About

Advocacy

Events

Membership

Sponsor

Education

Newsletters

Resources

Technical Assistance

×

Food Systems Finance Resource Center

Learn More About This Tool

Food systems are an important driver for local economic development and the financing sources needed to support those systems are vast. Communities throughout the country are financing their own food systems with various innovative strategies to support local markets, first time farmers, new food enterprises, and neighborhoods lacking food access.


The CDFA Food Systems Finance Resource Center outlines development finance tools that can be used to support local food systems, such as bonds, tax increment finance, tax credits, special assessment districts, revolving loan funds and others. Traditional development finance tools provide access to capital for establishing food industry participants, supporting local farming, investing in the food delivery infrastructure, financing food scarcity challenges, and starting small food businesses. A variety of innovative approaches and creative programs have been employed by development finance agencies to support food systems financing, which can be accessed in the resources provide below.


Learn more about Food Systems Financing

Want regular updates on food systems financing? Subscribe to CDFA's Food & Agriculture Finance Update newsletter.

Subscribe

-Defining the Food System as an Asset Class

CDFA is producing six in-depth white papers defining how traditional development finance tools can be used to demonstrate the viability of the food system as an asset class. The first white paper is an overview of development finance with an explanation of why and how these tools can be applied to the food system. The next four white papers will provide an extensive description of development finance tools that can be employed for food-related projects – access to capital, bedrock tools, targeted tools, and investment tools – alongside comprehensive case studies that successfully utilize each of these tools. The final white paper will conceptualize the future possibilities of the food system financing landscape.

-Food Systems Finance Resources

Impact Investing in Sustainable Food and Agriculture
As interest in sustainable food systems and agricultural value chains grows, increasing numbers of investors are beginning to explore high-impact investing opportunities in food, farming, and forestry across asset classes.
Local Foods, Local Places Toolkit
Cities and towns across the country are undertaking new initiatives and strengthening current programs that support development and growth of local food systems while reinvesting in downtowns and existing neighborhoods. Strong interest from communities prompted a group of federal agencies to offer assistance with a community-driven planning process that explores how to use the benefits of local foods to help revitalize downtowns and neighborhoods.
Why the Farm Bill Matters for Greater PhiladelphiaMembers only Login
Every five years, Congress reauthorizes this sweeping piece of legislation in an effort to prevent hunger, bring fresh foods to communities lacking access, and add vibrancy and diversity to the local food system. However, funding for critical programs that uplift our food system and provide nutrition benefits to millions of Americans is under threat.
White Paper 2: Food Systems & Access to Capital
Research and written by CDFA, this white paper is part of 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 financing that provides access to capital, outlining this category of tools and demonstrating how they can be utilized for various types of food-related endeavors.
Supporting Healthy Food Access in NCMembers only Login
The resulting lack of access to healthy, affordable food undermines the health and well-being of children and families, and further harms communities that are already struggling economically. The report led to a series of convenings of key stakeholders charged with developing recommendations for increasing access to healthy, affordable foods for residents in both urban and rural underserved areas throughout the state.
 More Food Systems Finance Resources

-Agriculture Finance Resources

Impact Investing in Sustainable Food and Agriculture
As interest in sustainable food systems and agricultural value chains grows, increasing numbers of investors are beginning to explore high-impact investing opportunities in food, farming, and forestry across asset classes.
Local Foods, Local Places Toolkit
Cities and towns across the country are undertaking new initiatives and strengthening current programs that support development and growth of local food systems while reinvesting in downtowns and existing neighborhoods. Strong interest from communities prompted a group of federal agencies to offer assistance with a community-driven planning process that explores how to use the benefits of local foods to help revitalize downtowns and neighborhoods.
Farmers' Guide to Solar and Wind Energy in MNMembers only Login
In 2017, Minnesota ranked seventh in the nation for wind power generation and sixth in the nation for solar power generation With the potential for further growth in this sector, many farmers across rural Minnesota are considering whether alternative energy production could be a viable addition to their farming operations.
Why the Farm Bill Matters for Greater PhiladelphiaMembers only Login
Every five years, Congress reauthorizes this sweeping piece of legislation in an effort to prevent hunger, bring fresh foods to communities lacking access, and add vibrancy and diversity to the local food system. However, funding for critical programs that uplift our food system and provide nutrition benefits to millions of Americans is under threat.
Iowa's Biomass Conversion Action Plan 2018Members only Login
Consumption of renewable energy in the United States is at the highest level in history, contributing to energy security and other economic and environmental benefits. The largest single source of renewable energy is biomass, representing nearly half of renewable energy consumed in 2016.
More Agriculture Finance Resources

-Financing Programs

Search the map below to find food financing programs by state. This specialized search is part of CDFA's State Financing Program Directory, the only online resource cataloging the development finance programs offered by state governments. Click on a state to see a sample of food financing programs available. Login with a CDFA Member account at the top of the page to view full results.

-Case Studies

Local Foods, Local Places Toolkit
Cities and towns across the country are undertaking new initiatives and strengthening current programs that support development and growth of local food systems while reinvesting in downtowns and existing neighborhoods. Strong interest from communities prompted a group of federal agencies to offer assistance with a community-driven planning process that explores how to use the benefits of local foods to help revitalize downtowns and neighborhoods.
Franklin County, OH TIF Deal for La Plaza TapatiaMembers only Login
The first County-Township parcel TIF (tax increment financing) enacted by Franklin County for a new location and expansion of a regional ethnic grocer: La Plaza Tapatia (the Developer), in Franklin Township.
U.S. EPA Office of Community Revitalization's Strategies for Food Systems, Health, and Economic DevelopmentMembers only Login
Local Food, Local Places helps communities create walkable, healthy, economically thriving downtowns and neighborhoods through the development of local food systems.
White Paper 2: Food Systems & Access to Capital
Research and written by CDFA, this white paper is part of 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 financing that provides access to capital, outlining this category of tools and demonstrating how they can be utilized for various types of food-related endeavors.
The Hatchery Chicago Fact SheetMembers only Login
The Hatchery Chicago is a non-profit food business incubator that enables local entrepreneurs to build and grow successful businesses. Accion, the area’s largest microlender, and ICNC, which runs one of the largest business incubators in the country, are the joint venture partners and building owners. The City of Chicago and its affiliates provided a portion of the land, grants, tax increment financing, and new markets tax credits to help reduce the debt the project must carry.
More Case Studies

-Headlines

-Training Courses

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 explores 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 addresses the financing challenges associated with growing, processing, distributing, marketing, and selling food.

-Webcasts

CDFA & OSU Webcast: Using the Successes of Energy Finance to Guide Progress in Food Systems Finance
The CDFA & OSU Webcast was a special one time offering. The webcast covered the Energy Finance Landscape and explored how its successes may be applied to the Food Systems Landscape. This webcast was run by students taking the graduate level Sustainable Financing class in the Department of City and Regional Planning at The Ohio State University.
CDFA // BNY Mellon Webcast Series: Financing Food Systems - Old Problems, New ApproachesMembers only Login
During this installment of the CDFA // BNY Mellon Development Finance Webcast Series, listen to Joe Bute of Hollymead Capital, Larry Yee of the Food Commons, and David Safer of The Bank of New York Mellon discuss food systems finance. From food hubs to experimental local food sourcing programs this webcast will tackle old problems with some new approaches.
CDFA USDA Rural Project Marketplace Information Session
As part of the CDFA & USDA Rural Finance Partnership, a Project Marketplace will be created. This informational video helps explain the partnership and marketplace.
CDFA-Stifel Webcast: Food Systems Investments Driving New MarketsMembers only Login
The third installment of the CDFA-Stifel Rural Community Development Finance Solutions Webcast Series focused on how food systems investments can be used to drive other markets, benefitting the economy of small and rural towns throughout America.
CDFA // BNY Mellon Webcast Series: The Food System - Thinking Outside of the SiloMembers only Login
During this installment of the CDFA // BNY Mellon Webcast Series, Barry Kukovich with Peoples Gas, Glenn Ford with InCity Farms and Rick Terrien with Artisan Food Networks, thought outside the silo and recognized the food system as an economic development tool by discussing innovative financing to fill the gaps of regional food systems.

-Publications

Practitioner's Guide to Economic Development Finance
The Practitioner's Guide to Economic Development Finance 2nd Edition is the only comprehensive resource dedicated to building and utilizing the development finance toolbox. The Practitioner's Guide provides the insight and practical information needed to critically understand how economic development is financed and the tools, strategies and techniques used to build strong communities. From bonds, tax increment finance and special districts to tax credits, seed & venture capital, revolving loan funds and much more, this Guide outlines the financing tools required for succeeding in today's competitive economic development climate.
Unlocking Capital: A Handbook for Becoming a High Performing Development Finance Agency
Unlocking Capital: A Handbook for Becoming a High Performing Development Finance Agency (Handbook) serves as a companion to the Practitioner’s Guide to help illuminate the structures of development finance agencies (DFAs), essential conduits to access development finance tools. The Handbook provides an overview of DFAs and their myriad roles in various development efforts. Included in this discussion is a comprehensive look at over a dozen high-performing DFAs throughout the country. The Handbook is designed to be a starting point for local leaders to engage in the creation or acceleration of a DFA to build and utilize the development finance toolbox.
View More Publications

Through a W.K. Kellogg funded research project entitled Defining the Food System Asset Class, CDFA is heavily researching the potential for DFA's to become more engaged in developing localized food systems through traditional finance approaches such as bonds, tax increment finance, tax credits, and revolving loan funds.

Want to learn more about CDFA's Defining the Food System Asset Class project?

Learn More

CDFA National Sponsors

  • Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority
  • Baker Tilly Virchow Krause
  • BNY Mellon
  • Bricker & Eckler LLP
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
  • Business Oregon
  • CohnReznick
  • FBT Project Finance Advisors LLC
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Frost Brown Todd, LLC
  • Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP
  • Ice Miller LLP
  • KeyBanc Capital Markets
  • Kutak Rock LLP
  • McCarter & English, LLP
  • McGuireWoods
  • MuniCap, Inc.
  • NW Financial Group, LLC
  • SB Friedman Development Advisors
  • Stern Brothers
  • Stifel Nicolaus
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wells Fargo Securities
  • Wilmington Trust
  • Z. The Bond Buyer
Become a Sponsor