This year showed signs for progress for healthy food access in Massachusetts. Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the FY17 Operating Budget, which included $100,000 in dedicated funding to administer the Massachusetts Food Trust. Additionally, Governor Baker signed an Economic Development bill with $6 million authorized to fund the initiative. This is no small feat considering the Commonwealth’s significant budget challenges and demonstrates the legislature’s commitment to advancing this innovative program that not only creates access to healthy food but also promotes economic development and creates and sustains jobs.
The action comes after nearly four years of intensive advocacy and organizing by the Massachusetts Public Health Association, members of the Act FRESH Campaign, the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations, the American Heart Association and many, many allies.
The Massachusetts Food Trust Program will provide loans, grants, and technical assistance to support new and expanded healthy food retailers and local food enterprises in low and moderate income communities. The results of the program will be increased access to healthy, affordable food and quality jobs in low and moderate income communities.