Learn more about successful projects and research studies advancing healthy food access in the community:
State & Local Policy Efforts
Healthy Food for Ohio (HFFO) Program
The Healthy Food for Ohio (HFFO) program supports the development of new and existing grocery stores and other healthy food retail in underserved areas throughout the state. In June 2015, Governor John Kasich signed the FY 2016-17 operating budget that included a $2 million provision of seed capital to create the statewide HFFO program. Since its launch in March 2016, the program has funded eight projects, providing healthy food retailers with financing for costs associated with land acquisition, predevelopment, construction, equipment, infrastructure and related expenses. In June 2017, Governor Kasich signed the FY 2017-18 operating budget which included $200,000 for the continued implementation of the HFFO program, which is operated through the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, and administered by Finance Fund Capital Corporation, a statewide Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that has significantly leveraged public seed capital. Finance Fund is working with The Food Trust, a national food access organization, to review each application and determine whether each proposed project meets program goals. Applicants for funding are evaluated and approved on a rolling basis while funds remain available. For more information, including a program overview, program guidelines and the Pre-Application, click here.
For more information on the launch of HFFO:
- Program will provide startup money for groceries in under-served areas
- Rep. Smith Applauds Launch Of Healthy Food For Ohio Program
Case Studies on Projects Funded through HFFO:
- Campbell’s Market – McArthur, OH
- Simon’s Supermarket – Euclid, OH
- KV Market – Mansfield, OH
- Market at St. Mark’s Church – Cleveland, OH
- Mobile “Market on the Green” – Toledo and Lucas County, OH
- Hattie Larlham Food Hub Fresh Market – Akron, OH
- Prather’s IGA – West Union, OH
Background and Advocacy
In 2014, the Ohio Regional Convergence Partnership and Finance Fund, in partnership with The Food Trust, conducted a statewide research study to identify communities in Ohio with greatest need for improved access to healthy food. Study findings translated into a mapping report, Food for Every Child: The Need for Healthy Food Financing in Ohio, which revealed that over two million Ohioans live in lower-income communities underserved by supermarkets.
This report was used as the launching point for a series of meetings of the Ohio Healthy Food Financing Task Force beginning in June 2014. The task force, comprised of key stakeholders representing leaders from state and local government, foundations, grocery businesses, corporations, hospitals, universities and nonprofit organizations, identified barriers to healthy food retail development and then came up with practical policy recommendations to overcome those barriers and support grocery stores and other healthy food retail across the state. A key recommendation of this group was the creation of an Ohio Healthy Food Financing Initiative. Learn more about the policy recommendations generated by the Ohio Healthy Food Financing task force here: Supporting Grocery Development in Ohio. As described above, the HFFO program launched in March 2016.
Finance Fund also participates in Reinvestment Fund’s ReFresh Initiative, a national network of CDFI practitioners engaged in improving access to healthy food across the United States, particularly in areas where long-standing barriers exist that make it difficult for residents to live healthier, more stable lives. Finance Fund was awarded $2 million in funding through the federal FY2015 CDFI-HFFI program, enabling its CDFI affiliate, Finance Fund Capital Corporation (FCAP), to expand its healthy food-focused financing activities through the HFFO program to help meet the unique needs of healthy food projects in underserved communities. Finance Fund was also awarded $4 million in round six of the Ohio New Markets Tax Credit (ONMTC) Program administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency. Find out more about Finance Fund's food access work here.
Additionally, the American Heart Association in Ohio has prioritized Healthy Food Financing as a key part of their policy agenda. More information on the American Heart Association efforts can be found here.
- Check out the video, Ohio Healthy Food Movement, highlighting the importance of grocery store access in Ohio.
For a full understanding of Healthy Food Financing Initiatives from advocacy to implementation, see The Food Trust’s Healthy Food Financing Handbook.