Too many Americans lack access to healthy food today. For an example of this, look to the state of Michigan where, according to the Michigan Good Food Fund, over 1.8 million people (including 300,000 children) have only limited access to fruits and vegetables.
Innovative entrepreneurs in Michigan and across the nation are working to solve this challenge by starting companies that grow, process, and distribute healthy food in the neighborhoods where it is needed most. These businesses improve health outcomes, create new jobs and drive economic growth in underserved and historically marginalized communities.
Despite their potential for creating tremendous social and economic impact, these “good food entrepreneurs” and their ventures often face significant barriers to success. Too many of them are unable to secure funding or gain access to the business training and technical support they need. A number of unlikely allies are banding together to fill these gaps and support these ventures in order to create a more inclusive, and equitable, food system.
In the latest of Money + Meaning we take a close look at The Michigan Good Food Fund, an innovative public-private partnership loan fund supported by Capital Impact Partners, Fair Food Network, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This $30 million public-private partnership loan fund offers patient capital and business support to businesses that increase access to affordable, healthy food in low-income and underserved communities in Michigan.
In this episode, host Alex Kravitz talks to Olivia Rebanal from Capital Impact Partners, (a nonprofit CDFI with a commitment to creating social change and financial impact nationwide), Jean Chorazyczewski of The Fair Food Network (a nonprofit with a mission to grow community health and wealth through food) and Amit Makhecha of FEAST Detroit (an entrepreneur-owned commercial kitchen and processing center that is a client of The Michigan Good Food Fund). These guests share the stark facts about this challenge, detail the steps they are taking to cultivate a more inclusive and equitable local food system, and offer suggestions for what it will take to solve this challenge in communities across America.
First published on SOCAP’s podcast series, Money+Meaning: Unlikely Allies Building New Markets for Impact, on March 12, 2019.