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Community Development Financial Institutions Fund
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Financing Healthy Food Options
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The Capacity Building Initiative will help the CDFI Fund achieve its mission by ensuring CDFIs have the capacity to meet the needs in their communities.

Too many Americans live in food deserts with limited or no access to healthy foods. As a result, their communities have increased rates of obesity, diabetes, and other public health challenges.

CDFIs are at the forefront of efforts to bring greater access to healthy foods in low-income communities. The Financing Healthy Food Options track helps build the capacity of CDFIs engaged in healthy foods finance. Provided by Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), this track includes training workshops, informational resources, and individual technical assistance.

Opportunity Finance Network

Components of the series include:


Training: From June 2011 through June 2012, eight, free, two-day healthy food financing workshops will be offered in locations across the United States. Participants will learn a framework for evaluating healthy food projects within the context of the food system, estimate feasibility using data driven models, and learn the importance of convening community partners. Trainers with practical experience and expertise will lead participants to drill down into the specific fundraising, underwriting, and loan management skills required for successful healthy food projects. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to interact with practitioners who have succeeded in financing healthy food options.


Individual Technical Assistance: CDFIs that have completed the workshop training are eligible to apply for up to 40 hours of individual technical assistance from OFNís subject-matter experts.


Resources: The following free resources will be made available through the Capacity Building Website to workshop attendees and non-attendees, including:

  • National Demand for Healthy Food Options Report: A robust, in-depth study of areas with low access to healthy foods in low income communities across the country.
  • Financial Resources Catalog: Primary public and private sources of financing available to CDFIs to finance healthy foods initiatives.
  • Implementation Handbook: A handbook that showcases best practices and case studies in successful healthy food financing.

Eligibility for the Training Workshops

Training workshops are available to certified and emerging CDFIs. Two people per CDFI may attend the training workshops. Depending on space considerations, there may be limited availability for other CDFI partners to attend as well.

Training Calendar

Each of the eight sessions will include seven hours of training on the following content: food systems, convening community stakeholders, panel discussion with local experts, data driven program design, accessing financial resources, and planning next steps for training participants.

Additionally, each session will include five hours of in-depth training relating to a specific topic:

  • Two sessions will cover Farms & Food Production topics, including farms, ranches, fisheries, and new types of farms
  • Two sessions will cover Mid-Food Chain Enterprises content, such as value-added production, food aggregation, food processing, food distribution, and waste management
  • Two sessions will cover Food Retailers like grocery stores, co-ops, institutions, public markets, farmerís markets, community supported agriculture, and mobile vendors

No training workshops are currently scheduled for this series. Please see the Technical Assistance Webinars link for dates on upcoming webinars and the Resource Bank for past training and reference materials about this topic.

Technical Assistance Webinars: Free technical assistance webinars on a variety of Financing Healthy Food Options topics are available for workshop attendees and non-attendees. A current list of the upcoming webinars, as well as registration information, is available here.

Resource Bank

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