Earlier this week the Under Secretary for Rural Development, Lisa Mensah, announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications from Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) for the position of National Fund Manager for the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI).
Since its launch in 2011, HFFI has proven to be an effective, sustainable solution to the issue of access to healthy food in low-income urban and rural communities and communities of color across the country. To date, 96 CDFIs and community development corporations have received more than $197 million in federal HFFI grants to fund hundreds of projects in 35 states, including independent grocery stores, food hubs, and farmer’s markets. Those grants have leveraged over $1 billion dollars. The HFFI efforts are increasing access to healthy food, creating jobs, and contributing to the revitalization of communities.
More than 29 million people in America live in areas that lack access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food choices. The National Fund Manager at USDA will provide financial and technical assistance to partnerships, and fund eligible projects to support retailers and their supply chains that bring fresh, healthy food into underserved areas.
Applications for the National Fund Manager are due at 4:00 p.m. EST on December 28. Details regarding the application process can be found in the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) posted in the Federal Register. A webinar for prospective applicants will be held on Tuesday, December 6 at 2 p.m. EST. For additional information regarding the notice or to register for the webinar contact James Barham, USDA Agricultural Economist at (202) 690-1411 or James.Barham@wdc.usda.gov.
We are thrilled to see the USDA move forward with this important step in providing greater access to healthy food.