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CDFA Defining the Food System Asset Class

With funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, CDFA is researching how DFA’s can become more engaged in developing localized food systems through traditional finance approaches such as bonds, tax increment finance, tax credits, and revolving loan funds. The premise of this project is to suggest and then prove that, if organized and defined properly, the food system can become a defined asset class worthy of traditional investment.

View the Press Release

CDFA sees the potential for the broadly defined food system to become a desired and performance driven asset class. Through collaboration between food system participants and development finance agencies, new investments can be catalyzed that will drive the creation of this asset class. The opportunity to link food and development finance has vast potential, including using traditional financing tools such as bonds for non-profits, food hubs, and farm expansions, as well as tax increment finance for food industry industrial parks, neighborhood revitalization, or early stage financing models for entrepreneurs and food technology based businesses. Deploying these tools will help to build the necessary data sets, impact metrics and portfolio performance measures to prove an asset class.

Key project elements include:

-Food Systems Finance Overview

CDFA knows that there is great potential for a broadly defined food system to become a desired and performance driven asset class. Read CDFA's Food Systems & Development Finance overview for an in-depth review.

Read CDFA's Food Systems & Development Finance Overview

-Food Systems Finance Resource Center

The Food Systems Resource Center will host a vast collection of food systems finance resources including presentations, best practices, case studies and archives of learning materials from webinars and training sessions. The resource center will be released soon.

-Food Systems Finance Case Studies

CDFA is producing six in-depth case studies of how traditional development finance tools can demonstrate the viability of the food systems as an asset class. These will be released periodically over the grant period.

-Food Systems Finance Pilot Projects

CDFA is developing pilot projects in regions that present strong food system efforts but that lack direct and traditional development finance contributions. More information will be coming soon regarding these projects.

-Food Systems Finance Advisory Council (FSFAC)

CDFA is hosting regular, ongoing and substantive convenings of CDFA’s Food Systems Finance Advisory Council over the grant period to establish this cohort within both the food and finance industries. More information about each training will be available soon. Check back to see final dates, locations, and agendas for these convenings.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The CDFA Defining the Food System as an Asset Class project was prepared by the Council of Development Finance Agencies using grant funds under award P0130858 from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.