Reps. Fudge and Evans Introduce Bill to Reauthorize the Healthy Food Financing Initiative

A news release on Wednesday from Rep. Marcia Fudge (D., Ohio) indicated that, “Today, [Rep. Fudge] and Congressman Dwight Evans (PA-02) introduced legislation to reauthorize the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI). The Healthy Food Financing Initiative Reauthorization Act of 2018 authorizes $125 million to provide loans, grants and financing opportunities for food retailers, farmers markets, cooperatives and others who face barriers to carrying and selling fresh fruits and vegetables.

“‘Over 2 million Ohioans, including more than half a million children live in neighborhoods with too few supermarkets and places to purchase healthy, affordable food. This lack of access to healthy and nutritious food undermines the health and wellbeing of our communities,’ said Congresswoman Fudge.  ‘The Healthy Food Financing Initiative provides a proven way to ensure our children grow up with the resources they need to live healthy lives.'”

The release added that, “Accessing healthy food is a challenge for too many Americans.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that 40 million people live in neighborhoods without easy access to fresh, affordable, and nutritious food options. This is particularly a challenge for low-income neighborhoods, communities of color, and rural and tribal areas.  The Healthy Food Financing Initiative Act of 2018 presents an effective and economically sustainable way to the problem of limited food access and can help improve the health of families and children.

“In addition to the direct nutritional benefits experienced by families, healthy food retail improves the economic health and well-being of communities and can help to revitalize struggling business districts and neighborhoods.  Healthy food businesses help to create jobs across the food system, increase or stabilize home values in nearby neighborhoods, generate local tax revenues, provide workforce training and development, and promote additional spending in the local economy.”

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