The New Mexico Healthy Food Financing Act

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Presented by La Semilla Food Center

SB 229 The Healthy Food Financing Act creates a program to equitably provide loans, forgivable loans, and grants for healthy food production, aggregation, distribution, processing, marketing, and retail projects that benefit underserved communities.

The program aims to create quality jobs, revitalize local economies, and increase access to local and nutritious food grown under management for healthy soil!

SB 229 is sponsored by Senators Carrie Hamblen and Angelica Rubio and received an enthusiastic unanimous “do pass” in its first committee hearing. Sign up here to stay updated about the Healthy Food Financing Act and advocate for it in the 2021 New Mexico Legislature!

The Problem

  • Too many families in New Mexico experience food apartheid. 1 in 6 people and 1 in 4 children in the state have limited or inconsistent access to nutritious food. New Mexico’s children have the highest rate of food insecurity in the United States.
  • Nearly 1 in 5 New Mexicans live below the poverty level with Black, Indigenous, and people of color in the state more likely than white people to earn low incomes.
  • Diet-related diseases affect many in the state. Heart disease is the leading cause of death, and, in 2017, 220,000 New Mexico adults had diabetes and 549,000 had prediabetes.
  • Discrimination against Black, Indigenous, people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ people in public- and private-sector grant and lending programs is well documented.
  • The institutionalized practice of denying or removing access to land and resources has long-lasting detrimental consequences, including health disparities, disproportionately high rates of hunger and poverty, and limited options for building financial security or long-term well-being.

A Solution

Equitable Food Oriented Development (EFOD) is a framework, and growing movement, to reap the powerful benefits of food projects and enterprises as vehicles for community development and health, while investing deeply in the self-determination and leadership of community residents.

  • Ending the systemic exclusion of Black, Indigenous, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and women from resources is necessary to ensure these communities can build wealth in all facets of their lives and have the financial stability to fund their own community-led solutions in their own vision.
  • Focusing on investment in local food development will further increase access to healthy food and build on the expertise of low-income communities.

The Policy

The Healthy Food Financing Act is rooted in the EFOD Framework. The Act creates a program to equitably provide loans, grants, and forgivable loans to healthy food production, aggregation, distribution, processing, marketing, and retail projects that benefit underserved communities.

  • The program will be a partnership between the New Mexico Economic Development Department, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), a food access organization, and an Equitable Food Oriented Development advisory board.
  • The program will be eligible for up to $2 million annually from the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI fund. State and philanthropic dollars can also populate the program’s fund.
  • Outcomes include: community revitalization and reduced hunger.

Learn more at La Semilla Food Center’s website

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