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

Are you working on a local or state policy effort in this state? Are you involved with a project supported by a federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative grant? Let us know at [email protected] or visit the Contact Us page to add to the Portal.

We encourage you to check out the following resources to learn more about or get involved with food access issues in your state:

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)

Business and Community Lenders of Texas (BCL Texas), formerly CEN-TEX Certified Development Corporation, used HFFI financing to support Salud Corporation (SC), which is a Latina-led, for-profit start-up that manufactures and distributes high-quality extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to replace unhealthy cooking lard. SC has priced its olive oil at a price point affordable to local Hispanic markets, and it will sell its olive oil both wholesale and retail in Austin, Texas. Bottling began in 2013, and Salud Corporation aims to retain 15 employees.
Projected Impacts

  • 15 jobs created
  • Increased EVOO consumption in Hispanic markets
  • Support women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses
  • Sustainable sourcing of olives for domestically-produced product

Source of money: HFFI CED Program; Fiscal year(s): 2011

LiftFund (formerly known as ACCION Texas, Inc.) is using HFFI financing to support lending for food retailers in low-income areas throughout Texas. Loans will be provided to small businesses, such as grocery stores, mobile food trailers, farmers’ markets, cooperatives, corner stores, and bodegas. LiftFund is concentrating its lending in five counties without accessible fresh food. The counties, three urban and two on the border, are Bexar, Cameron, Dallas, Harris, and Hidalgo. Since LiftFund is the nation’s largest microlender, loans will likely go to enterprises like food manufacturers, food distributors, food trucks, bakeries, and restaurants committed to making and selling healthy food. 
Source of money: HFFI CDFI-Financial Assistance Program; Fiscal year(s): 2013

Since its inception in 1986, Neighborhood Housing Services of Dimmit County (NHSDC) has served as the Middle Rio Grande region’s most active and visible community and economic development agency and has a strong record in business and housing lending, and a reputation for innovation in and attention to local agriculture industries. NHSDC serves eleven rural border counties in Southwest Texas. Characterized by substandard housing, high unemployment, low educational attainment, and poverty, ten of these counties have also been designated by USDA, wholly or in part, as food deserts. As the principal economic and community development agent in a vast and sparsely populated region of Texas, participation in the Healthy Food Financing Initiative is a natural fit with NHSDC’s efforts to enhance local quality of life through financing businesses that bring life-changing resources to our communities.
NHSDC is using HFFI financing to support loans to healthy food retailers in ten Texas counties in the Middle Rio Grande Valley that lack access to healthy food. The Middle Rio Grande Valley is characterized by substandard housing, high unemployment, low educational attainment, and poverty. HFFI financing will benefit two Empowerment Zone counties (Dimmit and Zavala) and one Native American community (Kikapoo Tribe) in Maverick County.
Projected Impacts

  • Loans to community and economic development projects in rural, underserved Texas counties
  • Support for sustainable farming practices such as olive groves, farming coops, hydroponics, and home-based greenhouse gardens

Source of money: HFFI CDFI-Financial Assistance Program; Fiscal year(s): 2012

Houston, Texas-based real estate advisory and governmental affairs firm that supports market and site strategies, especially those requiring public-private partnerships or co-investment through economic development initiatives, for both for-profit and nonprofit clients. Success stories have included creating opportunities for two grocers, H-E-B and an independent operator, Pyburn's, to serve families living in food deserts.

Individually, Waterman Steele Real Estate Advisors serve as supporting advocates for non-profits such as the American Heart Association and provide guidance to several Texas municipalities as to their HFFI policies and programs. Outside of that, we are most often engaged on behalf of grocers or property owners to identify paths to bridge economic gaps in pro formas and funding to facilitate the opening of grocery stores in food deserts.