Northam announces grant funding to improve food access in underserved communities

Northam announces grant funding to improve food access in underserved communities
Gov. Ralph Northam holding a press briefing in Richmond. (Source: VPM)

RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV/Office of Gov. Northam Press Release) — Starting Friday, Dec. 14, until April 30, 2021, the application period for the Virginia Food Access Investment Fund (VFAIF) is open.

The fund will provide grants between $5,000 to $50,000 to support business development, construction, rehabilitation, equipment upgrades; or the expansion of grocery stores and small food retailers; or innovative food retail projects that increase food access in underserved communities throughout the commonwealth.

According to a press release from Governor Northam’s office, the VFAIF was created when Northam signed House Bill 1509 and Senate Bill 1073 earlier this year. The release says investing in innovative food retail strategies through the VFAIF’s program is one of the goals outlined in the Virginia Roadmap to End Hunger.

The release says approximately 1.7 million Virginians, including 480,000 children, live in low-income areas with limited access to healthy foods.

“VFAIF follows the Equitable Food-Oriented Development model of using food and agriculture to create economic opportunities and healthy neighborhoods in historically marginalized communities,” the release says. “Historically marginalized communities as defined within VFAIF are minority or underserved, and those experiencing low food access.”

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in partnership with a selected Community Development Financial Institution, will administer the program. You can find the VFAIF application here.

A completed Equitable Food-Oriented Self-Assessment must accompany each application.

To learn more about VFAIF, click here. To read the full press release from the governor’s office, click here.

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