BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration awarded $1,080,000 to a joint partnership between the Local Enterprise Assistance Fund and Franklin County Community Development Corporation to create a sustainable program that creates quality jobs and increases food access for low-income residents throughout the state.
The funding is awarded under the Massachusetts Food Trust Program (MFTP), a program launched by the Baker-Polito administration in 2017, which seeks to establish a financing infrastructure that increases access to healthy, affordable food options and to improve economic opportunities for nutritionally underserved communities statewide.
“The Massachusetts Food Trust Program continues our administration’s commitment to addressing food insecurity, supporting agriculture, and improving access to locally grown, nutritional options for families,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “Community-based organizations are vital partners in ensuring residents across the Commonwealth have the ability to utilize locally sourced agriculture, and the funding awarded will ensure residents are able to incorporate a balanced, healthy diet into their daily routine.”
The MFTP, funded through the administration’s FY 2018 Capital Investment Plan, provides funding through grants to community development financial institutions and community development corporations. This statewide program is designed to meet the financing needs to fresh food retailers and distributors that plan to operate in underserved communities where costs and credit needs cannot be filled solely by conventional financing institutions.
“The Local Enterprise Assistance Fund and Franklin County Community Development Corporation work tirelessly to connect residents in nutritionally underserved communities with fresh, healthy products grown by farmers around the Commonwealth,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The funding awarded by the Baker-Polito administration, in addition to the work of the Massachusetts Food Trust Program, will continue to promote the role and importance of a nutritionally balanced diet for residents in all corners of the state.”
With the funding, grantees may provide grants, loans, and technical assistance to support entities that have shown a meaningful commitment to sell fresh, affordable, and local products, with a preference for food grown, caught, or harvested in Massachusetts. Projects that are eligible for funding through the awarded financial institutions include the development, renovation, and expansion of supermarkets; commercial community kitchens; and commercial greenhouses.