In his 2011 budget, President Obama proposed $345 million for a Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) to dramatically improve access to healthy foods in underserved communities across the country. (HFFI is also one of the four pillars of The First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative to reduce childhood obesity.) With more than 23 million Americans without access to healthy foods, this initiative is desperately needed to reduce obesity and bring needed jobs and investment to low-income urban and rural communities.
The HFFI combines one-time loan and grant financing to leverage private investment with public funds. HFFI is modeled after a successful program in Pennsylvania in which a $30 million investment by the state led to $190 million in total project costs, and resulted in 83 markets in underserved communities across the state, improved access to healthy food for more than 400,000 people, and more than 5,000 jobs. President Obama’s proposed initiative would increase the availability of healthy foods, take an important step in the fight against obesity, create tens of thousands of much needed retail and construction jobs, and revitalize low-income communities and communities of color suffering most during these hard economic times.
Congress needs to act to make the President’s proposed HFFI a reality. Contact your legislator now and ask them to support HFFI!