Global Agriculture

USDA and Reinvestment Fund Launch New Program to Increase Access to Healthy Foods in Underserved Communities

25 June 2024, US: At the National Rural Grocer’s Summit today, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA and Reinvestment Fund are launching a new program under the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) to increase access to healthy foods in communities underserved by grocery stores. Funding for the new Food Access and Retail Expansion Fund (FARE Fund) is made possible by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act.

“People across this country deserve fresh, healthy and affordable foods,” Secretary Vilsack said. “Through this program, the Biden-Harris Administration is partnering with food retailers to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, delicious foods while also supporting local farmers and ranchers. We are revitalizing the food systems in this country and increasing access for those that need it.”

Through the HFFI FARE Fund, USDA and the Reinvestment Fund are making available $60 million in loans, grants and technical assistance for food retail and food retail supply chain projects that increase access to healthy food in communities underserved by grocery stores. Funding will be available for the next five years.

Eligible organizations include food retailers and food retail suppliers.

Applicants may apply for loans ranging from $500,000 to $5 million to implement healthy food projects. Funds may be used to support predevelopment, land acquisition, renovations and equipment purchases.

Applicants may also apply for grants up to $250,000 to implement healthy food projects. Funds may be used to support project management, equipment purchases and construction.

The program also offers funding for business support, or technical assistance, to support projects in their early stages. Funds may be used to support market and feasibility studies, business planning and store design.

Potentially eligible projects can check for eligibility now and sign up to be notified when the program begins accepting applications at:


Many low-income communities lack adequate, affordable access to healthy food. HFFI provides grants and loans to entities that offer healthy foods in communities that are underserved by grocery stores and other food retailers. The program increases access to healthy foods, provides new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers, stabilizes small and independent retailers, and creates good-paying jobs and economic opportunity in low-income communities.

The FARE Fund is an expansion of HFFI administered by the Reinvestment Fund on behalf of USDA Rural Development.

Through HFFI, USDA partners with Reinvestment Fund to bring healthy food options to underserved rural, urban and Tribal communities. Reinvestment Fund serves as the National Fund Manager for USDA. It raises capital; provides financial and technical assistance to regional, state and local partnerships; and helps fund projects to improve access to fresh, healthy foods in underserved areas.

In August 2023, Reinvestment Fund expanded America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative to include the new HFFI Local and Regional Healthy Food Financing Partnerships Program.

To date, HFFI has awarded over $25 million directly to food retail and food enterprise projects in 48 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Additionally, over $40 million has been awarded to support 16 new and existing regional, state, and local food financing programs through the HFFI Local and Regional Healthy Food Financing Partnerships Program.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. Visit the Rural Data Gateway to learn how and where these investments are impacting rural America. To subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit the GovDelivery Subscriber Page.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit

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