The salmon shop is Idaho’s first recipient of the Healthy Food and Financing Initiative

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That Community market of mountain harvest will receive nearly $105,000 in grants to improve access to healthy food in Salmon, Idaho, the USDA’s Idaho Office of Rural Development announced this month.

The grant was awarded on behalf of the US Department of Agriculture’s Healthy Food and Financing Initiative.

The Healthy Food Financing Initiative aims to increase access to healthy food in underserved areas, create and maintain quality jobs, and revitalize low-income communities,” according to the USDA Rural Development website. “The program aims to build a more equitable food system that supports the health and economic dynamism of all Americans.

With a population of just over 3,000, Salmon residents enjoy the city’s mountainous countryside and rivers. However, the city’s rural location limits the types of food that reach the community.

The USDA’s Food Access Research Atlas shows areas in Idaho where healthy food is more difficult to access. The orange areas are low-income census areas, where a significant proportion of residents have to travel more than 10 miles to reach the nearest supermarket.

The grant is one of many efforts to increase access to healthy food, particularly in lower-income communities with few grocery stores — places often referred to as “food deserts.”

According to the USDA’s Food Access Research Atlas, one of the three Lemhi County census tracts where Salmon is located has a low-income population and is at least a 10-mile drive from the nearest supermarket.

Jessica Henroid, owner of Mountain Harvest Community Market and recipient of the grant, said salmon residents sometimes have to travel long distances to find healthy food.

“It costs a lot of money to ship goods to Salmon,” Henroid said. “We try to shop locally as much as possible since we’re two and a half hours from larger cities like Idaho Falls and Missoula.”

Henroid and her husband moved to Salmon from Missouri with the goal of opening a healthy food business. The couple worked with Swift River Farm an organic vegetable farm Provide local residents of Salmon with locally grown fruit and vegetables.

The Mountain Harvest Community Market opened its doors in June 2020 and has maintained a close relationship with residents ever since.

As owners of the market, Henroid and her husband hope to use the grant to ease the financial burden on residents trying to find healthy food.

“They have to pay more money for healthy food, so we’re going to use the subsidy to lower our prices to make them more affordable for customers,” she said. “We also want to expand our business and add more chillers and air conditioners.”

The Mountain Harvest Community Market is the first organization to receive a grant from the Healthy Food and Financing Initiative in the state of Idaho.

“This program has funded millions of dollars in many states across the country. So far Idaho hasn’t been one of them, but we have so much need here. Hopefully this is the first of many rural Idaho communities that will continue to benefit from public-private partnerships.said Rudy Soto, USDA country director for rural development.

According to Henroid, Idaho companies considering applying for the grant should consider the importance of helping a community improve.

“Don’t worry about the approval process,” she said. “It’s a lot of time and work, but it’s definitely worth it. It’s so important to do whatever it takes to bring prices down and give customers more variety. I think people should just apply and take this opportunity to improve their city and community because I’m so glad we did.”

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