The Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI) is an innovative new financing program created by the City of New Orleans to increase the number of supermarkets, grocery stores, and other fresh food markets in low-income, underserved communities across Orleans Parish. The intent of the program is to enable operators to open, renovate, or expand retail outlets that sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Hope Enterprise Corporation (HOPE) and The Food Trust are partners in administering this citywide program, which meets the financing needs of food markets in communities where infrastructure costs and credit needs cannot be filled solely by conventional financial institutions.
Under the FFRI program, HOPE will provide a combination of interest-bearing and/or forgivable loans for predevelopment, site assembly and improvement, construction and rehabilitation, equipment installation and upgrades, staff training, security, and inventory and working capital for start-up costs. The City has provided $7,000,000 in Disaster Community Development Block Grant (D-CDBG) funds toward the program, which will be matched 1:1 by HOPE. The Food Trust will evaluate applications to determine eligibility for the program.
The initiative was created in response to the lack of fresh, healthy foods in many New Orleans neighborhoods, a problem exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina, and growing evidence that supermarket access reduces the risk of developing diet-related diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. The Fresh Food Retailer Initiative will directly benefit low- and moderate-income residents in New Orleans by providing healthy food access, creating jobs, and revitalizing neighborhoods.
If you are interested in participating in this initiative, please download and complete the Eligibility Application.
If you have additional questions about the program, you may contact HOPE by phone at 504-585-2860 or submit a request.
You may also visit the City of New Orleans' Fresh Food Retailer Initiative website page for more information.
Visit The Food Trust website for background on the importance of the availability of fresh, healthy foods. Founded in 1992, The Food Trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to making affordable, healthy food available to all. The Food Trust was a key partner of the Fresh Food Financing Initiative in Pennsylvania, a statewide program that has helped to open 88 stores in underserved areas.
The following documents are available to provide additional details about the initiative and include forms that should be completed by interested applicants.