Font Size

content body

To continue its mission in leveraging collective efforts to promote development, adoption, and advancement of innovative best practices to address food and nutrition security, the College of Human Sciences' Hunger Solutions Institute (HSI) was selected as one of 16 organizations for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative Local and Regional Healthy Food Financing Partnerships Program (HFFI Partnerships Program). HSI will receive nearly $3 million of the more than $40 million awarded to support public-private partnerships in providing technical and financial assistance to food retail and food enterprise projects in underserved areas. 

HSI logo

Funding for the HFFI Partnerships Program is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by the Reinvestment Fund. In partnership with Hope Enterprise Corporation and Wright Food Solutions, Hunger Solutions Institute will establish the Delta Healthy Food Financing Initiative (Delta-HFFI). The goal of Delta-HFFI is to improve access to fresh, healthy, affordable foods in underserved communities, create and preserve quality jobs in the food and agriculture industry and revitalize under-resourced communities in the Delta region of the U.S., including Alabama.

“Hunger Solutions Institute is thrilled to receive The Reinvestment Fund’s HFFI Partnerships Program award to lead Delta-HFFI,” said Alicia Powers, managing director of Auburn’s Hunger Solutions Institute. “With incredible partners of Hope Enterprise Corporation and Wright Food Solutions, we look forward to working with community stakeholders across the Delta to ensure Delta-HFFI has the most impact possible in communities of greatest need. Our goal is to sustain Delta-HFFI to bolster quality of life and support the food and agricultural industry in the Delta region.”

Grocery stock image

Delta-HFFI’s mission is to build capacity, expand reach and support vitality of food retailers, food enterprises and underserved communities in the Delta by facilitating both capacity building (CB) and credit enhancement (CE) activities. CB activities, led by HSI and Wright Food Solutions, will focus on assessment/evaluation, technical assistance and networking/collaboration. CE activities, led by Hope Enterprise Corporation, will include interest rate buy-down, guarantee support and/or closing fee and other micro-grants.

The Delta region exhibits a high proportion of low-income and low-supermarket access census tracts. Further, individuals in the Delta have some of the highest rates of persistent poverty and chronic disease and lowest rates of healthy food consumption. Food retailers/enterprises in the Delta also lack access to sufficient capital to invest in opening and maintaining a retail outlet or food enterprise.

In all, this historic public-private HFFI Partnerships Program will support more than 750 loans and grants over the next five years to support over 1,400 food retail and supply chain projects sustaining over 2,500 local jobs. 

This grant award announcement follows the 2023 expansion announcement of America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI). The HFFI Partnerships Program investment will complement the ongoing national HFFI program, which addresses the complexity of food access in communities across America.  

For more information about the College of Human Sciences' Hunger Solutions Institute, click below.

Hunger Solutions Institute