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Larson, Blumenthal, Murphy, and Himes Applaud Federal Grant for Hartford's Promise Zone to Bring Affordable, Locally-Grown Food into City Grocery Stores

June 8, 2016
Press Release
Wholesome Wave of Bridgeport’s innovative Farm-to-Grocery Nutrition Incentive model will help Hartford residents afford healthy, locally-grown food

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.),U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), U.S. Representative John Larson (CT-1), and U.S. Representative Jim Himes (CT-4) applauded a U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grant awarded to Wholesome Wave in Bridgeport to increase access to healthy food throughout low-income communities in Hartford, Connecticut. The $500,000 grant, which is matched by additional private investments, will reach consumers where they already shop and help local grocery stores like Bravo Supermarkets, Associated Supermarkets, C-Town, as well as Hartford Food Systems (through the Hartford Regional Market, North End Farmers Market and its Hartford Mobile Market) offer discounts on fresh, locally-grown produce for SNAP beneficiaries. Through this innovative, financially-viable model, the federal FINI grant will help families afford fresh food, strengthen connections between grocery stores and local food supply chains, and drive business to nearby farms. Currently, 40% of children in Hartford live in poverty, and 42% of the city’s residents rely on SNAP benefits to purchase food.

“Too many in Hartford’s North End lack the most fundamental of human needs: fresh, healthy food. The energy needed to perform well in school or work comes from the food we eat, and no one in our country should ever be forced to go hungry. I applaud the USDA and Wholesome Wave of Bridgeport for recognizing the needs of Hartford. It is time to ensure affordable access to fresh, local produce in the North End,” said Larson.

“Just a few days ago, I was at the Hartford Regional Market talking to local farmers and Hartford community leaders about better connecting local food to city grocery stores. This grant for Wholesome Wave is great opportunity to make that happen,” said Murphy. “It just makes sense—we should help families afford locally-grown, fresh food at the grocery stores they already shop at. We worked so hard to get North Hartford its Promise Zone designation so that the city can hop to the front of the line when it comes to getting federal grants. Today shows why that’s so important.”

“Increasing access to fresh, healthy food for the low-income residents of food deserts will help move our communities one step closer to ending food insecurity. The federal funding awarded to Bridgeport’s Wholesome Wave to help provide fresh produce to Hartford’s local grocers is an investment in an incredible partnership that will help ensure the well-being and health of Hartford's residents,” said Blumenthal. 

“Food deserts correlate very highly with areas of poverty across our country, and a lack of healthy and affordable food options can have a very detrimental effect, especially on children,” said Himes. “With this grant, we will be able to help more families eat nutritiously in Hartford and also support the excellent work that Wholesome Wave is doing right here in Bridgeport, creating innovative ways to bring healthy, local produce into more stores and kitchens.”

“Wholesome Wave is thrilled by the innovations that USDA is supporting through the new FINI grants, which are taking the work of increasing affordable access to healthy food to even greater levels of impact, said Michel Nischan, Founder and CEO, Wholesome Wave. “So many SNAP shoppers are working parents with limited time to source healthier food choices. Through the new Farm-to-Grocery model, our partners in VT and CT will be able to expand affordable access to SNAP consumers in a way that allows them to find and purchase more healthy food from a variety of retailers."

Wholesome Wave is a non-profit organization based in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Its Farm-to-Grocery Nutrition Incentive program is set to launch in Hartford in August 2016. This project also builds off Wholesome Wave’s existing work in successful food access projects across 40 states.