Kinsey Fresh Food Financing Initiative bill approved by House Committee

HARRISBURG, June 6 – Today, legislation (H.B. 580) introduced by state Reps. Stephen Kinsey, Danilo Burgos and Morgan Cephas, all D-Phila., to re-establish the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative was approved by the PA House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

The Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative was a program operated from 2004 to 2010 that provided grants and low-interest loans for the construction, rehabilitation or expansion of grocery stores, farmers markets and other healthy food retail establishments in low- to moderate-income areas in need and other underserved communities. 

“Health is the most important aspect of our lives. To live a healthy life, it’s crucial that all people have access to healthy, fresh and nutritious food,” Kinsey said. “Restarting the Fresh Food Financing Initiative would help provide more accessible healthy food options to communities that desperately need it.”

“This bill would boost local agricultural products while helping families in need to get access to fresh produce,” Burgos said. “This program is a healthy approach to fight food insecurity and obesity. No one in our state should be deprived of having a balanced alimentation, not under our watch.” 

“Pennsylvania agriculture contributes $132.5 billion to our state economy annually and supports 593,6000 jobs. It is beyond upsetting to see underserved communities, such as many areas throughout Philadelphia, endure fresh food and produce shortages,” Cephas said.

“This legislation will re-establish this crucial program throughout Pennsylvania to eliminate this nagging health disparity. Every resident of Pennsylvania deserves access to fresh food and healthier diets, access that isn’t dependent on where you live or your income level.”

House Bill 580 will now head to the full House for further consideration. 

Kinsey shared that the Fresh Food Financing Initiative was initially started by U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-PA, when he served in the Pennsylvania House. The program was helpful at the time to address areas considered to be food deserts throughout Pennsylvania.

Kinsey also pointed out that today, communities are still addressing some of those same issues in addition to ensuring that families have the opportunity to access to fresh, healthy foods, which are critical to supporting the growth of healthy families.