By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

Vegetables at the market

Massachusetts’ lawmakers unveiled the Fiscal Year 2018 capital budget plan this week, including $1 million in funding for the Massachusetts Food Trust Program.

The program, which was established in 2014 by the state legislature, will use the money to provide loans, grants and technical assistance to healthy food retailers and local food enterprises in low- and moderate-income communities.

“Finding a place to buy healthy, affordable food nearby is a problem faced by far too many Massachusetts residents – negatively impacting quality of life, health, and job opportunities in urban and rural communities across the Commonwealth,” according to a news release statement from Maddie Ribble, policy director at the Massachusetts Public Health Association.

A 2017 analysis showed that nearly 40 percent of the state’s population was impacted by a lack of grocery stores, which can affect people’s health through obesity, diabetes and other nutrition-related diseases, according to the MPHA.

Projects eligible for funding could include grocery stores, corner stores, farmers’ markets, mobile markets, community kitchens, food co-ops, food truck commissaries, indoor and outdoor greenhouses and food distribution hubs.