Technical Assistance

Intro Food Systems Finance WebCourse
December 9-10, 2020
12:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern


The Intro Food Systems Finance WebCourse examines the development finance programs that sustain a local food system and how investments in that system can drive economic development on a broader scale. Topics covered include federal, state, and local sources of capital, stakeholders involved in the financing process, and case study examples that showcase the variety of financing programs.

This course will explore how bonds, tax credits, loan programs, foundation grants, and other financing tools can be used to support a local food system and encourage follow-on investment, small business development, and sustainable growth. In particular, this course will address the financing challenges associated with growing, processing, distributing, marketing, and selling food.

This course qualifies for the CDFA Training Institute's Development Finance Certified Professional (DFCP) Program. Start down the road to personal and professional advancement today.

Course Objectives

  • Discover how a local food system operates, including distribution, supply chain, and partners involved
  • Learn how local communities are financing farmers, grocers, restaurateurs, food artisans, and other food-related businesses
  • Hear about financing strategies to address food deserts, incubators, and co-ops
  • Understand the variety of sources of capital available to support a food system, including federal, state, and local programs
  • Gain a greater understanding of bond, tax credit, loan fund, and grant programs that can support a food system
  • Discuss innovative financing approaches being employed by communities across the country

Topics Covered

  • Understanding the local food system
  • Identifying partners and stakeholders in the food system
  • Sources of capital to support food-related businesses
  • Federal, state, and local financing programs
  • Foundation, non-profit, and community-based financing programs
  • Innovative financing approaches

Who Should Attend?

  • Economic Development Professionals
  • Community Development Professionals
  • Government and Nonprofit Finance Officers
  • Development Finance Agencies and Issuers
  • Attorneys
  • Accountants
  • Financial Advisors
  • Elected Officials
  • Policy Makers

Course Advisor

Allison Rowland Allison Rowland
Council of Development Finance Agencies
Manager, Research & Technical Assistance
As Manager of Research and Technical Assistance for the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA), Allison oversees all of CDFA’s food systems finance work, including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation-funded initiative to “define the food system... (More)


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Wed 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM
Welcome & Overview
Welcome to the Intro Food Systems Finance WebCourse. During this time, we will introduce CDFA, explain how to use the online software, and discuss the framework for the two-day course.
  • Allison Rowland, Manager, Research & Technical Assistance, Council of Development Finance Agencies
Wed 12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Comprehensive Approach for Restoring Local Food Systems
In order to establish reliable, affordable, traditional financing streams for local food systems projects, there must be a shift in perspective that understands individual people and projects within the broader food system. CDFA has identified three replicable strategies for restoring local and regional food systems: reframe food systems development as infrastructure and economic development; build effective relationships and partnerships across the entire food system; and plan for strategic food system financing. This introductory session will discuss the components of the food system and introduce CDFA's philosophy and vision for the broader food system and how it connects with economic development.
  • Allison Rowland, Manager, Research & Technical Assistance, Council of Development Finance Agencies
Wed 1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Understanding Development Finance & the Toolbox Approach

This session will build attendees’ core knowledge base of the roots and basic principles of development finance. Attendees will also learn about the fundamentals and concepts of building a comprehensive financing strategy.
  • Toby Rittner, President & CEO, Council of Development Finance Agencies
Wed 3:15 PM - 3:30 PM
Wed 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Using Bonds to Finance Food System Projects
Bonds are the bedrock tool of development finance, as they are commonly deployed to finance infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, schools, libraries, and thousands of other public and private projects. This session will explore the foundational role that bonds play in public financing and include education about the different types of bonds, how they are used, the key players involved in a bond deal, and the process by which bonds are sold.
  • Ryan Kozak, Managing Director, Huntington Capital Markets
  • Tammy Nebola, Program Specialist, Iowa Finance Authority
Wed 5:00 PM

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Thu 12:00 PM - 12:15 PM
Revisiting Day 1
The first day of the Intro Food Systems Finance WebCourse introduced the basic components of the food system and development finance, as well as the players involved. At the start of Day 2, we will review some important terms and set the stage for the remaining sessions focused on the sources of financing available to help support a healthy food system.
  • Allison Rowland, Manager, Research & Technical Assistance, Council of Development Finance Agencies
Thu 12:15 PM - 1:15 PM
Tools for Targeting Specific Geographic Areas
Targeted financing tools – such as tax increment financing (TIF), special assessments, property assessed clean energy (PACE), and tax abatements – are used to finance specific areas or difficult-to-finance sectors in a community, transforming the actual or perceived value of a geographic area. During this session we will discover how various types of targeted tools function and how these tools can be applied to projects within the local and regional food economies.
  • Sue Hounsel, Economic Development District Manager, City of Dallas
Thu 1:15 PM - 2:30 PM
Catalyzing Investment for Food System Projects
Investment tools work to support businesses and projects by incentivizing and enabling investment in construction, equipment, technology, and other major developments. This session will discuss the various investment tools – including tax credits and opportunity zones – and how these tools can bring a project within the food system to fruition.
Thu 2:30 PM - 2:45 PM
Thu 2:45 PM - 4:00 PM
Unlocking Capital for Small Businesses Within the Food System
Small businesses represent nearly half of the private sector workforce and are economic drivers in local communities, yet they often have difficulty accessing affordable capital to start or scale their business. During this session we will explore development financing tools – such as revolving loans funds, loan guarantees, microlending, and more – available to assist food and agriculture businesses.
  • Brett Doney, President & CEO, Great Falls Montana Development Authority
  • Gray Harris, Senior Vice President, Food Systems, Coastal Enterprises Inc.
  • Olivia Rebanal, Director, Capital Impact Partners
Thu 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Innovative Approaches for Financing the Food System
This final session will explore emerging financing tools and innovative approaches to supporting businesses and projects within the food system. A selection of case studies will be included to demonstrate how these models may be applied to other communities and businesses.
Thu 5:00 PM


The Intro Food Systems Finance WebCourse will take place on the web through GoToWebinar, an online distance learning software. The course will meet each day on December 9-10, 2020 from 12:00-5:00 pm (Eastern). Attendees must have access to a computer and phone to attend the WebCourse.


This course qualifies for the CDFA Training Institute's Development Finance Certified Professional (DFCP) Program. Start down the road to personal and professional advancement today.

CDFA permits only one person to login and participate in the course. If multiple people are accessing the course without paying to attend, we will terminate the connection and access to GoToWebinar. CDFA offers group discounts for organizations that wish to register multiple people.

Register before November 20, 2020 for Early-Bird Rates.
Early Bird Rates
(Ends November 20)
CDFA Member: $550
Non-Member: $825
Standard Rates
(After November 20)
CDFA Member: $600
Non-Member: $875