CDFA Food Finance White Paper Series: Food Systems & Bonds
Research and written by CDFA, this is the third white paper in a series examining the potential creation of a food systems asset class which supports the market growth of local and regional food systems which meet the economic, social, environmental, and cultural needs of communities throughout the country. This paper focuses specifically on bond financing, which CDFA considers a ‘bedrock tool' for the historic and foundational role bonds have played in public financing.
PA "Ugly" Produce Startup Raises $16.5M
Misfits Market, a North Philly-based produce service that gathers and ships out fruits and vegetables that would likely go to waste otherwise just raised $16.5 million of Series A financing to expand its delivery service to much of the East Coast. Misfits Market, started last summer, sources produce from organic farmers that won't get sold to a grocery store, usually because they're cosmetically imperfect.
OH Re-Opens Lending Program for Farmers Impacted by Floods
Due to the extreme weather that has taken a devastating toll on parts of Ohio, Treasurer Robert Sprague announced he has re-opened the application period for the Ag-LINK program. Through this round of applications, farm operators and agribusiness owners based in Ohio can receive a 2% interest rate reduction on loans up to $150,000. Ag-LINK can provide significant savings and much needed relief to farmers and agribusinesses impacted by recent storms and floods.
Ag Tech Startup Raises $1.3M to Connect Farmers with Lenders
An agriculture startup that participated in the inaugural Techstars Farm to Fork accelerator last summer has closed on a $1.3 million seed round of funding to grow its business internationally. St. Paul-based Traive Inc. is a digital lending platform focused on helping farmers get the capital they need to invest in their business, including introducing technology to help them become more efficient and productive.
Market in TX to Use TIF for Historical Touches
As work on the The Elm Avenue Market continues with city financial backing, the company behind it is opting to highlight the building's historical features. The city approved almost $97,000 from the Tax Increment Financing Zone to support the project. The board signed off on shifting $22,011 originally set aside for sidewalks and parking improvements to instead be used to cover the cost of restoring historical elements of the building.
PA Farm Bill to Invest $23M in State's Agriculture Industry
Governor Wolf signed the PA Farm Bill into law July 1, enacting legislation that will support the agriculture industry across the state. The bill will make $23.1 million in strategic investments into the state's largest industry. The bill will also create tax exemptions for qualified beginning farmers, invest $5 million into Pennsylvania's Dairy Investment Program, and utilize $500,000 to reimburse the cost of meat processing inspections for small farmers and butchers.
USDA Farm Bill Implementation Progress Update
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced an update on the implementation status of the 2018 Farm Bill. President Trump signed this Farm Bill into law on December 20, 2018, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) promptly began implementing key programs. In addition, USDA held several listening sessions with stakeholders and the public specific to each agency's respective mission areas.
Mid-Sized Farms Are Disappearing, But This Program Could Reverse the Trend
The Ag of the Middle Accelerator Program from Portland-based nonprofit Ecotrust aims to do just that. The two-year program helps smaller farms, ranches, and fishermen grow to gross between $100,000 to $3 million. And it hopes to build a model that can be borrowed and reproduced all around the country. To help smaller producers make their operations cost-effective, Ecotrust also created a 2,000 square-foot food hub.