September 19, 2023

US Department of Agriculture Helps Three UP Businesses

Brandon Fewins, State Director of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for Michigan, today announced the investment of $1.5 million in Michigan communities through a partnership with the Reinvestment Fund .

The investments are being made through the Healthy Foods Financing Initiative (HFFI), which helps bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved urban and rural communities.

“This is another way for USDA Rural Development to work with local businesses and cooperatives to help our communities,” Fewins said. “We are committed to improving access to fresh, high-quality food for all Michigan residents.”

Michigan has eight projects for a total investment of $1,509,344.39.

Keweenaw Cooperative, Inc., in Hancock, will use a $200,000 prize to support the relocation and expansion of the co-op’s existing operations to allow for an expanded fresh produce offering, including meat, prepared foods and produce, as well as increased selection of products and a seated coffee area. Keweenaw Co-op is a nearly 50-year-old consumer co-operative focused on providing access to healthy, fresh and affordable food.

Northwind Natural Food Co-op, in Ironwood, will use a price of $199,344.39 for capital improvements to make necessary repairs and upgrades to increase operational efficiency, store more inventory and better serve customers. Northwind Natural Foods Cooperative provides affordable local and organic food products to residents of the Ironwood area.

Lakeshore L3C depot, in Marquette, will use a $200,000 prize to help with the final phase of expansion and increased retail capacity at Lakeshore Depot. the Upper Peninsula’s only year-round local food market, which combines the best attributes of a grocery store, farmer’s market and cafe.

The Marks Trading Company in Adrian will use a $200,000 prize to open a hybrid grocery store in an underserved community that will provide stable produce, canned goods, local entrepreneur produce and bulk food, in addition to produce. on consignment from local growers and farmers. The Marks Trading Company has been in business since 2018 as an online wholesale and retail business specializing in non-perishable foods.

Sprout BC in Battle Creek will use a $200,000 prize to establish a retail co-op, Sprout Market and Deli, that will bring fresh food and produce to underserved neighborhoods. HFFI funding will be used to purchase and install necessary grocery equipment for the certified portion of the commercial kitchen and deli market. Sprout BC is a non-profit organization focused on strengthening the local food system and advocating for food justice.

Develop Detroit will use a $200,000 prize to build a two-story mixed-use building that includes the Detroit People’s Food Co-op, a community-owned cooperative grocery store, as well as a commercial kitchen and community space for Detroit Black Community Food Security Network (DBCSSFSN), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting food security. The HFFI funding will provide support within a larger capital structure for an energy-efficient building construction project.

Asbury Community Development Corporation in Flint will use a $200,000 prize to support the acquisition and construction of the Asbury Community Kitchen, a community intervention that addresses the need of low- and fixed-income residents to access fresh produce and healthy food in a supportive environment that includes educational resources. Asbury Community Development Corporation is committed to the local food system and improving community well-being.

The Southeast Market, in Grand Rapids, will use a $110,000 prize to support an expansion project to allow more space for a wider variety of retail food offerings and community/office space for community organization. South East Market is a grocery store and food hub whose mission is to increase access to healthy, culturally appropriate and affordable food in a sustainable and equitable way. SEM sources its supplies first from BIPOC, local and women-led businesses and farms.

The reinvestment fund serves as the national fund manager for the USDA. It raises capital; provides financial and technical assistance to regional, state and local partnerships; and helps fund projects to improve access to fresh, healthy food in underserved areas.