CDFA Reframe, Build, Plan: Restoring America's Local Food Systems
CDFA released the final publication of the CDFA Food Finance White Paper Series, Advancing Local Food Systems Through Development Finance. This webinar provides an overview of this publication as we review CDFA's framework for expanding traditional financing and attracting capital to local food systems through the Reframe, Build, Plan approach.
Sustainable Agriculture Opportunity Zone Fund Closes Omaha, NE Investment
The Harvest Returns Sustainable Agriculture Opportunity Zone Fund recently funded the first tranches of an investment in a vertical farm and restaurant business that will produce locally-consumed food year-round in Omaha, Nebraska. The fund invests to create positive impact in the agriculture industry across economically disadvantaged regions of the U.S. The fund seeks to provide investors with tax-favorable, risk-adjusted returns in assets uncorrelated with the stock and bond markets.
Vermont Community Loan Fund Makes SPROUT Loans Available for Working Lands Entrepreneurs
The Vermont Community Loan Fund is now accepting loan applications through its SPROUT program, a low-interest loan program for emerging Vermont working lands entrepreneurs including farms, food producers & processors, foresters, forest products businesses, and others in the start-up and early stages of their operations. Loans from $5,000 to $60,000 may be used for the purchase of equipment and inventory, general operations, and facility construction or improvements. The Loan Fund also provides customized business coaching including marketing, financial planning, and more, free of charge for all borrowers.
$314M Investment Planned for Greenhouse & Packing Operation in Rural South Carolina
The $314 million investment planned for Hampton County — which will occupy 1,000 acres and create a massive greenhouse and packing operation and up to 1,500 jobs in five years — represents one of the most significant economic development announcements ever in this rural region of South Carolina. And it's expected to attract other businesses, such as packaging manufacturers and shipping companies. The announcement also likely represents the biggest example to date in South Carolina of how Opportunity Zones, passed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, can help not just wealthy investors but the people who live in the distressed areas where they invest.
Rural America Left Behind Without Stimulus, but Congress Can Still Make a Difference
Rural businesses and communities have been waiting for Congress to pass a second stimulus package for months. Two bipartisan proposed bills should be included because they offer common-sense solutions to help rural economies weather the pandemic. One bill is the Rural Equal Aid Act, a bipartisan bill, that would offer support to rural entrepreneurs. The second is the Strengthening Local Processing Act which would strengthen rural economic opportunity by supporting small meat processors.
America Is Hungry for Sustainable Food Systems. Can We Build Them?
The number 1 barrier to changing the current food system is financing. One example of the financial challenges sustainable farms face comes in the form of crop insurance. The same holds true for traditional agriculture financing, developed for conventional farming. Loans are typically underwritten based on the equipment, inputs, volume, prices, and insurance coverage of conventional growers. These factors are different for organic and regenerative farmers, so the numbers often don't work, resulting in loans being denied or unaffordable.
USTR and USDA Release Report on Agricultural Trade between the United States and China
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the USDA issued a report highlighting the progress made to date in implementing the agricultural provisions in the U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement. Since the Agreement entered into force, the United States and China have addressed a multitude of structural barriers in China that had been impeding exports of U.S. food and agricultural products.
Boston, MA City Councilor, Mayoral Candidate Michelle Wu Releases Food Justice Plan
Michelle Wu, the Boston City Councilor running for mayor, released a food justice plan, calling for investments in the city's food chain workers and expanding access to fresh food to help address inequities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to investments in chain workers and food access, Wu also calls for greater support to the city's restaurant and food economy, strengthening food system coalitions and fully implementing the city's Good Food Purchasing initiative.
CDFA Food Finance White Paper Series: Advancing Food Systems Through Development Finance
Access to Capital | Agriculture Finance | Bond Finance | CDFA Original Research | Economic Development | Food Systems Finance | Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs) | Tax Credits | Tax Increment Finance (TIF) | Brownfield Financing | Community Development | Housing Finance | Rural Development | Social Finance
This is the sixth and final white paper in a series examining the potential creation of a food systems asset class that supports the market growth of local and regional food systems. This paper presents three replicable strategies for restoring local 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.
Local Food Systems Response to COVID
Access to Capital | Disaster Recovery & Relief | Federal | Food Systems Finance
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health and social distancing mandates caused unprecedented shifts and disruptions for Local and Regional Food Systems (LRFS). USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) along with the cooperating research team led by the University of Kentucky seek to enrich existing efforts within LRFS communities of practice who provide essential support to our nation's local food producers.
A Vision for Native Food and Agriculture Infrastructure Rebuilding and Recovery
Access to Capital | Agriculture Finance | Food Systems Finance | Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs) | Tribal Finance
An investment in food infrastructure will ensure that Native producers have access to reliable markets and the wraparound support services that are so critical to robust food systems. By approaching infrastructure from a new model and linking infrastructure investments to the food access needs of Native communities, a more resilient food system can be built over time. Local and regional economies will recover while also ensuring that food insecurity is addressed in terms that link food producers to those needing healthy food.
Interim Report on the Economic and Trade Agreement between the U.S. and China
Agriculture Finance | Economic Development | Food Systems Finance | International
This Interim Report issued by United States Trade Representative and Secretary of the Department of Agriculture identifies key achievements from February to October 2020 in the area of agricultural trade between the United States and China.
Catalytic Capital and Agriculture: Opportunities to Invest in Healthy Soils, Resilient Farms and a Stable Climate
Access to Capital | Agriculture Finance | Food Systems Finance | Green Finance
The purpose of the report is to highlight opportunities for catalytic capital to advance agricultural conservation, resilience and sustainability. In this report we define catalytic capital as capital intentionally deployed to identify, financially support and scale promising solutions for environmental and social impact that would otherwise be unlikely to raise funding on a purely commercial basis. This report is for foundations, philanthropists or investors that wish to deploy their financial and nonfinancial resources to catalyze lasting and systemic change in U.S. agriculture. It is also for anyone designing projects, enterprises or initiatives that share those objectives.