Technical Assistance

Intro Food Systems Finance WebCourse

Baker Tilly Virchow KrauseBNY MellonBricker & Eckler LLPBryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLPBusiness OregonCohnReznickFBT Project Finance Advisors LLCFifth Third BankFrost Brown Todd, LLCHawkins Delafield & Wood LLPIce Miller LLPKeyBanc Capital MarketsKutak Rock LLPMcCarter & English, LLPMcGuireWoodsMuniCap, Inc.NW Financial Group, LLCPetros PACE FinanceSB Friedman Development AdvisorsStern BrothersStifel NicolausU.S. BankWells Fargo SecuritiesZ. The Bond Buyer


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

Toby Rittner Toby Rittner
Council of Development Finance Agencies
President & CEO
Toby Rittner is the President & CEO of Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA), a national association dedicated to the advancement of development finance concerns and interests. CDFA is comprised of the nation’s leading and most... (More)


The following is the preliminary agenda for this course. This agenda will be updated and modified slightly to accommodate speakers and content. However, the main areas of content as outlined in this agenda will be covered.

Day One

12:00 – 12:30 pm (Eastern)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.
12:30 – 2:00 pmWhat is a Food System?

The opening session of the course will define a food system and provide an overview of the variety of ways that a food system can operate. Also included in the discussion is a look at the different types of businesses involved in a food system, including farmers, grocers, small businesses, food artisans, etc., and the partners involved in helping to finance a healthy food system.

2:00 – 2:15 pmBreak
2:15 – 3:30 pmIdentifying Stakeholders and Building Partnerships

A food system has many different stakeholders and partners represented from the government, private sector, and non-profit fields. This session will explain who these partners are and how they work together. Strategies will be presented for identifying and connecting these partners in your local region.

3:30 – 3:45 pmBreak
3:45 – 5:00 pm Innovative Financing Strategies for Food Systems

Food systems and food hubs are integrals parts of community infrastructure and sustainably financing them remains challenging at times. Infusion of public and private capital can grow and develop these complex systems. This session will examine innovative approaches to financing these systems using a variety of capital sources through real-world examples of recent projects.

5:00 pm Adjourn

Day Two

12:00 – 12:15 pmRevisiting Day 1

The first day of the Intro Food Systems Finance WebCourse looked at food systems from a global perspective and introduced the basic concepts and players involved related to financing components in the system. 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 capital available to help support a healthy food system.

12:15 – 12:45 pm Sources of Capital for Food Systems

A variety of development finance tools exist to support a food system, including federal, state, local, foundation, and non-profit sources. The session will briefly introduce each source of capital before they are presented in greater detail later in the course.

12:45 – 1:45 pmFederal Financing Programs

Several specialized programs are available through the federal agencies to help support a local food system. This session will present programs available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Department of the Treasury CDFI Fund, and other federal agencies.

1:45 – 2:00 pmBreak

2:00 – 2:45 pmFoundations and Program Related Investments

Foundations and Program Related Investments (PRI) have played an important role in many of the regions that are experiencing successful implementations of their food system. This session will explain the concept of PRI, types of foundations active in this area, how they are making an impact, and the characteristics of successfully funded projects.

2:45 - 4:00 pmCreative State & Local Financing Programs

Many programs have been created at the state and local government levels to help finance the businesses and stakeholders involved in a food system. This session will discuss tax credit and loan programs, access to capital for small businesses, and special assessment and business improvement districts that can be used as sources of financing. Examples of agencies addressing their local food system financing needs will be provided as well.

4:00 – 5:00 pmNon-Profit & Community-Based Lending Programs

Non-profit groups and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) offer a variety of specialized programs to help support and finance a local food systems, especially in providing initial start-up capital to small, food-related businesses. This session will explore these groups, discuss the types of financing programs they offer, and identify how to make them an active participant in a food system.

5:00 pm Adjourn


This course is currently not scheduled for this year. Please check back frequently for more information about when this course will be held in the future.


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 your connection and access to GoToWebinar. CDFA offers group discounts for organizations that wish to register multiple people.
Early Bird Rates
(Ends May 19)
CDFA Member: $550
Non-Member: $825
Standard Rates
(After May 19)
CDFA Member: $600
Non-Member: $875