State & Local Policy Efforts
Illinois Fresh Food Fund
In 2007 the Illinois Food Marketing Task Force, convened by Voices for Illinois Children, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the Illinois Food Retailers Association, and The Food Trust, met to develop recommendations to overcome the barriers to supermarket and other fresh food retail access that plagues many communities throughout the state. This effort gave way to the Illinois Fresh Food Fund, a statewide grocery financing program designed to increase access to healthy foods in underserved communities in Illinois. This new program was one of the 10 policy recommendations put forth by the Task Force.
- Read the report that demonstrated the pressing need for supermarkets in Chicago and helped establish the task force: Special Report: The Need for More Supermarkets in Chicago.
- Learn more about the policy recommendation generated by the task force that led to the creation of the statewide fund: Stimulating Supermarket Development in Illinois: Healthier People, Healthier Communities
Governor Pat Quinn announced the launch of the new fund in 2012. The state worked with IFF, a community development financial institution (CDFI), to administer the program and provide initial funding for the initiative in the form of a $10-million grant. An additional $3 million in funding was secured by IFF through the national Healthy Food Financing Initiative.
In addition to healthy food retail, the program supports community engagement programs, including efforts to improve nutrition education, and nonprofits focused on healthy food production, distribution, access and education in underserved communities count on us for the capital solutions and real estate services they need to maintain, equip, improve, and expand their facilities. The program is modeled after the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, the New York Healthy Food and Healthy Communities Fund, and similar programs across the country. For more information, go to the Illinois Fresh Food Fund.
For a full understanding of Healthy Food Financing Initiatives from advocacy to implementation, see The Food Trust’s Healthy Food Financing Handbook.