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Our Commitment to Community-First Impact Investing

with Fair Food Fund

Michigan + Northeast

Michigan and Northeast United States

Wealth inequity in America is extreme. Despite good intentions by impact investors and a range of creative strategies, capital is still not reaching everyone equally, especially communities of color, with dangerous implications for the future of our society and planet. 

As investors continue to navigate the many disparities exacerbated by the COVID crisis and increasingly by extreme climate events, business as usual simply isn’t enough. Impact investors need new approaches more deeply rooted in the communities where capital is not already flowing.  

A subset of impact investors is seeking bold change. Underlying their thinking, which includes a deep commitment to racial justice, is a shift away from the traditional capital-first mindset. This change is grounded in the fact that capital is an expression of relational, structural, and personal power. Though often not visible, these power dynamics are root causes of wealth gaps. And power won’t shift unless we change how we invest. 

A community-first mindset is becoming central to the impact investing strategies of Fair Food Network. We and other community-first investors are working to re-design catalytic capital tools with new consciousness of the role that power has played in perpetuating and worsening inequities. At Fair Food Network, this consciousness is unfolding both through its own investments and its efforts fostering two place-based investing collaboratives, Michigan Good Food Fund and the Camden Food Fund, which are coordinating local stakeholders and institutional balance sheets to advance community-identified priorities. 

As a founding partner in both of these initiatives, Fair Food Network has led the effort to coordinate local stakeholders and leverage institutional balance sheets to advance community-identified priorities. Both of these efforts are works in progress, journeys built around community-first values and learnings from the work of many other impact investing colleagues. Fair Food Network’s aims are twofold: to design the structure for new place-based community-first funds, and to unpack and reconfigure how power in its existing funds flows toward community-first values.


Read more in our article in ImpactAlpha or in this full report.  

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A Change in Leadership

Kate Krauss Prepares to Take the Helm as CEO


Detroit, Michigan

At the end of 2022, Oran Hesterman transitioned to a new role as Founder & Resident Champion at Fair Food Network. Kate Krauss, our former Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer, began a new stage in her leadership as CEO.

For more than 50 years, Oran Hesterman has worked to build the good food movement, efforts that culminated in his founding of Fair Food Network in 2009. After more than a decade as the organization’s CEO, in which he oversaw the growth of Fair Food Network from a small nonprofit providing nutrition incentives to five farmers markets in Detroit to a national leader in nutrition incentives and impact investing, Oran transitioned to his new role of Founder & Resident Champion, making way for Kate Krauss to assume the role of CEO in 2023.

Over the course of the 14 years since Fair Food Network began, one thing has remained constant: our founding belief in the power of food, which has inspired both Oran and Kate throughout their careers.

When we start with food, we build a path toward better community health, economic opportunity, and environmental resilience. Through today's changes and those still to come, we know that food offers us unlimited potential for building community, creating common ground, and addressing long-standing inequities.

To meet the current moment as we transitioned to new leadership, our team:

Expanded our mission with a new Theory of Change

Building on more than a decade of impact and growth, we broadened our mission. As we continue to champion the power of food to build thriving communities, we'll do so with a new focus on environmental stewardship and a definitive commitment to equity and justice, guided by an updated Theory of Change that provides a blueprint for our work.

Welcomed new CEO Kate Krauss, alongside a larger leadership team

Kate's transition, unanimously supported by Fair Food Network's board, was a natural evolution for the organization. During her tenure as COO and as Executive Director, Kate built a strong foundation for growth, developed operational infrastructure, and diversified funding and programming. She grew the organization's budget fivefold, expanding work across community-based impact investing, nutrition incentives, evaluation, and public policy. To achieve this, she also tripled Fair Food Network's staff; today, our senior leadership team collectively brings decades of experience in food and agriculture, public health, community-based impact investing, workforce development, entrepreneurship, evaluation, and public policy.

Furthered commitment to community listening and accountability

We are committed to local businesses, farmers, families, and communities, and that’s why we listen first when we engage these partners, develop systems to measure and demonstrate our impact, and hold ourselves accountable to many and varied stakeholders along the way. We continue our dedication to sharing and exchanging knowledge and insights with all who promote food as a tool for equity and a powerful instrument for change.

A continued collaboration with Oran Hesterman, Founder & Resident Champion

Through writing and public speaking, Oran will champion food-based approaches to establishing lasting systemic change and promoting environmental stewardship. He will also focus on mentoring the next generation of leaders and collaborate with partners, funders, and policymakers to bring about the change we seek.


WATCH: Legacy Retrospective

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Advocacy in Action

Championing polices that bring proven, restorative solutions to scale.



The 2023 farm bill is a critical juncture in the national effort to improve nutrition security for the approximately 40 million low-income families and individuals who rely on SNAP. As the largest federal investment in our food and farming systems, SNAP distributes more than $80 billion per year, much of it to families struggling to put food on the table.  

To ensure that those dollars provide fresh, locally grown food options for communities around the country, Fair Food Network’s policy team uses its experience on the ground and in the legislature to channel funding and political momentum toward restorative solutions like nutrition incentives and produce prescription programs. Our advocacy efforts in 2022 helped to set the stage for negotiations around the 2023 farm bill and bring proven solutions to scale at the state level.  

In 2022, Fair Food Network led a collective effort to advance federal policy priorities for the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) by establishing the Alliance for National Nutrition Incentives (ANNI). ANNI includes member organizations that range from industry trade groups, such as the Farmers Market Coalition and National Grocers Association, and consumer advocacy organizations like Union of Concerned Scientists and Center for Science in the Public Interest, to nonprofit health agencies like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Heart Association. ANNI also intentionally engages lower capacity, grassroots, and BIPOC-led organizations—those that have often been underrepresented in the policy development process—in defining priorities.  

The disparate stakeholders that comprise ANNI—ranging from agriculture, anti-hunger, public health, retail advocacy, and other interests—share support for the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP, formerly FINI), which was established in the 2014 farm bill with strong bipartisan backing. GusNIP provides funding for produce prescription and nutrition incentive programs like Double Up Food Bucks, helping SNAP participants access and choose more fresh fruits and vegetables for their families in 48 states. 

“Very few farm bill programs attract bi-partisan engagement as broadly as fruit and vegetable incentives. When all those different voices are singing in harmony, it can be a beautiful and highly impactful tune,” said Mark Nicholson, senior director of policy at Fair Food Network. “We are so heartened by the diverse engagement from the GusNIP advocacy community around collective priorities for the 2023 farm bill.” 

In 2022, ANNI worked through open dialogue and collaboration to first identify areas of mutual agreement that the diverse group of GusNIP stakeholders can advance together. Coalition members determined a set of priorities that could garner broad support and in 2023 introduced these priorities in draft farm bill legislation, calling for a number of modifications to the current GusNIP policy. One such change would be the reduction or elimination of the federal match requirement for GusNIP grantees. Programs applying for GusNIP funding are required to secure a one-to-one match, meaning that they must find funding sources to match, dollar for dollar, the awards they receive through GusNIP. This requirement of GusNIP grantees is especially burdensome for first-time applicants to the program and is often prohibitive enough to keep some programs from applying for GusNIP funding altogether. Coalition members agreed that the match requirement was inhibiting the growth and expansion of nutrition incentive and produce prescription programs, no matter their size. To alleviate this burden and strengthen our collective capacity and impact, the ANNI coalition is advocating for the reduction of the match requirement to 25% of the federal award, and the total elimination of the requirement for pilot programs. 

In addition to advocating for a reduction in the match requirement, ANNI is working to ensure adequate funding for nutrition incentive and produce prescription programs, as well as recommending changes to improve coordination between the federal agencies responsible for GusNIP. To ensure these priorities are included in the 2023 farm bill, Fair Food Network and representatives of ANNI have worked to increase policymakers’ awareness of the importance of healthy food incentives. The coalition has convened with key policymakers as an opportunity to establish and strengthen relationships, as well as convey the impact and success of nutrition incentive and produce prescription programs and the challenges they face sustaining and scaling those impacts.

“One constant in Washington is the high turnover of both elected officials and their staff, especially across the five-year farm bill cycle. This requires ceaseless education and engagement on the Hill,” commented Nicholson. “The ability to share broad coalition policy priorities with legislative staff is a tremendous value-add for them as well as the community we advocate for.” 

Fair Food Network’s policy advocacy work extends to the state level as well, where we worked with programs in New York, Mississippi, and Texas to successfully lobby for first-time state funding of nutrition incentives and similarly helped to position Double Up in New Jersey for success in its ongoing campaign for state funding. Our engagement with state appropriators and budget officials in 2022 has succeeded in demonstrating the imperative of sustaining the Double Up program in our home state of Michigan, as well: In June 2023, Michigan legislators announced funding for Double Up Food Bucks totalling $4.9 million through the end of 2024. The coordinated effort of our policy team to advocate for state funding of Double Up Food Bucks means that families in communities as far apart as Syracuse and Gulfport and Flint will continue to have consistent and local access to locally grown fruits and vegetables. 

Success in achieving our 2023 policy objectives has helped to scale programs for statewide reach and laid the groundwork for a bipartisan farm bill that we anticipate will make fruits and vegetables more accessible to all SNAP recipients.  

“Every farm bill has built upon earlier success for the GusNIP community, and our hope is that 2023 is no different,” commented Nicholson. “As fruit and vegetable incentives continue to grow its innovation and evaluation and scale nationally, the Alliance for National Nutrition Incentives, powered by our advocacy expertise, is setting the stage for increased support in the current farm bill and also helping to build a movement for long-term systemic change.” 

Learn more about GusNIP advocacy.

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Championing local farmers

with Argus Farm Stop

Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Argus Farm Stop is the farmers’ farmers market’s market—and much more. With an investment from Fair Food Fund, that “more” means expanding to ensure critical sales channels for local farmers. 

Argus co-owners and spouses Kathy Sample and Bill Brinkerhoff started Argus with a desire to help small, local farms succeed. In 2014, they launched as a one-stop shop where farms can sell locally grown goods to consumers all year long. In its model, farmers own the produce, set the price, and keep 70 percent of every sale. Since 2014, Argus has already paid out $10 million to a network of 200 local farmers. Argus also offers our Double Up Food Bucks program, supporting affordability alongside access. 

As the pandemic spurred disruptions for local farmers and farmers markets, Argus stepped up to fill the void, launching two new business lines, including a produce box delivery service and online ordering. 

To sustain this growth, Sample and Brinkerhoff realized they needed to expand. Given our long-standing collaboration, they turned to Fair Food Network and our Fund.  

With Argus’ foundational commitment to local farmers and healthy food access, it was an unquestionable mission match. 

The investment allowed Argus to consolidate its retail grocery, produce box, and online ordering operations at a new location. They also reconfigured the other two locations, refocusing one to feature an expanded café with prepared foods and tavern options. Structuring the investment as a convertible note enabled Argus runway to secure the new location and give all sites time to optimize before principal payback begins. 

“We’ve worked with Fair Food Network for years with Double Up and other food access initiatives,” says Sample. “Now, we have the opportunity to work with the Fair Food Fund. We have found the process and people to be excellent to collaborate with.”

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Evolving Our Program to Meet Community Need

with Double Up Food Bucks Michigan



Double Up Food Bucks in Michigan continues to respond to increased community need for the program since 2020. 

The importance of our Double Up Food Bucks nutrition incentive program, which matches SNAP benefits spent on fruits and vegetables, has never been more apparent than in the last three years. Due to pandemic-related demand, increased emergency SNAP benefits, and record inflation that hit grocery budgets particularly hard—program usage in Michigan doubled. A challenge for Double Up—and one we’re still contending with—is how to meet this elevated demand and broaden access while ensuring that individuals and families are getting the most out of the program. 

To this end, and to sustain Double Up for the long term, we made the difficult decision to pause Double Up earning at grocery stores across the state (excluding Flint) from August 1, 2022 through January 15, 2023. The temporary pause on earnings did not apply to farm stands or farmers markets, and all program participants were still able to spend what they earned from previous purchases.  

The temporary pause was successful in its aim to slow the flow of spending, allowing us to significantly bridge the Double Up budget gap with this measure alone. In 2023, Fair Food Network and Double Up have emerged from the pause and transitioned into more conventional program earning and spending. And we recognize the impact the pause has had on Double Up participants.  

“Temporarily pausing Double Up has been a method we’ve used in the past to ensure the program is available for years to come, said Cassidy Strome, Acting Director of Michigan Double Up Food Bucks. “But pausing the program invariably leads to confusion and challenge for both participants and site staff, and we obviously would prefer that the program operate uninterrupted year-round,” she added. “We’ve implemented some program changes in 2023 that we can adjust as needed, based on feedback from participants and sites, as well as our budgetary outlook.”  

To curb spending as needed while avoiding future program pauses, we have introduced levers in program implementation, such as a cap on individual earning (decreased from $20/day to $10/day), a cap on individual spending ($10/day), and a defined window (90 days) in which users can spend their earnings.  

These new mechanisms will allow us to adjust spending without necessitating future pauses. Nevertheless, we recognize that keeping up with demand for Double Up Food Bucks will require sustained and increased funding for the program. Our work over the past year conveying funding needs to state officials in advance of budget negotiations paid off in June, when Michigan legislators announced funding for Double Up Food Bucks totalling $4.9 million through 2024. This latest funding from the State will help Fair Food Network maintain programming at our current Double Up sites, with the potential to restore the daily earning limit of $20/day and remove the daily spending cap.  

“Our consistent engagement with shoppers, farmers, grocers, market managers — all critical program partners — has allowed us to ground our program changes in data and feedback from program participants,” said Strome. “Ultimately, our goal is to make it as easy as possible for SNAP users and site staff to use Double Up Food Bucks.” 

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Supporting Food and Farm Entrepreneurs in Michigan

with Michigan Good Food Fund



Michigan Good Food Fund’s work is guided by the shared vision of our Stakeholder Board—a diverse collective of people with deep roots in Michigan and a range of food industry careers. Some of them have received loans from the lending network in the past. 

When Michigan Good Food Fund began in 2015, the lending network focused primarily on entrepreneurs providing healthy food to underserved communities. As we worked together with our partners toward a more resilient, inclusive food industry, we evolved our definition of “good food” beyond food that meets certain nutritional criteria. Our collaborative efforts aim to ensure that our future investments reflect the priorities of the people and communities most affected by wealth inequities. 

Today, we define “good food” as food that serves communities and strengthens the economy. We are focused on supporting food and farm entrepreneurs who represent communities that have been marginalized due to race, ethnicity, and/or gender. Our goal is to help them prepare for and secure investment that will help their businesses grow and thrive. 

As administrative managers of Michigan Good Food Fund, we worked alongside our newly convened 21-member stakeholder board to define the strategic vision of the lending network. With their partnership, the collaborative supported 17 businesses with flexible financing in 2022, including a wide range of loans and other financial products that can be used for equipment, inventory, property improvements, and more. The collaborative also provided 72 businesses with tailored business assistance or one-on-one consulting to offer guidance on everything from filing taxes to marketing to opening up new sales channels. We also hosted periodic workshops tailored to entrepreneurs in specific locations or food business sectors.  

“We know that food and farm entrepreneurs are an essential part of vibrant communities and that investing in small businesses improves people’s access to culturally relevant food, creates jobs, and strengthens local economies,” said Aaron Jackson, Director of Michigan Good Food Fund at Fair Food Network.  

Over half of the businesses that received support from MGFF in 2022 are located in a low-income/low-access community (51%), and most are located in an economically distressed area (74%). In a survey of businesses supported by the Michigan Good Food Fund, 72% of respondents expected to hire additional employees in 2023. In addition, 71% of respondents said they were able to develop or refine their business model or plan as a result of our support, and 41% were able to bring a product or service to market for the first time.  

Together with our partners, we’re building equity by improving access to resources that should be equally available to everyone; our specific focus on marginalized community members helps to level the playing field to realize the inclusive economy envisioned by Fair Food Network, its partners, and the communities where we work.


Learn more about Michigan Good Food Fund and its Stakeholder Board

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Re-imagining traditional African favorites

with Global Village Foods



Husband-and-wife team Damaris and Melvin Hall transformed Global Village Foods, once a community African restaurant, into a growing producer of ready-to-eat meals. 

Damaris grew up in Kenya, where simple fresh ingredients and rich aromatic spices created vibrant traditional dishes for family gatherings and communal celebrations. 

Melvin Hall, CEO, Global Village Foods

A world away, Mel, from Memphis, cherished Sunday dinners with three generations of family around a table full of bold, soulful Southern fare. 

The two met in Kenya and settled in Vermont, a state well known for its slow food movement and strong community. They began a food business, Global Village Foods, based on their favorite recipes. Out of local food festivals, farmers markets, and a restaurant, they built up an enthusiastic following for African-inspired foods. 

As parents of a child who had severe food allergies, they realized how challenging it was to find flavorful, nutritious, good food options. They believed everyone deserved to have a great-tasting meal that fit their needs, and so they re-imagined traditional African favorites as allergy-friendly, vegan, and gluten-free meal options. 

To share the warmth and comfort of fresh-made dishes with the ease and convenience of ready-to-eat frozen meals, Demaris and Mel created Global Village Cuisine. As demand for their products grew, especially at universities, Demaris and Melvin needed a loan to build inventory and hire additional staff. They turned to Fair Food Fund for assistance. 

In 2022, Fair Food Fund provided a participation loan to Global Village Foods in partnership with Vermont-based Flexible Capital Fund. With this collaborative investment, Mel and Demaris were able to grow their business at a key time. We were excited to provide a loan to support a plant-based food business, bringing culturally relevant, locally sourced food options into the marketplace.

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Detroit Grocer Improves Local Sourcing

with Garden Fresh Supermarket


Detroit, Michigan

For food retailers across the country, sourcing local fruits and vegetables is often easier said than done. Among many challenges, local grocery stores are limited to the produce available to them through their suppliers. If suppliers are not connected to local food distributors, it may put access to local products out of reach for retailers. It often takes time and effort to source locally—but Garden Fresh has done the work. 

As grocery costs continue to rise, the Double Up Food Bucks program continues to help families with low income bring home more fresh fruits and vegetables. 

With a dollar-for-dollar match at participating Double Up locations, people using SNAP can get more fresh, local produce for their money, up to $10 per day. And with a staggering 212% increase in usage between 2019 and 2022, Double Up is helping more people than ever before—right when they needed it most. 

Double Up is a true win-win-win: Families bring home more healthy food, local businesses get a boost, and area farmers can sell more of their produce. In 2021, 85% of farmers participating in Double Up made more money, allowing them to expand production and grow their businesses.

Jonathan Morad, Store Manager at Garden Fresh Supermarket

There are now 250 participating Double Up locations across Michigan, with 24 in Detroit alone. One of those is Garden Fresh Marketplace. For owner Jonathon Morad, participating in Double Up was a no-brainer.  

“I thought it was a great opportunity to pass on deals to my customers,” he said. “Based on the clientele I have and my mission as a store owner in the city of Detroit, it’s my duty to offer great fresh products.” 

It can be challenging to improve and track local sourcing, though—not to mention introducing the concept of Double Up Food Bucks to customers. Morad cleared both hurdles with a single strategy: communication.  

To enroll customers, he created a competition to encourage cashiers to sign up people for the program. The more people that joined the program, the more Double Up Food Bucks were spent. “A lot of customers think there’s a catch,” Morad said. “We try to explain that there isn’t. We’re just trying to get fresher food on their tables.” Once they began enlisting customers, Morad said, “The program sold itself.”  

To identify locally grown produce, Morad built closer relationships with his existing distributors and vendors. “It was more about clarifying where the product was coming from,” Morad said. “Before the program started, vendors would only tell us if it came from inside the country or not. Now we’re getting exact locations.”  

And in peak growing season, June through September, Detroit’s Eastern Market becomes a huge piece of Garden Fresh’s local produce puzzle. “It’s fresh, local, and at a good price point,” Morad said.  

Morad credits his quality relationships with vendors for this success. By asking questions and communicating, he was able to find the local products he needed. “It’s all about who you’re doing business with,” he said.  

Indeed, from customers to vendors, Morad said that making Double Up Food Bucks a success at his store came down to relationships. He is serious about his market’s role in Detroiters’ lives, and that goes beyond seeing produce fly off the shelves. When asked what local produce was especially popular, Morad said simply: “Everything.” 

“Any grocer who's not a part of this really doesn’t know what they’re doing, in my opinion,” he said. “You’re offering better products and healthier food for the community that can’t be found elsewhere.” 

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Supporting Nutrition Incentives Nationwide

With the Nutrition Incentive Hub 



In 2019, Fair Food Network and long-time evaluation partner Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition co-designed and co-developed the Nutrition Incentive Program Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation, and Information Center (NTAE) to serve the needs of the Double Up Food Bucks national network and the broader field of Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) grantees. 

In the time since its founding, the Nutrition Incentive Hub or Hub as the NTAE is affectionately known, has become the recognized source of healthy food incentive learning, evaluation, and support. Fair Food Network has used its knowledge, resources, and experience gained through the success of its pioneering, home-grown nutrition incentive program (Double Up Food Bucks) in Michigan to help communities across the US start, strengthen, and scale their own nutrition incentive and produce prescription programs.  

As GusNIP-funded projects continue to start up and scale up across the country, we are seeing promising results. The Hub’s national evaluation of GusNIP-funded incentive programs show that participants eat more fruits and vegetables than the average adult. And the longer they participate in such programs, the more fruits and vegetables they eat over time. As the Hub works to build on this exciting momentum, GusNIP-funded programs continue to face challenges to scaling up to meet community needs.   

Solving problems, together 

The Hub works with programs of all sizes—from those just establishing a foothold to mature organizations scaling statewide—to strategically solve common problems. No matter the size of the operation, one challenge all programs contend with is implementing technology. Programs like Double Up that require SNAP transactions need software that is built into the farmers market or grocery store point of sale (POS) system. Because of the difference in program size and mechanics, what works best for one program may not work at all for another. To solve this dilemma, the Hub is working with stakeholders to refine system requirements and foster buy-in for clear, shared guidelines for incentive processing and distribution technology.  


A key function of the Hub is to test and/or document innovations in order to promote and scale what works. Many programs, for instance, inspired by changes in shopping behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic, are interested in offering an e-commerce platform and the option to make SNAP purchases online. These efforts are by nature trial-and-error, and the Hub is coordinating learning to disseminate best practices among grantees as they test solutions to common obstacles.  

Currently trending among GusNIP grantees are produce box programs and home delivery offerings. In this model, shoppers receive a farm share box with pre-selected, GusNIP-eligible fruits and vegetables. In many cases, the GusNIP awardee assembles these boxes and delivers them to the shopper, increasing access to fruits and vegetables for those who may be homebound, disabled, or undergoing medical treatments. Programs across the country — from South Carolina to Washington, from Oregon to Ohio, from Texas to Washington, DC — all received GusNIP awards in 2022 that supported farm share boxes. As this trend grows, the Hub is offering guidance on how best to establish and support farm share box programs across the country. 

Supporting the field 

One thing all nutrition incentive and produce prescription programs have in common is the need to secure funding to sustain their operations. A major source of this funding is the USDA’s GusNIP program, which in 2022 invited applications for initiatives to innovate nutrition incentive and produce prescription implementation. Composing a large-scale GusNIP application is challenging even for seasoned veterans, and the Nutrition Incentive Hub acts as a guide, helping practitioners navigate the complex application process. In 2022, GusNIP-funded produce prescription and nutrition incentive grantees were required for the first time to have a one-on-one consultation with the Hub. Fair Food Network led the process, providing more than 180 hours of technical assistance to 166 organizations, 75% of which were first-time applicants to GusNIP. GusNIP awards included $20.7 million for 43 produce prescription programs, 95% of which were first-time GusNIP applicants who the Hub will assist with new technical assistance offerings customized for their specific needs in 2023.  

Still, other more established programs have extensive operating experience and are looking to scale their programs statewide. With expansion comes the need for additional fundraising and coalition building. In 2022 FFN helped programs across the country to better understand the process for pursuing and securing state-level funding. For example, we gave Field & Fork Network in New York a crash course in the appropriations process. Double Up New York received first-time funding of $2 million from the New York state legislature in 2022 and is now working to secure permanent funding for Double Up in the state budget. We also provided technical support to Jackson Medical Mall Foundation’s efforts to educate the Mississippi state legislature about incentives, including commissioning a study of Double Up Mississippi demonstrating the economic impact of nutrition incentives in their state. Double Up Mississippi received first-time state funding of $400,000 in 2022. Other successes included the Sustainable Food Center’s securing of $6 million dollars in the 2024 Texas state budget, and City Green now strongly positioned to secure first-time funding from the New Jersey legislature in 2023.    

Building capacity  

In 2022, the Hub awarded $1 million to twenty-four nutrition incentive and produce prescription projects across the country to support initiatives that expand their reach, enhance community engagement, and strengthen their program’s long-term sustainability in high-need communities. Grants of up to $50,000 each will enhance nutrition incentive and produce prescription projects at farmers markets and grocery stores in sixteen states and the Blackfeet Nation (Montana) to expand affordable access to fruits and vegetables as the need for nutrition security remains heightened. 

As a trusted partner for program development, technical assistance, and evaluation, the Nutrition Incentive Hub in 2022 helped to develop, document, and model approaches that create immediate impact, support community-driven progress, and change systems for the better. 

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Hitting the road with delicious fun foods

With Jetta’s Popcorn & Fun Foods 


Detroit, Michigan

Magita Barbee has been in the fun food business for 20+ years. As the proprietor of Breezin’ Concessions, LLC, a seasonal mobile ice cream truck, Magita observed that customers couldn’t get enough of her delicious popcorn in the off-season. To meet this growing demand, Magita founded Jetta’s Gourmet Popcorn in 2013. 

Magita participated in Fair Food Network’s Food Finance Essentials training as part of the Michigan Good Food Fund in 2022. The training is a multi-week intensive course designed to help food entrepreneurs tune up their business model, improve their financial know-how, and prepare for financing. In the months following the training, her business received its first loan from Fair Food Network’s Fair Food Fund to upgrade a food truck as well as provide additional technical assistance to boost marketing efforts. The working capital provided to Barbee by Fair Food Fund helped her mobile business take advantage of Michigan’s summer months and community events and festivals. 

“The biggest ah-ha I have had is realizing that I wanted to be able to go where the people are. I no longer desired to just be in one spot day after day, waiting for people to come to me. So being mobile, along with a central location, is my desire,” said Barbee. 

In 2023, Barbee received additional working capital from Fair Food Fund to hire additional staff and keep up with demand during peak summer months.  

Jetta’s Gourmet Popcorn and Fun Foods is now online, in four retail locations, at events held in Detroit’s Huntington Place, and across town in a revamped mobile food truck. 

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Growing State Support for Double Up Texas

With Sustainable Food Center and American Heart Association


Austin, Texas

Fair Food Network’s Senior Fellow Noah Fulmer and Associate Director of Policy Alex Canepa collaborated with Sustainable Food Center (SFC) and American Heart Association (AHA) to support their successful push for state funding for SNAP nutrition incentives, like Double Up Food Bucks, in Texas.   

Much of the work of our policy team is designed to broaden access to healthy foods by expanding nutrition incentive programs to more people in more places. Our team’s partnership with Sustainable Food Center and the American Heart Association, supported by funding by the Dell Foundation, ushered in the most significant geographic expansion of state SNAP nutrition incentive program funding in the South to date.

To begin, Fulmer and Canepa partnered closely with the SFC team during a two-day policy planning retreat. The teams worked together to set an advocacy strategy, identify long-term funding needs, and chart the organizational structure of a statewide Double Up Texas program. A critical piece of their strategy was the hiring of a lobbyist to advocate for statewide expansion efforts. Canepa continued to support SFC in their successful application for funding to hire Colyandro Public Affairs in fall 2022.   

By January 2023, Canepa, SFC, AHA, and Colyandro helped write and refine legislation and an appropriations rider promoting SNAP nutrition incentives that was introduced to the Texas Legislature — signifying Texas’ first-ever advocacy campaign for state appropriations for nutrition incentives.  

In February 2023, Fulmer and Canepa continued the momentum of the advocacy campaign by joining SFC and AHA for American Heart Association’s Advocacy Day at the Texas capitol. This event provided an opportunity for Double Up partners across the state to educate legislators about Double Up impacts in their respective districts, work to secure funding for Double Up in Texas’ 2024–25 state budget, and discuss the potential for greater impact with additional funding. 

The collaborative advocacy efforts were ultimately successful. The Texas Legislature provided $6 million for SNAP incentives in its final state budget.   

“Texas legislators from both sides of the aisle came together to invest in nutrition,” Canepa shared.  “When the nutrition incentive community works with an ideologically diverse coalition of advocates, anything is possible.” 

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A Double Up Michigan Partnership Improves Local Sourcing

With Taste the Local Difference  


Detroit, Michigan

In 2022, Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks program partnered with Taste the Local Difference to take a closer look at ways of improving local sourcing for grocery stores in Detroit. 

Taste the Local Difference has an expansive statewide network of relationships with Michigan’s farmers, farmers markets, and retail grocers. These connections are key to helping food retailers in places like Detroit and other participating locations across the state attain and maintain Double Up’s 20% local sourcing requirement during peak growing season.      

Paul Green, Local Food Retail Specialist at Taste the Local Difference, led this work on behalf of Double Up Food Bucks. To start, Green partnered closely with the grocery store owners and managers to better understand existing produce supply chains and barriers for sourcing local produce. Over the first year of the project, he began to uncover common issues related to local sourcing in Detroit and identified why certain stores were more successful than others.       

Green says, “For many store managers and owners, it’s the first time they’ve had support to look at their supply chains and develop new tools and strategies to source more local food. It’s often not an issue of retailers wanting to source more locally—there are so many barriers at play. It’s taken a year to get to a place where we understand the challenges they are facing and can truly talk about what’s possible.”     

“Everybody wants this to work,” he continued. “Not a single person I’ve spoken to opposes the idea of local [sourcing]. They just don’t have the resources—whatever they might be—to really focus on this.”      


What did Green learn so far?    

It takes a lot of time to research ways to source local produce for grocery stores. It’s often time store owners or managers don’t have, especially when they are trying to keep their doors open. Green commented that when they’re able to find a local sourcing formula that works, they will move forward with it.    

There are opportunities to build connections between the local food distribution system, suppliers, and grocery stores. Local grocery stores offer the produce available to them through their suppliers. If suppliers are not connected to local food distributors, it inherently limits access to such products. 

Many grocery stores are getting more local foods than reported. Michigan-grown produce requires separate tracking. It is not always obvious what was grown locally when it arrives at the grocery store. In some cases, invoices identify if the produce supplied is local, but not always. This makes it difficult for retailers to report. 

For grocery stores, sometimes it’s as simple as asking for what you need. Green recalled a visit to one food retailer: The manager called his distributor on the spot and asked for more locally sourced produce. The supplier immediately said yes. The food retailer began receiving a monthly report detailing the store’s Michigan produce purchases. In another instance, he learned that a general manager at a store in an under-resourced area regularly achieved the 20 percent goal by directing their produce buyer to prioritize locally sourced produce from July to November. Lastly, one of the distributors that Green spoke to said they implemented a new Michigan section in their weekly food order book to make it easier for grocery stores to identify local produce.     

Grocery stores choose products based on what makes financial sense for them—especially when contending with high inflation rates or during challenging times like the COVID crisis. Store managers and owners do their best to reach the 20 percent local sourcing requirement, but they often don’t have time to research ways to source more local products, even when it can make financial sense.

And this is exactly where Green focused his efforts, connecting locally sourced food within Michigan’s farm-to-fork networks to retailers and, ultimately, consumers—to the benefit of all involved.

“Local food makes so much possible in Michigan,” Green stated. “There’s a lot of food being grown in Michigan to do a lot of feeding. When we can better connect the farmer to retailer to the consumer, we can alleviate a lot of challenges in the community. More dollars into the pockets of farmers, strong local economies, and more healthy food choices for Michigan families.”    
Looking ahead, Fair Food Network and Taste the Local Difference aim to work with more distributors to prioritize locally grown produce in Michigan grocery stores. The supply-chain benefits of increased wholesale purchases of Michigan produce can lower prices for shoppers who are conscious of buying locally—especially those who use Double Up. And the distributors love selling Michigan produce—after all, they’re Michigan food businesses, too. 

Local sourcing is a win for everyone—from growers to sellers to shoppers—that wants to support Michigan grown produce and make it more accessible to Double Up shoppers in places like Detroit and beyond.  

"Double Up Food Bucks continues to be a win for families, farmers, and local economies,” said Cassidy Strome, Acting Director for Double Up Food Bucks in Michigan. "Now more than ever, we see and hear how impactful Double Up is as more families utilize the program across the state. The need for affordable food that nourishes the body and soul continues to grow, and our partnerships with food advocates, the community, and funders are critical to Double Up's success."   

Double Up Food Bucks is a nutrition incentive program that aims to increase fruit and vegetable purchasing among people who use SNAP as part of their monthly food budget. The program is funded by the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP), a grant program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) with funds appropriated by the 2018 Farm Bill. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is firmly committed to creating marketing opportunities for Michigan fruit and vegetable growers and provides some of the matching funding for Double Up in Michigan. 

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Detroit Soul

Detroit entrepreneurs redefine soul food

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$50,000 Collateral Initiative investment enabling financing from Detroit Development Fund


Detroit, Michigan

In 2010, Detroit residents Jerome Brown and Samuel Van Buren started a catering business that served homestyle cooking, but with healthful substitutes. “My childhood memories are family gatherings where we all got together around food. But we wanted to make it better for you. The same soulful flavors, just made with lighter options,” says Brown.

So, collard greens are cooked with smoked turkey, not ham hock. Lard is swapped out for vegetable oils. But the meals still pack a flavorful punch. Turns out, others agreed too. While working full-time jobs for nearly ten years, and with the support of their wives, Brown and Van Buren built a robust customer base for their catering and to-go meals through Detroit Soul. In 2015, they went from operating remotely to a brick-and-mortar location where customers could call in and pick up orders. By 2020, they conquered the traditional 50 percent failure rate for small businesses and saw sales soar.

“We wanted to be that neighborhood place, where people could turn to for a good nutritious meal, and not have to go to fast-food establishments, which are everywhere,” says Brown.

To make it more affordable, particularly during the pandemic, they started offering half portions that were priced well under $10, ideal for one person. “We really didn’t want someone to feel like it was out of their reach,” he adds.

But there was one thing that Brown and Van Buren had not been able to do: Provide a place for folks to sit, gather, and have a meal together. They wanted a sit-down restaurant, in addition to their carry-out spot.

“Many people have been asking us, ‘why not have a proper place where I can come and bring my family,’” Brown says. “So we started looking at how to finance it, knowing that restaurants are not an easy business.”

Their first venture had been self-funded for years. But to build out a second location, Detroit Soul needed additional financing. Brown and Van Buren were introduced to a local lender, Detroit Development Fund (DDF), as they looked for a loan.

As a nonprofit organization and CDFI, DDF was intrigued, but cautious of making another restaurant investment given the number of other restaurants in its portfolio and the challenges facing the food service industry with the pandemic. In addition, because DDF makes loans of up to $250,000, this one was erring on the larger size.

To help de-risk the investment, DDF worked with Fair Food Network as a like-minded partner in the Michigan Good Food Fund. Fair Food Network contributed $50,000 to Detroit Soul’s deal from its Fair Food Fund Collateral Initiative. In fact, it was during the pandemic when many small businesses, especially those led by Black and Brown entrepreneurs, were at risk of being washed away, that Fair Food Network launched the Collateral Initiative as a credit enhancement tool to help de-risk investments for other business lenders like DDF.

With this additional collateral in place, DDF was able to fund the entire expansion loan, which closed in July 2021. “Had it not been for the Michigan Good Food Fund partners and the Collateral Initiative this deal may have been much harder for us to pull together,” says Angelia Sharp, a senior loan officer at DDF, and a patron at Detroit Soul.

But the support was more than just funds to live out their dream of a dine-in restaurant, Brown says. “It’s been nothing but hands-on support. If I have a question pertaining to the business, I have someone to turn to for advice.”

Follow-on business assistance is part of the Collateral Initiative, too. After the loan, Fair Food Network helped the duo with other business needs, such as marketing and building out a robust website, to further support the business’ success.

As part of Fair Food Network’s business assistance, a new website and culturally relevant content were developed to speak to the rich history of Detroit and the food Detroit Soul serves up daily. With the right marketing support, Brown and VanBuren could focus on other aspects of opening a new location.

Even with the experience of a corporate career, Brown and Van Buren joke that navigating all the regulations in the food industry have been mind-boggling. They got their first taste of forms, paperwork, and compliance regs when the two scoped out a kitchen for Detroit Soul. Brown says, “I remember spending a full 8-hour day going from city office to city office, asking why I had been charged certain fees and what were all the inspections I needed to be in business. There needs to be a roadmap for these kinds of things. I persevered, but many would have given up.”

Working alongside Fair Food Network and other local partners, Detroit Soul now has funding secured and business support at their disposal. Brown and Van Buren expect to open their second location and launch their new website in summer 2022. They hope to repeat the success of Detroit Soul once again.

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North Flint Food Market

A blueprint for food sovereignty

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$100,000 bridge loan

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Business Assistance

1:1 multi-year embedded support over five years


Flint, Michigan

After the Flint water crisis in 2014, the last two major grocery stores left the city’s north side, leaving residents without access to healthy food at the moment it was needed most.

Pastor Reginald Flynn, a Flint native who returned to the city 13 years ago to minister at the Foss Avenue Baptist Church, was not surprised. Nor was he going to beg them to come back.

Instead, spurred by residents, the North Flint Reinvestment Corporation, a place-based nonprofit led by Pastor Flynn, decided to open a new grocery store — one that was by and for the community. 

Says Pastor Flynn, “This is a place where corporations come and go at their will. We don’t want to be subjected to that. We want to be the solution."

The journey has not been without financial and bureaucratic hurdles. Yet after six years, North Flint Reinvestment Corporation raised over $7 million and the North Flint Food Market broke ground, revitalizing a long-vacant and obsolete building.

Fair Food Fund was part of the capital stack, providing a critical bridge loan that helped cover transaction costs — a common hurdle, especially for community-based developers that lack deep balance sheets to prepay such hefty expenses.

Beyond financing, we’ve been honored to know and partner with Pastor Flynn over the past five years through our work with the Michigan Good Food Fund. 

Given Fair Food Network’s deep work in Flint with our Double Up Food Bucks SNAP incentive program, we recognized early on the importance of this grocery project. In addition to bringing healthy food to North Flint, the coop was the first step toward a broader vision of community-first development and cooperative economics.

This was a project that needed to come to fruition, and we wanted to help. We engaged a member of our Fair Food Fund investment committee, Daniel Tellalian, founder and CEO of Angel City Advisors. With expertise in healthy-food retail and community-development finance, Tellalian served as an embedded thought partner and collaborator with Pastor Flynn, tackling the financial plan, brokering connections, and coordinating a complex capital stack.

It has been a long-haul adventure — more than five years, 12+ sources of funds recruited, tax credit financing, hundreds of hours, and a few thousand emails. Yet it is this type of integrated, long-term support that demonstrates the reimagined healthy-food financing that’s often needed to support good food enterprises.

It also models how investments follow community-driven priorities. Alongside public and private investments, the co-op market was funded by 900+ member-owners and more than $200,000 that was raised by the community itself.

While this project was powered by the vision and tenacity of Pastor Flynn, there were so many others that stepped up and provided financial support along the way, including the State of Michigan, the City of Flint, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Ruth Mott Foundation, ELGA Credit Union, USDA Community Food Projects, Healthy Food Financing Initiative, LISC, and the Food Co-op Initiative, as well as other community funders and New Markets Tax Credit partners.

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Supermercado Mexico

Local grocery chain triples its footprint to meet local demand

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$100,000 participation in a $346,800 loan with Northern Initiatives, a fellow Michigan Good Food Fund lender

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Grand Rapids, Michigan

Supermercado Mexico is a local grocery chain with three stores in Western Michigan’s Grand Rapids metro area. The Division Street location opened in 2011 in a corridor of businesses serving a largely Mexican and Mexican-American clientele. It has since become the company’s anchor grocery location featuring a full-service butcher, produce, baked goods, and other culturally relevant products and services.

The stores are owned by Olvera Enterprises, which is led by brothers Javier and Pablo Olvera, who have years of food-retail service experience. In addition to the three grocery stores, they also own a taqueria and bakery in town.

Yet the Olveras’ commitment to supporting Hispanic-owned businesses in the Grand Rapids community runs deeper: In the works is also Placita Olvera, an ambitious multi-use project that aims to transform an old factory building into a multi-use space featuring a brewery, multiple Mexican restaurants, as well as office space for Hispanic-led businesses and nonprofits in the area. The Olveras also envision hosting an outdoor farmers market to bring fresh food into a neighborhood that lacks many other options

As Supermercado Mexico's store outgrew its Division Street location, the Olveras purchased a building next door to expand. This move tripled the size of their flagship store and bumped up staffing needs to 20 more employees.

This all required an upfront infusion of capital.

In response the Olveras turned to one of their trusted lending partners, Northern Initiatives. Through its role as a lending partner with the Michigan Good Food Fund, Northern Initiatives had also provided a 2018 loan supporting the Placita Olvera project. 

While Northern Initiatives was unable to commit to the full amount needed, they saw the potential in the project and brought it to other Michigan Good Food Fund lending partners for consideration and collaboration. 

Given the strong mission fit for Fair Food Fund, we were excited to work together to make this investment possible.

In July 2021, Fair Food Fund provided a $100,000 participation in a $346,800 loan with Northern Initiatives. December 2021 saw follow-on financing also in partnership with Northern Initiative. Together, these investments are supporting building improvements, equipment, and working capital for the expanded store.

"Supermercado Mexico is a longtime Northern Initiatives customer. We were pleased that the Fair Food Fund joined us in supporting their latest expansion since we share the same goal – healthy, thriving communities," says Elissa Sangalli, President of Northern Initiatives.

Today, Supermercado’s doors are open, welcoming the community to a beautiful new store. From the outside’s street appeal to the inside’s vibrant colors and hand-painted murals celebrating different states in Mexico, the new store has created a buzz. Store manager Benjamin Cochran notes that they’re seeing many new faces with a considerable number of people stopping in to see the murals and find their home state.

"The Supermercado Mexico and Olvera Enterprises teams poured their hearts into making this store everything it could be and more,” says Cochran. “This is all for the betterment of the community; without the community, none of this would be possible. They deserved better, so we wanted to give them better. More space, new installations, a larger product selection, but with the same great service and experience they've known for years. We are so proud of all our teams for all their hard work and look forward to providing the community with all their needs in one stop!"

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Daily Table

Grocery chain on a mission brings together Double Up and financing

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$125,000 Line of Credit

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Business Assistance

Double Up Food Bucks partner since 2018


Dorchester and Roxbury,

“America’s food system is a paradox: We have hunger alongside sky-high rates of obesity and diet-related illnesses, often in the same places. Healthy foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are economically out of reach for a lot of families. It’s not just a shortage of calories; it’s a shortage of affordable nutrients.”

Michael Malmberg

Chief Operating Officer, Daily Table, a nonprofit grocery store chain in Massachusetts

Daily Table is on a mission to change that equation. It provides fresh produce, grocery staples, and made-from-scratch prepared foods at prices low enough to fit within every budget, including families who rely on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps).

It also roots in communities most in need, starting in the diverse Boston neighborhoods of Dorchester and Roxbury. “We had a customer tell us that she was able to buy berries for the first time because otherwise they’re beyond her budget. The barriers to healthy eating are truly economic,” Malmberg reiterates.

Daily Table’s unique model is the brainchild of Doug Rauch, former president of Trader Joe’s. There are some similarities: Daily Table stores have a small footprint at 3,000 to 4,000 square feet, a fraction of some of the grocery superstores, which can top out at 25,000 square feet. This keeps costs low and builds on the Trader Joe’s-like experience: Far fewer products (at about 500) and a more personalized shopping experience.

Daily Table also makes a concerted effort to be a bright, upbeat, and welcoming place for everyone. “We don’t have security guards following you around, which I see in a lot of urban markets,” Malmberg says. “It goes back to treating people with dignity. We want to earn your patronage just like any other store.”

But what makes Daily Table stand out is its produce-first focus and its methodical commitment to low prices, offering customers 30 percent in savings compared to other grocery stores. 

“As a nonprofit, we can take advantage of favorable pricing from suppliers who value our mission, volunteers to help with tasks in our kitchens, and discounted or donated foods, which a for-profit entity could not do as easily,” says Malmberg. In addition, its nonprofit status opens opportunities, including accessing grants and donations from the local community and philanthropic donors. 

While most of Daily Table’s food is purchased from traditional vendors, a unique aspect of its supply chain is sourcing products that are closer to their “sell by” date than could be sold to a traditional retailer. While still high quality and safe, these products are often available at steep discounts or even donated. This allows Daily Table to pass along savings to its customers, while balancing out the razor thin margins on many of its other products.

For families that rely on SNAP, their food dollars have gone even further at Daily Table since it launched the healthy food incentive program Double Up Food Bucks in 2018. With Double Up, shoppers get 50 percent off fruit and vegetables bought with their SNAP dollars, up to $5 a day. 

Oran Hesterman, our founder CEO, was thrilled with Double Up’s success at Daily Table. “It was the fastest start we’ve ever seen with Double Up. Daily Table was doing more business in three months than other stores were able to do in one year.”

As COVID pushed one in eight Americans into hunger, Daily Table’s grocery stores became even more essential. 

Massachusetts saw a nearly 60 percent increase in the state’s food- insecurity rate, one of the largest increases in the country. Daily Table’s SNAP and Double Up purchases soared: In 2020, Daily Table had nearly $200,000 in Double Up Food Bucks redemptions, a 54 percent increase over 2019.

To expand its reach, Daily Table opened a third location in Central Square, Cambridge in 2021 and is in the process of launching two additional stores in 2022 — all of which is growing its need for working capital.

To help fill the gap, Daily Table turned to Fair Food Network’s Fair Food Fund for a $125,000 line of credit. This investment will free Daily Table from having to tap its grant dollars for inventory purchases or overhead costs, instead prioritizing those dollars to support Double Up redemptions.

Such flexible financing will provide Daily Table with a crucial bridge through low-cash periods during this expansion phase, particularly in between grant cycles or when philanthropic funding is low.

For our Fair Food Fund, it was a natural fit.

“With its focus on affordable, fresh food and its commitment to paying livable wages and hiring directly from the neighborhoods it serves, Daily Table is a natural mission fit,” says Hesterman. “Overlaying financing with our Double Up partnership was a win-win.”

As Daily Table expands to new locations, Hesterman is excited not just for communities in Massachusetts but beyond. “If this model can work economically, it has massive implications for communities across the country that lack healthy food options.”

Malmberg agrees. “We are working hard to further develop and refine the Daily Table model in Boston in the coming year with the goal to expand to new geographies. We believe that Daily Table can be the first truly scalable solution to nutrition insecurity in America.”

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Community-Driven Financing

with the Michigan Good Food Fund


Detroit, Michigan

This year we assumed administrative management of the Michigan Good Food Fund, a statewide food financing collaborative designed to support food entrepreneurs sparking positive change in their communities.

This shift came at a significant moment. Partners had collectively infused $17 million in loans and grants and served 300 Michigan-based food businesses since the collaborative’s inception in 2015. Despite this initial success, Michigan Good Food Fund partners recognized the need to anchor its next phase of food investments in community voice and pivot to meet the most pressing needs facing local businesses.

As founding members, we asked ourselves: Are we meeting the needs of those we intend to serve? Are there gaps in our capital product offerings? What is the role of technical assistance? And ultimately, what does success look like for those on the ground leading the charge in their communities?

This reflection set off a year-long journey of listening sessions, working groups, and collaborative co-creation to re-ground this place-based initiative in the vision and priorities of the Michigan entrepreneurs it seeks to support.

As we closed 2021, a new Stakeholder Board was established to define the investment priorities for the Michigan Good Food Fund moving forward. The group sparked thinking about what the future can hold – including ways the collaborative can create greater impact for the state’s mission-led good food businesses with a focus on people who are most often overlooked by traditional investors, particularly people who have been marginalized due to their race, ethnicity and/or gender.

Read on for highlights from a conversation with Jean Chorazyczewski, one of Fair Food Network’s leads on behalf of the Michigan Good Food Fund, who shepherded this work on what we’ve learned, where we’re still learning, and the work ahead.

Why a Stakeholder Board?   

JC: The purpose of our Stakeholder Board is to integrate community input and participation in our work. This group ensures our work going forward addresses—and is held accountable to—community-identified needs. The Stakeholder Board’s role is to co-create Michigan Good Food Fund’s vision of success, set investment policies and priorities, inform strategies, and maintain accountability of the collaborative’s partners to impacted beneficiaries. Stakeholder Board members also help connect the collaborative’s partners to community and entrepreneurial networks across Michigan, ensuring investments respond to community-identified needs.

What did you learn in your listening sessions?

JC: After stepping into administrative management of this initiative in early 2021, Fair Food Network started by deep-dive listening sessions with the collaborative’s existing partners. At the same time, our team organized working groups with a broader network of partners, including entrepreneurs. We wanted to learn their perspectives on three specific topics: Mission and metrics, community voice, and capital and technical assistance providers and offerings.

Our extended conversations raised successes and strengths as well as missteps, gaps, and challenges. It also led to some “ah-ha” moments and planted the seed for broader paradigm shifts. Across discussions, common themes included:


  • Addressing global issues, such as climate change and growing inequity, through food
  • Defining who Michigan Good Food Fund aims to serve and do better in identifying needs in different communities
  • Better connecting business assistance to real capital, especially for businesses owned and operated by people of color
  • Understanding the role of healthy food and how it’s defined in the collaborative moving forward
  • Expanding our reach to food entrepreneurs in every corner of the state

Fair Food Network compiled themes, insights, and recommendations for consideration by an independent Steering Committee. The Steering Committee then nominated candidates for the new Stakeholder Board to take these ideas and chart the course forward for the collaborative.

Who is included in the Stakeholder Board?

JC: Our collective intention was to re-ground this work in community voice by bringing together knowledgeable, representative voices from across Michigan and the food value chain. This meant farmers, local food entrepreneurs, grocers, and community leaders working alongside business assistance and capital providers to chart the work forward and have a shared voice in its work.

What strategic shifts is the Stakeholder Board making? 

JC: The Stakeholder Board developed a new mission, investment policies, impact objectives, and portfolio performance targets that ushered in significant shifts.

This included a commitment to more diverse capital products and a shift from independent
business assistance and capital deployment to integrated and sustained investments. In addition, instead of prioritizing loan readiness and healthy food as primary filters, the collaborative recognized that some projects take years to come to fruition. Michigan Good Food Fund wants to partner with entrepreneurs to co-create outcomes and help them reach their future goals rather than invest solely in what’s happening today.

Finally, the Stakeholder Board elevated an “act local, think global” ethos that reframes local food financing as a tool to address some of the most pressing issues we face globally, including climate change and growing inequalities. We’ve continued to discuss its relevance in the collaborative’s work in 2022.

Fair Food Network serves as both an administrator of the initiative as well as a lender with its Fund. What role can a nonprofit Fund play in this network?  

JC: As a social impact organization, Fair Food Network can focus on mission-aligned investments. This allows us to be more impact-oriented and less beholden to traditional financing structures.

In practice, this means much more creative and catalytic investments. Fair Food Network’s investment can take early action, providing a signaling investment so others can come behind us. We can take bets on “riskier” entrepreneurs when we feel the potential impact is high. We understand the food financing landscape and when there’s a sticking point, and we can work to unlock others’ capital – financing food businesses that may otherwise be declined. As a private impact fund, we’re also not locked into any single capital product. Our Fund aims to start with the entrepreneur’s needs and craft an integrated financial solution that fits their needs.

While our Fund is still growing, we hope this flexibility allows us to break new ground and be an additive partner to the broader community of food lenders and impact investors.

What’s a lesson learned that you’d like to share with others?

JC: Our team learned about the importance of patience in the process. It takes time to engage stakeholders and bring them up to speed on progress and, ultimately, let them decide where success lies. For a can-do organization like Fair Food Network, it was challenging to pause and spend the time it takes to truly listen and learn.

That said, it was well worth it. There is not only empowerment and enthusiasm in engaging the community, but also incredible ideas offered by those proximate to the problem. Our collaborative remains grateful to our partners, work groups, Steering Committee, and Stakeholder Board who invested their time and shared their knowledge to chart a new path forward for the Michigan Good Food Fund.

What would you elevate for a potential funder or investor?

JC: The Stakeholder Board has defined what success looks like and set our vision. A diverse network of partners, including representatives from across the state and various sectors, are now at the table. In addition, more than a dozen groups providing capital to food entrepreneurs in Michigan have signed onto this community-driven collaborative.

The Michigan Good Food Fund is a unique opportunity for funders and investors looking to deploy values-aligned capital, aligned with community-defined priorities and oversight, at scale.

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Orchestrating an Ecosystem

with the emerging Camden Community Food Fund

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Camden, New Jersey

While 2020 saw the seeding of new work in Camden, 2021 saw it coalesce and root locally.

Camden is a city with strong civic ties and an entrepreneurial spirit. It is home to esteemed universities, hospitals, and corporations and in recent years has seen an influx of new investments and community development.

Despite such assets and the success of the broader Northeast region, Camden’s majority Black and Brown residents have often been left out of the opportunity, wealth, and power surrounding them. 

Local groups recognized that more equitable growth required aligning future investments in the vision, priorities, and entrepreneurialism of its residents.

In 2020, a new collective began to emerge that aimed to do just that. They focused on the food sector, where local businesses are both the backbone of every neighborhood and the key to job creation and healthy food access.

Support for this work was seeded by Campbell Soup Company and the Campbell Soup Foundation, rooted in Camden for over 150 years. We were honored to be invited to support the design phase and initial partnership development leveraging our experience with place-based investment collectives.

2021 saw the coming together of more than a dozen partners including local community development corporations, community engagement groups, Rutgers University-Camden, and The Food Trust among others. It also saw the emergence of the Community Foundation of South Jersey as the local leader to take this effort into implementation. 

2022 will see the establishment of a majority resident Community Board developed through neighborhood-based community engagement. The Board will be responsible for setting the fund’s vision and investment priorities in support of local food businesses. It will also hold community accountability to the work through implementation.

This work is at the intersection of equity and power, modeling how we can better meet local entrepreneurs where they are while also ensuring the flow of capital and investments supports food access alongside racial equity and community self-determination.

What makes this effort stand out is not just its commitment to community voice, but its work to orchestrate an entire ecosystem of partners around community-identified priorities, including for lenders using their own balance sheets.

We look forward to continuing to partner in this innovative collective and support future investments for a more equitable and resilient Camden.

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2022 Impact Report

Fair Food Network believes that when we start with food, so much is possible:
collaborative solutions, lasting partnerships, vibrant communities, and new paths forward.

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A letter from our CEO

It's been my lifelong quest to confront our biggest challenges by focusing first on what unites us. Starting with food does precisely that: It brings us to the table to find common ground, build community, and take collective action.

In 2023, upon the retirement of our founder and longtime CEO, Oran Hesterman, I took the helm at Fair Food Network. Every day I have the joy of partnering with an extraordinary team of dedicated and enthusiastic believers in food-driven solutions. We continue to take what we are learning in our work in our home state of Michigan and, together with our partners, bring solutions to scale for national impact.

Since our founding in 2009, we’ve grown from offering Double Up Food Bucks in five Detroit farmers markets to the technical assistance provider for all nutrition incentive and produce prescription projects in the US.  As we’re supporting the growth of nutrition incentives and expanding opportunities for Michigan retailers and farmers, our approach and dedication to the communities where we work have taken root and spread from California to Maine.  Alongside nutrition incentives, our success in developing place-based impact investing collectives has broadened healthy food access while strengthening local economies and demonstrating what’s possible. Our role as the administrative lead for the Michigan Good Food Fund gives us the opportunity to model, share, and exchange knowledge to improve how food is used as a tool for equity. But even as our work and impact are national in scope, the innovations we're testing and the impact we’re evaluating are firmly planted in a community-first mindset.

As hopeful as I am about what lies ahead, I also recognize that these are still very challenging times. We face long-standing inequities in our society and in our food system, as well as mounting pressure on our environment due to climate change. To meet the moment, we need to look inward, identify our strengths, and address our shortcomings. This means engaging our communities by listening first, developing systems for measuring our impact, and holding ourselves accountable for our commitments to equity and justice.

Together, we are transforming how resources flow through the food economy. And we are poised to accomplish much, much more.

At Fair Food Network, we see food as a starting point for solutions. Food unites us as we work together to build a fair future. I look forward to the partnerships, innovation, and progress that will light our way forward.

With appreciation,

Kate's signature

Kate Krauss

CEO at Fair Food Network

When you start with food, so much is possible.

Whether we’re catalyzing change in communities across the US, sharing our experiences and modelling transformative solutions, or holding ourselves and our work accountable to our intended community impact, food serves as the starting point for solutions and a path to common ground.

Our Impact by the Numbers

Total hours of technical assistance provided to food businesses and organizations in 2022.


Total dollars invested into communities by Fair Food Network.

We know that farmers and local food businesses are engines for positive change, so we support and invest in their success. Our work focuses on shifting how essential resources flow through the food economy, building equity in communities across the country.

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Fair Food Network stands out as an organization that will offer social and environmental change. We are inspired by your extraordinary resilience and compassion, and we are proud to partner in order to advance the shared mission of growing community resiliency, health & wealth through food.

Clif Family Foundation

Partnering to Amplify Our Impact

These challenging times have reinforced the notion that nobody can go it alone. When we start with food and work together to support our shared mission, we increase our collective impact. We are so thankful for the many partnerships that have strengthened — and been made stronger by — our collective work.

We are proud of our longstanding partnership with Fair Food Network and the collective work and impact in supporting healthy food systems and food economies. And we look forward to continuing our investment in the partnership and work in service of thriving communities and sustainable economic development in Southeast Michigan.

Jim Boyle

Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation

Expanding healthy food choices and sparking economic opportunity.

We build and support nutrition incentives that expand healthy food choices and spark economic opportunity. Our Double Up Food Bucks program, which began in our home state of Michigan, has been adopted by partners across the country and continues to demonstrate the benefits of nutrition incentives for local farmers, retailers, and the people who need their services. And through our work with the Nutrition Incentive Hub, we also lead technical assistance and innovation work that strengthens nutrition incentives and produce prescription projects nationwide. 

Double Up America


Double Up Food Bucks started in Detroit in 2009 and has since been adopted by partners around the country, improving healthy food access from coast to coast. Nutrition Incentive programs like Double Up continue to bring affordable fruits and vegetables within reach of individuals and families with low income.


Pounds of food purchased with
SNAP & Double Up


USDA Dollars leveraged



Active Double Up Sites


Farm-Direct Sites


Brick & Mortar Sites


New Double Up Sites


New Farm Direct-Sites


New Brick & Mortar Sites


People Impacted


Families Impacted


Farmers Impacted


Total $ for
SNAP & Double Up


Total Double Up earned
through SNAP purchases


Total Incentive Dollars Spent


Total $ for Farm-Direct
SNAP & Double Up






Total $ for Brick & Mortar
SNAP & Double Up





A lot of customers think there’s a catch. We try to explain that there isn’t. We’re just trying to get fresher food on their tables.

Jonathon Morad
Store Manager at Garden Fresh Supermarket, Detroit

Double Up Michigan

An illustration of some seeds



Combined SNAP & Double Up sales


Pounds of healthy food
purchased with SNAP & Double Up


Double Up sites in Michigan



Combined SNAP & Double Up sales


Double Up Sites, including
113 grocery stores and 140 farmers markets


SNAP households reached


of Michigan's population lives in a county with a Double Up site


Amount of produce purchased by independent grocers


Michigan farmers benefited


USDA awards Fair Food Network has received to expand Double Up in Michigan and support its replication across the country since 2015

Fueling the success of local food entrepreneurs.

We believe that food businesses are powerful engines for economic change. Farmers, grocers, and other local food entrepreneurs provide their communities with vital nourishment, economic opportunity, and environmental stewardship. Working at the intersection of food, health, and economic justice, we fuel the success of food entrepreneurs through catalytic capital, wrap-around business services, and a commitment to place-based impact investing collectives. We focus our investments on people who are most often overlooked by traditional investors, particularly people who have been marginalized due to their race, ethnicity, and/or gender. Together, we’re building thriving communities and a more inclusive economy.

We’ve worked with Fair Food Network for years with Double Up and other food access initiatives. Now, we have the opportunity to work with the Fair Food Fund. We have found the process and people to be excellent to collaborate with.

Kathy Sample
Co-owner of Argus Farm Stop

Fair Food Fund Financial Overview

Financing Committed

(through Dec. 31, 2022)


Financing Outstanding



Investment Income



Total Investments (Since Inception)


Default Rate

As of Dec. 31, 2022, the annualized default rate since the Fund’s inception (2012) is .45% or 4.6% cumulatively.

Type of Business

Type of Structure

Fair Food Fund Financials

Open or CloseBalance Sheet




Accounts Receivable


PRI Loans Committed


FFF Investments Outstanding


Total Assets


Liabilities and Net Assets Expenses

Loans Payable


Accrued Interest


Unrestricted Net Assets


Temporarily Restricted Net Assets


Total Liabilities and Net Assets


Open or CloseIncome Statement


Government Grant Income


Non-Government Grant Income


Investment Income


Other Income


Total Income



Program Operating Expenses


Technical Assistance Expenses


Investment Expenses


Total Expenses


Net Income


Food is a Pathway to Justice

Today and every day, we are committed to following this path ourselves.


Even as we recognize that food is a unifying element of human life, we can also use it as a lens for seeing injustice and oppression more clearly. Healthy, affordable food isn’t a universally accessible choice. Not every food entrepreneur has had access to traditional financing to support them in growing and serving their community. Instead of perpetuating systems of extraction, exploitation, and structural racism, we strive to model economic belonging, justice, and environmental stewardship. We seek to interrupt unjust historical patterns through our work, augmenting the powerful capacity already present in the communities we serve.


Our Supporters

We are deeply grateful for our supporters who help make this impact possible. With your partnership, we’re not just investing in entrepreneurs, we are growing healthier, wealthier, more equitable communities.





Gary Appel

Sandra P. Daley, MD

Voodo Fé

Kiff Hamp

Benita Melton

Lessa Phillips, MD

Dan Warmels

W. DeWayne Wells



Kate Krauss, CEO
Holly A. Parker, Chief Strategy and Program Officer
Cassandra Fletcher-Martin, Vice President of Finance
Kellie Boyd, Vice President of People & Culture




Aviv Aviad, Managing Director, Cornus Consulting

Chris Bently, Impact Fund Manager, Serious Change Investments & Sustain VC

Oran B. Hesterman, PhD, Founder & Resident Champion, Fair Food Network

Kate Krauss, CEO at Fair Food Network

Michael Rozyne, Founder & Evangelist, Red Tomato

Lisa Sebesta, Founder at Sitari Capital

Daniel Tellalian, Principal at Angel City Advisors

Mark Watson, Co-Founder & President at Potlikker Capital




Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation



Charles Stewart Mott Foundation


Clif Family Foundation

Community Foundation of Greater Flint

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan-New Economy Initiative

Dalio Philanthropies

DTE Energy Foundation

Elmina B. Sewall Foundation

Harry A. & Margaret D. Towsley Foundation

J.M. Kaplan Fund

Kresge Foundation

Lawson Valentine Foundation

Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation

Michael & Susan Dell Foundation


Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD)

Michigan Health Endowment Fund

Mighty Arrow Family Foundation

Natural Investments, LLC

Oppenheim Family Charitable Fund

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

Ruth Mott Foundation

Surdna Foundation

Swift Foundation

The Indigo Revocable Trust

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

United Way for Southeastern Michigan

Wege Foundation

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Woodcock Foundation

You Have Our Trust Fund of New Hampshire Charitable Foundation



$5,000 and above

Christopher & Nicole Hamp

Hamp Family Fund

Kenneth & Jeanne Levy-Church


Up to $2,500

Gayla Brockman

Alan Deardorff

Judy & Paul Freedman

David & Gretchen Gruner

Heal The Planet Foundation

James Ella James

Lenny & Barb Kafka

Jaye Lopez & Anne Van Soest

Martin Family Foundation


Gary McRay

National Food Group

Greg & Hanna Ostroff

Tom & Sarah Post

Sterling Speirn

Mike & Susan Stanley

Joe Turgeon

Dan & Bonnie Warmels

Up to $1,000

Peggy Bennett

Jeff Boore

Bobbie (Roberta) Bower

Stephen Cummings

Stephanie Doll

Shari & Dan Fisher

Linda & Richard Greene

Timothy and Janice Griffin


Alfred J. Guillaume, Jr.

Marie Hooper

Iris Horner

Edward & Debbie Linkner

Virginia Montgomery

Teresa Ohmit

Jeffrey Yurkanin

West Front Primary Care

Up to $500

Joe & Julie Damore

Mary Dooley

Cassandra Fletcher-Martin

Amandio Fonseca

Noah Fulmer

Mike & Anne Groleau

Naomi Harrison

Marion Hoyer

Janet & Andy Katz


Charles Kontulis

Amy Lavi

Ann Mesritz

Danielle Nagy

Paulo Neuhaus

Andrew Sereno

Stephanee Strasburg

Karen Uffelman

Diana & Christopher Walsh

Up to $100

American Online Giving Foundation Causes

Diane Bair

Diane Beall

Ford Bowerman

Kellie Boyd

Peter & Elizabeth Bruning

Elizabeth Cohen

Barry & Joanne Couturier

Sandra Cuttler

Curtis Ellis

Cara Eule

Mary J. Eyster

Courtney Ford

Kat Forsythe

Dr. & Mrs. Patrick Friedli

Jamie & Mindy Gallagher

Amy Griffith

Susan Guinn

Arla Hesterman

Reb Shaya Isenberg & Bahira Sugarman

Rosalind Johnson

Jorge Just

Bruce Karmazin

Norma & Joseph Mariage

David McClary

Deborah Mcmillan

Robin McNulty

Sally Miller

Diane Money

Andi Nank

Savannah Ottmar

Kristin Palm

Phillip and Sally Parker

Carol Ann Pruitt

Raw Signal Group

Bonnie Reece

Timothy Richards

Avery Robinson

Thomas Rogers III

Michelle Smay

Bonnie & Steve Spanier

Sarah Spratt

Barbara Stanford

Anim Steel

Lynn Swan

Brenda Turner

Gail Turner

Rachel Van Boven

Dr. & Mrs. David Wilcox

Shanna Williams

Ron Williamson

Jim Wisnia

James Wu

Gracie Xavier

Suzanne Zelnik Geldys

Bob & Marcella Zorn

Join Us

When we start with food, so much is possible.


Whether you are a food entrepreneur, donor, funder, investor, policymaker, frontline practitioner, or community member, join us in building a fair and resilient future.

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Thank you to the report’s designers, including Loop and Hien Lam;
photography courtesy of Fair Food Network and/or subjects.