Research has found that the presence of a grocery store in a neighborhood is linked to higher fruit and vegetable consumption and that nutritious eating is closely linked to the reduction of risk for chronic disease.
IFF has long provided financial solutions and real estate consulting to nonprofit organizations focused on healthy food access and education. More recently, we have responded to the need for financing to support full-service grocery stores in high-need areas. For the first time ever, and thanks in part to federal funding, IFF is lending to for-profit community-engaged grocers across the region.
Our solutions are designed to strengthen organizations across the spectrum of the healthy food movement – including nutrition and wellness educators, community-based growers and distributors, and fresh food retailers.
- Illinois Fresh Food Fund
The Illinois Fresh Food Fund is a statewide program and set of loan and grant products that is designed to invest in full service grocery stores to increase the availability of fresh food (fresh produce, fruit, baked goods, dairy products, and meats) in high-need communities throughout Illinois.
- Healthy Food Access Fund
IFF’s Healthy Food Access Fund finances full-service grocery stores in neighborhoods where there is documented low access to fresh foods. Affordable, flexible financing is available to retailers and wholesalers locating stores in high-need areas, specifically those with a plan to build community awareness and emphasize health and nutrition. This Fund is available to grocers throughout Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, and the Kansas City metro area.
- Loans for Healthy Food Related Projects
We offer affordable, flexible financing to schools, child care centers, community health centers, and other nonprofits with projects focused on improving healthy food access and education. Nonprofits turn to IFF financing for a wide variety of needs from new construction of programming space, to renovation of community farm buildings, to equipment in support of food distribution.
- Real Estate Services and Technical Assistance
Our experienced team of real estate professionals helps nonprofits fulfill their missions by planning and developing facility projects. We also lead and participate in community development initiatives, including those integrating health and wellness.
A few highlights of the organizations we have been proud to work with are below.
C fresh Market, Des Moines, Iowa
With financing from the Healthy Food Access Fund, the developers of C fresh Market purchased and renovated a vacant grocery store in Des Moines, Iowa. The new store, which lies within a USDA food desert, will provide the community with a convenient, full-service grocery store that includes a dine-in deli counter and café in a neighborhood that does not have many healthy lunch options. It will also provide nutritional programming to area residents through partnerships with community organizations.
Angelic Organics Learning Center, Caledonia, Illinois
IFF provided a $40,000 loan to finish construction on an organic farm and education center. Angelic Organics is a community supported agriculture organization that provides agro-ecology education workshops, farmer training, programs for inner city youth, a harvest share program, and other produce sales to the public.
Beyond Housing, St. Louis
IFF provided a $1.2 million loan to Beyond Housing to build a grocery store in a food desert located in an inner ring suburb of St. Louis. The store opened in August 2010, and is the first new grocery store in the neighborhood in more than 40 years. The development is the anchor for a community plan including housing, economic development, and the creation of jobs.
Healthy Food Access Borrowers
- Angelic Organics Learning Center, Caledonia, Illinois
- Beyond Housing, St. Louis
- C fresh Market, Des Moines
- Gateway Greening, Inc., St. Louis
- Growing Home, Marseilles, Illinois
- Inspiration Corporation, Chicago
- Namaste Charter School, Chicago
- Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Chicago
- Saver's Fresh Market Roseland, Chicago
View All Borrowers
To learn more, please contact Robin Broman, Healthy Food Access Program Manager, at 866 629 0060 or via email.