State & Local Policy Efforts
Massachusetts Food Trust Program
In May 2017, the Massachusetts Food Trust Program received $1 million in Governor Charlie Baker’s capital spending plan to provide loans, grants, and technical assistance to support the development, renovation, and expansion of healthy food retailers and food enterprises in parts of the state that need them the most. In July 2017, Governor Baker signed the final FY18 budget into law, including $100,000 in administrative funds to implement the program.
Read more about the funding here.
Background and Advocacy
In 2014, the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill to establish the Massachusetts Food Trust Program, a healthy food financing program that would provide loans, grants, and technical assistance to support the development, renovation, and expansion of healthy food retailers and food enterprises in parts of the state that need them the most. This could include supermarkets, corner stores, farmers markets, and mobile markets, as well as community kitchens, greenhouses, and food distribution hubs. The measure was included in an Environmental Bond Bill and signed into law in 2014 by Governor Patrick.
The program was created in response to the recommendations of the Massachusetts Grocery Access Task Force and the advocacy of convening partners, including the Massachusetts Public Health Association, the Massachusetts Food Association, The Boston Foundation, and The Food Trust. The task force met over the course of 2012 and developed policy recommendations to support supermarkets and other fresh food retail in underserved areas across the state.
Authorizing the program marked an important milestone in the state’s commitment to improving food access in areas of need. After four years of tireless advocacy by task force members and partners across the state, in July 2016, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the FY17 Operating Budget, which included $100,000 in dedicated funding to the Massachusetts Food Trust program and an Economic Development bond bill authorizing $6 million for the program’s capital expenses before releasing $1 million in the FY18 Capital Investment Plan in July 2017.