reinvestment Fund, and The Food Trust worked in partnership with community and public stakeholders to craft a federal response to address the inequitable access to healthy food in rural and urban communities. The effort resulted in the launch of the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) program in 2011 by the Departments of Treasury (through the CDFI Fund), Agriculture, and Health and Human Services.
 
In just five years, the HFFI program distributed over 100 awards in over 30 states to support projects that are improving healthy food access in communities across the country. Throughout the year, the Healthy Food Access Portal has shared success stories of healthy food access projects. To celebrate this important milestone in the movement to improve food access, grantees were invited to share their own stories of their HFFI projects in action, through both photography and video.
 
My HFFI Story features the inspiring work of 15 HFFI grantees who are responding with action, engagement, collaboration, and innovation to ensure all communities have access to healthy, affordable, and culturally appropriate food. Read, view, and watch their stories here: https://equityis.exposure.co/my-hffi-story
 
Cultivating Health, Wealth, And Entrepreneurship
Healthy food retail projects, from grocery stores, to mobile markets, and food hubs, can help to improve not only the physical health, but also the economic health and well-being of cities, neighborhoods, and historically disinvested regions. By financing healthy food-related projects, the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) has emerged as an important tool to cultivate small business development, cooperatively and worker-owned enterprises, and innovative entrepreneurship platforms for residents – a critical strategy to building – and keeping – health and wealth in community.
 
Featured projects include:
 
Building Community Anchors Through Healthy Food Access
For many neighborhoods, a grocery store represents more than just a place to buy food. Community-centered, grocery stores and other food retail businesses that offer healthy food options often serve as critical anchors of a community’s social, economic, and cultural fabric. And in the case for many historically disinvested communities, the (re)opening of a grocery store can offer a resounding affirmation that they, residents and their communities, matter.
 
Featured projects include:
 
Scaling Up HFFI – Reinvestment Fund
As one of the original architects of the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI), the model for the federal HFFI program, Reinvestment Fund is a community development financial institution (CDFI) and national leader in the financing of neighborhood revitalization. Since FFFI launched in 2004, Reinvestment Fund has taken a comprehensive approach to improving access to healthy, fresh food in low-income communities through the innovative use of capital and information.
 
Reinvestment Fund’s HFFI grants have supported a number of food retail projects that have revitalized neighborhoods across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region, including the ShopRite at Springfield Avenue Marketplace in Newark, New Jersey; ShopRite of Howard Park in Baltimore, Maryland; and Fare & Square in Chester, Pennsylvania.
 
Featured projects include:
 
Farm-to-Table Innovations
Growing efforts are pointing to the challenges along the entire food system – from production, processing, to distribution – that deeply impact what many communities experience downstream in the form of inequitable access to quality, affordable, healthy food. Across the country, communities are tackling these supply chain issues head on through innovative strategies to better link regional producers to rural and urban retail markets that are in most need.
 
Featured projects include:
 
All photos and videos are courtesy of the organizations featured in this media project.