January 22nd, 2024 the Healthy Food Financing Initiative reauthorization Act legislation was announced at the Greater Good Grocery in Binghamton.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was joined by several local leaders including Binghamton Mayor Jared Kraham, Broome County Executive Jason Garnar, Kinya Middleton, Binghamton City Councilor and General Manager of Greater Good Grocery and Binghamton City Councilor, the Director of the Community Hunger Outreach Warehouse, Les Aylesworth, and Reverend Doctor Joe Sellepack, Executive Director of the Broome County Council of Churches.

According to Senator Gillibrand's news conference, the Healthy Food Financing Initiative Reauthorization Act is designed to help end food deserts, which are areas where a significant portion of residents don’t have easy access to a grocery store and affordable, nutritious food.

 This legislation would provide $50 million annually in mandatory federal funding for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative which is a USDA program that offers loans and grants to incentivize grocery stores to establish locations in underserved communities.

An easily accessible grocery store is a basic necessity, but for years, some residents of Broome County haven’t had consistent access to one. That means that they have to travel miles outside their neighborhood just to buy staple groceries, and for residents without a car, that can mean a multi-hour journey by foot or public transit. It’s unacceptable. USDA’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative is a critical public-private partnership that provides grocers with financial incentives to establish locations in these underserved communities, and for years, the program has successfully brought fresh food to areas that need it. But HFFI doesn’t have enough funding to help every neighborhood in need, so I’m calling for $25 million for the program to be included in this year’s government funding bill. I’m also introducing a bill to provide $50 million in mandatory federal funding for HFFI every single year going forward. I look forward to getting it passed in this year’s Farm Bill and starting the process of ending food deserts for good. - U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

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