Woodstock’s own Food Shed Co-op wins America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative Grant for $200,000
Woodstock, June 9, 2022: The Food Shed Co-op was among 134 grantees announced today as receiving financial assistance awards through the 2021 round of America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative’s (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants Program. Funding for the HFFI grants program is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The 134 projects received a total of $22.6 million in financial assistance awards. The Food Shed Co-op was one of several start-up food co-ops from around the country to receive this grant.
Mr. Peter Waldmann, General Manager of the Food Shed Co-op stated that he is “thrilled to have these funds available, it is a testament to our readiness and preparation.” Approximately $1.75 MM was raised in late 2021 through a capital campaign where co-op members and others from the community invested in the Co-op through preferred shares and owner loans. The co-op is happy to have these additional funds to fill budget gaps that have emerged recently due to inflation and ongoing supply chain headwinds exacerbated by the global pandemic.
Awardees were selected through a competitive process that was open to eligible fresh food retail projects and food enterprises seeking financial assistance to overcome the higher costs and initial barriers to operating in underserved areas. The program received 566 Letter of Interest submissions to the RFA in December 2021. Based on eligibility, 359 applicants were invited to submit full applications in January 2022, with 294 final applications received by the deadline in March 2022.
As the National Fund Manager, Reinvestment Fund administers the HFFI program on behalf of USDA. The public-private partnership aims to provide capacity building and financing resources to stimulate food business development at scale and build a more equitable food system that supports the health and economic vibrancy of all Americans.
“The legacy of racist policies like redlining and the resulting disinvestment continue to harm communities in so many ways, including through the lack of access to healthy, affordable food,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, President and CEO of Reinvestment Fund. “We are honored to work with the USDA to address some of these historical injustices through the HFFI program by investing in food systems assets that not only increase food access in underserved communities but improve health, strengthen local economies, grow wealth and quality jobs, and develop essential community anchors.”
Awarded projects are located in 46 states, in addition to Puerto Rico and Washington DC. Of the 134 financial assistance awardees, 45% serve rural communities and 81% are owned or led by people of color, women, and/or native people. Of the awardees, 69% are grocery retail projects. Another 31% of awardees offer alternative retail models including mobile markets, CSAs or food boxes.
The 2021 HFFI program offered financial assistance in the form of one-time grants to food retailers and food enterprises that aimed to strengthen, expand, and innovate within the food retail supply chain. The program assists a variety of organizations, business models, and capital needs of ventures that process, distribute, aggregate, market, and sell healthy, fresh, and affordable foods to underserved communities and markets. A full list of awardees is available at www.investinginfood.com.
About Food Shed Co-op
The Food Shed Co-op was incorporated in April, 2014 and currently has 1424 owner-members. The full service community-owned grocery store will be open to everyone regardless of owner membership status. Member-owners of the co-op are strong advocates for local sustainable agriculture and building a resilient local food economy in McHenry County. The Co-op also values supporting our local economy, keeping wealth in our McHenry County community, providing access to healthy local food and Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Learn more about the Food Shed Co-op at https://www.foodshed.coop
About Reinvestment Fund
Reinvestment Fund is a mission-driven financial institution committed to making communities work for all people. We bring financial and analytical tools to partnerships that work to ensure that people in communities across the country have the opportunities they strive for: affordable places to live, access to nutritious food and health care, schools where their children can flourish, and strong, local businesses that support jobs. We use data to understand markets and how transactions can have the most powerful impact, which has consistently earned us the top Aeris rating of AAA for financial strength and four stars for impact management. Our asset and risk management systems have also earned us an A+ rating from S&P. Since our inception in 1985, Reinvestment Fund has provided over $2.7 billion in financing to strengthen neighborhoods, scale social enterprises, and build resilient communities. Learn more at reinvestment.com.