Massachusetts Food Trust Program

The Massachusetts Food Trust Program is a public/private partnership overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and administered by the Local Enterprise Assistance Fund and Franklin County Community Development Corporation.  The program provides loans, grants, and business assistance to support new and expanding health food retailers and local food enterprises in low and moderate income communities.

Since its launch in 2018, MFTP has: 

  • Improved access to healthy food retail for more than 225,000 residents,
  • Supported the creation of hundreds of jobs, with 90% of new hires going to local residents, 
  • Leveraged $11.2m in funding at the project level, and an additional $5.2m in private and federal dollars,
  • Invested in dozens of projects across 10 of the Commonwealth’s 14 counties,
  • Boosted a wide variety of local businesses, with 42% owned or controlled by a person of color and 65% owned by a woman, and
  • Offered relief during the COVID-19 pandemic by distributing small emergency grants and bridge loans. 

By offering local food businesses small grants and below-market-rate loans, the Food Trust is able to both reduce risk for borrowers and attract traditional capital lenders to the projects, thus leveraging public dollars with additional private investment. In addition, the program provides provides pre-and-post loan technical assistance to ensure that entrepreneurs have access to the resources they need to be successful.

The Facts   

Data collected by The Food Trust shows that 2.8 million people living in low income areas in Massachusetts lack access to grocery stores, including more than 700,000 children and 523,000 seniors. Grocery stores included chain and independent markets with annual food sales of $2 million or more. Low income areas were based on incomes lower than the state wide per capita income level of  $36, 895.

Top Massachusetts Cities with the most significant Grocery Gap:

  1. Chelsea
  2. Springfield
  3. Taunton
  4. Everett
  5. Revere
  6. Lawrence
  7. Lowell
  8. Lynn
  9. Brockton
  10. Chicopee

The maps below highlight the grocery gap  in the counties of the top ten cities in Massachusetts with low grocery store access. Fact sheets provide info on the potential impact of the Massachusetts Food Trust Program to help reduce food access disparities in cities like Revere, Springfield and  Lawrence by expanding the capacity of local farmers’ markets, and bodegas and building more grocery stores.

Berkshire County Grocery Access Map Hampden County Grocery Access Map Suffolk County Grocery Access Map
Bristol County Grocery Access Map Merrimack Valley Grocery Access Map

Additional Resources

One Page Project Summaries

The Massachusetts Food Trust Website

Municipal Strategies to Increase Food Access Toolkit

Good Food Massachusetts: Municipal Resource Guide