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Finding Fresh Food in CO May Get Easier

Photo: Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund will help bring fresh food to underserved communities. Courtesy: CHF
Photo: Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund will help bring fresh food to underserved communities. Courtesy: CHF
August 19, 2013

DENVER - Finding fresh food isn't always easy for Colorado communities in rural or economically-challenged areas. Starting this month, more than $7 million in grants and loans will be available for retailers hoping to expand the amount of healthy food they offer their customers.

The Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund, made possible by the Colorado Health Foundation, will enable food retailers to provide more fresh food to under-served communities in the state through grants and loans.

According to Khanh Nguyen, CHF portfolio director for healthy living, the funds are available and in addition to retailer interest, it's up to consumers to lead the charge.

"This is definitely a very community-driven effort," she said. "I hope communities all across the state that have a need will approach their local grocery store, local food retailer to say, 'Yeah, this is a need and please come into our community.'"

A similar program was launched in Pennsylvania and brought an estimated 5,000 jobs and 1.6 million square feet of commercial space dedicated to fresh food.

Nguyen said that, based on the outcome in Pennsylvania, the Colorado Health Foundation believes increasing the availability of healthy food will have an effect on Coloradans' health.

"If you just put a grocery store in a food-desert area or an area that is needy, you do actually increase consumption," she declared.

Retailers or community leaders interested in grants or loans are encouraged to contact the Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund to apply or obtain more information.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO