Building Equitable Food Systems
The food system is a complex network of interconnected activities and sectors that grow, manufacture, transport, sell, prepare and dispose of food. It encompasses a great variety of enterprises with varying capacities and financing needs. A wide number of people, products, and places contribute to, and are affected by, our food system.
The current food system doesn’t work for all communities. Low-income communities and people of color disproportionately experience hunger, lack access to healthy food and work in a food economy that limits their ability to build wealth.
Since 2004, Reinvestment Fund has pioneered a comprehensive approach to strengthening food systems to improve access to healthy food and economic opportunity in the food sector for underserved communities. Through a range of programs, we provide grants, loans, and technical assistance resources aiming to support community-driven solutions.
Our Food Systems Values
- Food Access
We believe all communities should have equitable access to quality, affordable and nutritious food.
- Food Security
We believe food is a human right and all people should have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.
- Inclusive Economy
We believe that entrepreneurs and communities should have equitable access to markets, resources, and capital to participate in a robust, local and sustainable food business.
Food Systems Financing
Our financing supports enterprises that contribute to a balanced and dynamic food system. With over $300 million invested in food projects to date, we finance projects ranging from production and retail to food banks and child nutrition.
Reinvestment Fund provides financing for predevelopment, construction, and permanent loans. Financing can be used to build or expand facilities, increase healthy food options, bridge capital gaps and purchase new equipment.
America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative
Created by the 2014 Farm Bill, America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative is a public-private partnership administered by Reinvestment Fund on behalf of USDA Rural Development to improve access to healthy food in underserved areas. HFFI provides resources to eligible fresh, healthy food retailers and enterprises to overcome the higher costs and initial barriers to entry in underserved areas. Currently, we offer a targeted small grants program and technical assistance program through America’s HFFI.
New Jersey Child Nutrition Fund
The New Jersey Child Nutrition Fund (NJCNF), created and administered by the Reinvestment Fund and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supports federal nutrition program sponsors, sites and meal vendors to expand the availability of fresh and nutritious food to children across New Jersey.
Currently, Reinvestment Fund provides both Planning Awards and Capital Investment Awards to organizations and businesses expanding or improving programs utilizing the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in New Jersey.
Philadelphia Food Justice Initiative
A partnership with The Philadelphia Department of Public Health, the Philadelphia Food Justice Initiative supports community-driven projects advancing food justice and insuring communities can exercise their right to grow, sell and eat healthy food.
The initiative supports a variety of food justice projects including urban agriculture, cultural culinary heritage, and start-up food enterprises in the city of Philadelphia.
Data & Analysis
Reinvestment Fund is committed to understanding the barriers to equitable healthy food access and building a knowledge base that helps inform solutions and target resources. With a dozen studies on topics related to food, including access, financing mechanisms, program design, and food systems, Reinvestment Fund has produced a comprehensive body of research and gained national recognition. We seek opportunities to partner with government, philanthropy, and industry to further collective knowledge about food system opportunities and gaps.
For over a decade, we have worked with policymakers and advocates recommending smart, sustainable ways to invest in food systems and local economies nationwide. Partnering with PolicyLink and The Food Trust, we convene a network of stakeholders to share ideas and best practices to build robust and equitable food systems. Our partnership includes a resource portal, HealthyFoodAccess.org, that synthesizes data and information to support the successful planning and implementation of food systems policies, programs, and projects.
We also lead ReFresh, a national Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) partnership that is expanding capacity and extending the geography served by healthy food financing programs. It includes 18 CDFI partners, both urban and rural, and most of the largest national practitioners.