Illinois Fresh Food Fund

Research has found that the presence of a grocery store in a neighborhood is linked to higher fruit and vegetable consumption and that nutritious eating is closely linked to the reduction of risk for chronic disease.

Supporting healthy food access, community development, and public health.

The Illinois Fresh Food Fund is a loan and grant program that was created to help grocers succeed in underserved markets. It is designed with those grocers’ needs in mind.

The Fund’s affordable, flexible financing is perfect for grocers operating with low-margins in urban and rural areas where infrastructure costs and credit needs cannot be met solely by conventional financial institutions. It has low equity requirements, no penalties, the ability to convert from construction to permanent financing, and rates that are not based on risk but fixed over the long term. All of this helps grocers save money up front and over the long term so that they can build successful community businesses.


Are you a grocer, co-op, or developer?

The Illinois Fresh Food Fund provides capital financing for full-service grocery businesses or developers with a full service grocery tenant in Illinois.

Is your current or planned location in a high need area?

The communities targeted for this financing are designated Limited Supermarket Access (LSA) areas by Policy Map. Visit to determine if your site is located within an LSA. Other methods for establishing need will also be accepted, including but not limited to the USDA Food Desert methodology (, or a market study demonstrating the area is underserved.

Are you looking to develop, expand, or update a store?

The Illinois Fresh Food Fund provides loans for land acquisition, construction and major rehab (interior and exterior), build-out, installation of energy efficient systems, and purchase of equipment. Loan/grant combination packages are available for most projects.

Is your project a full-service model?

The primary goal of the program is to finance full-service grocery stores. Other retail models will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with particular attention to the needs of the community for which the project is proposed.

Will you have a commitment to actively promoting healthy and fresh foods within the community?

As part of the application process, you will be asked to provide a plan to engage the community inside and outside the store. The grocer will be required to establish links with community institutions that reflect the goal of improving healthy choices for shoppers. For example, the store could support food preparation education that includes information about healthy eating and diet-related disease.

Do you have a business plan?

Business plans are required to complete the application and should include market research and projected revenues.

Can you obtain a certificate of good standing from the State of Illinois?

All applicants will be required to present a Certificate of Good Standing from the State of Illinois. Information about how to obtain a Certificate of Good Standing can be found here.

Apply for a Loan

The first step in obtaining an Illinois Fresh Food Fund loan is to contact IFF at 866 629 0060 to discuss your project and the process for filling out the application below.

Download the Illinois Fresh Food Fund Program Guidelines and Application. (Right-click and "Save link as...")

Click here to see a term sheet for the Illinois Fresh Food Fund.

The Illinois Fresh Food Fund is a loan and grant program created by the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and IFF to help grocers succeed in underserved markets.
Click here to read a press release from the Governor's Office.