U.S. Representative Allyson Y. Schwartz (D-Pa.) has introduced legislation to support a national Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), a market-based approach to bring jobs and investment to underserved communities where healthy food options are scarce or unaffordable. Schwartz’s bill would authorize $125 million to continue the HFFI to help make more grocery stores, farmers markets, food cooperatives, and other options accessible by providing one time start-up grants and affordable loan financing.
“More than 25 million Americans lack access to healthy foods and this crisis demands aggressive action. The Healthy Food Financing Initiative will expand food options in underserved areas, improve the health of children and families, and spark local economic development,” said Schwartz. “As we continue to reinvigorate our economy, this public-private partnership will create good-paying jobs, help people live longer and healthier lives, and strengthen our neighborhoods.”
Modeled after the successful Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, the HFFI is a public-private partnership that expands investment in underserved communities, known as “food deserts,” by providing flexible grant and loan financing. Since 2011, the HFFI has supported a wide range of innovative projects in rural, urban, and suburban communities.
Congresswoman Schwartz’s bill is a companion measure to legislation (S 821) U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced in the Senate.