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Knoxville Business News Tennessee Mountain Scenery Background
Weekend edition April 19, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Knoxville region one of 16 selected for federally-funded healthy food initiative

Local partners include United Way of Greater Knoxville, Knoxville's Community Development Corporation, and Real Good Foundation.

The United Way of Greater Knoxville (UWGK), Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC), and the Real Good Foundation (RGF) will launch the Knox Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) and the Knox Good Food Fund with the mission to create an equitable future for our community where fresh, healthy food is abundant and our most vulnerable neighbors and communities thrive.

The funding comes through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is one of two selected from the Volunteer State. In total across the country, 16 public-private partnerships were selected to receive $40.3 million in grants under the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Local & Regional Healthy Food Financing Partnerships Program to expand access to nutritious and affordable foods in 20 states and Washington, D.C.

This program provides financing to local, state, and regional organizations that partner together to provide financing and technical assistance to food retailers in underserved communities. Funding for this program is made possible by the 2023 expansion of HFFI, which created the HFFI Partnerships Program to bring in new partners that can address food access for even more underserved communities than before.

“Through funding made available by USDA Rural Development, Reinvestment Fund is selecting two partnerships in Tennessee to receive more than $3.9 million in grants under the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Partnerships Program,” said Tennessee State Director Arlisa Armstrong. “We are proud to partner with Knox Healthy Food Financing Initiative and Delta Healthy Food Financing Partnership to ensure that these funds and resources reach the communities where they are needed most, so people can find nutritious food options anywhere they live.”

To fulfill this mission, the partners in Knoxville will launch a Community Advisory Board (CAB) to both assist in a Healthy Food Retail and Entrepreneur Assessment and to develop the Program for Healthy Food Enterprises and Healthy Food Retail Businesses. The program will blend technical assistance programs offered by RGF, loans by a certified financial lender, and credit enhancement grants led by UWGK

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