Healthy Food Access Portal Profiles & Research Spotlights

Learn more about successful projects and research studies advancing healthy food access in the community:

State & Local Policy Efforts

Minnesota Good Food Access Fund

Building upon the efforts of the Minnesota Grocery Access Task Force, The American Heart Association and Blue Cross Blue Shield formed a coalition of local stakeholders to advocate for a state investment in the Minnesota Good Food Access Fund (GFAF). An initial public funding of $250,000 for the GFAF was written into law during Minnesota's 2016 legislative session. In addition to establishing permanent facilities for the sale of healthy, affordable food in areas of the state where better access to those foods is needed, an integral component of the Fund is the establishment of a Fund Advisory Committee. The GFAF Advisory Committee will assist the Commissioner of Agriculture in establishing program criteria, project eligibility guidelines, application processes and additional selection criteria, and annual monitoring and accountability mechanisms. The Advisory Committee will also facilitate leveraging of additional public and private investments, and promote the program statewide.

For more information on the Minnesota Good Food Access Fund, including updates on the application process, please click here.

The American Heart Association and partners are currently working to garner additional investment from the state for the GFAF to better address the barriers that lead to poorer access to healthy food across the state of Minnesota.

Background & Advocacy: Minnesota Grocery Access Task Force

The Minnesota Grocery Access Task Force, convened by the Greater Twin Cities United Way, the Minnesota Grocers Association, and The Food Trust, presented policy recommendations to support supermarkets and other fresh food retail in underserved neighborhoods at its final meeting in September 2012.

For a full understanding of Healthy Food Financing Initiatives from advocacy to implementation, see The Food Trust’s Healthy Food Financing Handbook.

Federal Policy Efforts (State-specific)

The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) used HFFI financing to establish the Immigrant Enterprise Healthy Foods Fund, which invests in immigrant-owned, food-related enterprises that hire local low-income residents of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Six projects are under development with financing from the fund: a Latino-owned grocery, a cooperative grocery, a producer-owned retail store, a Latino tamale manufacturer, a commercial kitchen for Hmong growers, and a produce warehouse to benefit both local producers and a purchasing cooperative of Mexican restaurants and grocery stores. This program will create over 40 new full-time jobs and increase access to healthy food in these two low-income areas, including two USDA food desserts. LEDC is also using HFFI financing to co-develop Wirth Cooperative Grocery and establish two mobile grocery stores to circulate in high-need low-income areas. These projects respond to the nutritional needs of low-income residents, provide sales opportunities for immigrant farmers, and are expected to create an additional 38 new jobs. You can find more information here.

Source of money: HFFI CED Program

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is a national community development financial institution (CDFI) founded in 1979 with a mission to build healthy, sustainable neighborhoods that are communities of choice: good places to work, do business, and raise children. LICS takes a holistic approach to improving community health in underserved places by promoting better housing, education and job opportunities. LISC targets work to shore up fundamental resource every neighborhood needs to keep resident well: easy access to primary health care, affordable, nutritious food and safe recreation spaces. LISC has offices in 32 cities and works with 86 rural partners serving over 2,000 counties in 44 states. 

LISC uses HFFI financing to expand healthy food options in low-supermarket access areas throughout the nation including Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Indianapolis, and Rhode Island. We offer low-cost loans for the development of healthy food retail outlets, which have range from full-service grocery stores to farmers markets.

Projected Impacts
East Side Food Coop, Minneapolis, MN, $825,000 loan

  • Expansion of existing food coop to increase its footprint by 49%, from 11,990 square feet to 17,800 square feet, and double the size of its retail sales floor from 4,150 to 8,000 square feet, allowing the store to expand its produce and other items, open a café with seating, add parking, and improve delivery access.
  • Retain 77 employees and add 45 full-time positions, hiring residents from the community

Source of money: HFFI CDFI-Financial Assistance Program; Fiscal year(s): 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Fiscal Year 2012, $3MM, Fiscal Year 2013 ,$3MM, Fiscal Year 2014, $3MM, Fiscal Year 2016, $3MM, Fiscal Year 2017, $1.5MM

Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation (MMCDC) is using HFFI financing to expand the Seward Community Cooperative (Seward Co-op), an independent natural food grocery located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This business expansion project will develop a full-service grocery store in a low-income area designated as a food desert by the USDA. Moreover, this project will redevelop a former creamery manufacturing building that will serve as a production and central administration facility to increase Seward Co-op’s retail capacity. To further address food desert conditions, the Seward Co-op will be promoting their new Nourish Initiative. The Initiative will include free classes featuring healthy recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $10. This project will create a total of 104 new permanent jobs, including 69 full-time positions. You can find more information here.

Source of money: HFFI CED Program