Colorado Launches its Fresh Food Financing Fund
Seeded with a $7.1 million investment from the Colorado Health Foundation, the Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F) will enable food retailers to provide fresh, healthy food in underserved Colorado communities. A public-private partnership fund, CO4F will make financing available for grocers that offer affordable and nutritious foods in areas where such goods are scarce.
Modeled after successful, national programs and aligned with the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative, CO4F is designed to:
- Improve retail access to fresh and healthy foods in Colorado
- Encourage economic development in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods
- Provide attainable financing to food retail outlets that will promote better food access
- Partner with local governments when possible to enhance benefits and successes
- Develop a Colorado model based upon national best practices
The statewide fund is the first of its kind in Colorado and was developed in response to recommendations from the Denver Food Access Task Force. CO4F aims to remove financial barriers from the construction, expansion, and renovation of grocery stores in underserved areas. For more information go to Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund.
- Learn more: Denver Healthy Food Access Initiative
- Read the policy recommendations: Denver Food Access Task Force recommendations
As of August 2016, the CO4F has awarded more than $2.3 million to a variety of projects that serve communities in urban and rural Colorado including full service grocery stores, urban farms, mobile markets and more. A recent evaluation of the program by the Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health, Research and Evaluation found that the program was meeting its goals. 89 percent of shoppers at funded stores said since CO4F has invested in their community, they have better access to healthy food. CO4F-supported business owners reported increased sales and lower energy costs. Key stakeholders of the program applaud the geographic diversity of projects funded and note that no loans have defaulted. The Colorado Health Foundation recently awarded CHFA a $600,000 grant to support CO4F operations for an additional two years.
Colorado Enterprise Fund
The Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) is a partner in The Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund (CO4F) and is using its HFFI grant to finance food production, small grocery retail, and innovative healthy food businesses, including farmers markets, bodegas, food carts, and produce stands. Expert small business lenders, CEF provides loans for equipment purchases, energy efficiency improvements, and leasehold improvements. CEF lends to all segments of the food system to foster healthy food access and economic development. You can find more information about the CEF here.
Source of money: HFFI CDFI Program
For a full understanding of Healthy Food Financing Initiatives from advocacy to implementation, see The Food Trust’s Healthy Food Financing Handbook.