The MARSH Food Cooperative/Community Grocery was among 20 grantees announced December 9, 2020 as receiving financial assistance awards through the 2020 round of America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative’s (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants Program. Funding for the HFFI grants program is provided for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Awardees were selected through a competitive process that was open to eligible fresh food retail projects seeking financial and technical assistance to overcome the higher costs and initial barriers to entry in underserved areas. There were 245 applications submitted to the program with requests totaling over $40 million.
MARSH’s successful application will use funds to expand the existing cooperative model from online sales and summer outdoor market to a storefront grocery. “We were very pleased to see the interest in cooperative and worker-owned enterprises, and excited to be able to combine our goals of equitable healthy food access and worker-ownership in a dynamic brick-and-mortar setting,” says Beth Neff, the director of MARSH’s not-for-profit organization. “Over 80% of funds will be used to pay fair wages to a worker-managed team that will share in decision-making, set schedules and tasks according to their own needs and skills, and collaborate to provide economical natural, organic, and local fresh foods to their neighbors and the larger community.”
A full list of awardees is available at https://www.investinginfood.com/impact/.