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Food Systems Finance Resource Center

Food system finance is becoming an increasingly important local development focus. Communities throughout the country are reimagining the food system with various strategies aimed at creating new food enterprises, providing access to capital for establish food industry participants, supporting local farming, investing in the food deliver infrastructure and financing food scarcity challenges with innovative funding. While food system financing continues to present myriad challenges to local development agencies significant process is being made in this area.

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+Understanding Food Systems Finance

A Look at Financing First Time Farmers in Iowa
Tammy Nebola from the Iowa Agricultural Development Division of the Iowa Finance Authority discusses farming in Iowa and what it takes to finance first time farmers around the state.
Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food Investments to Transform Communities
Debra Tropp from the USDA introduces a new publication from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and USDA entitled Harvesting Opportunities: The Power of Regional Food Systems Investments to Transform Communities. Consumers are increasingly interested in where their food comes from and using their food dollars to support desired social and environmental goals.
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA): The Year Ahead
In Dr. Barbara Glenn's presentation she discusses NASDA's policy priorities, farm bill priorities, opportunities and challenging areas.
Succession Opportunities in Local Food Systems
Joe Bute, with Hollymead Capital and PittBusiness discuss the importance of recognizing the challenges of the "critical middle" in the regional food system and facing the challenges of ownership change.
The Rural Center
Barry Ryan discusses what The Rural Center is doing to support rural economic development in North Carolina.
More Food Systems Finance


Agricultural Economic Development in Pennsylvania
Gary Smith covers the importance of connecting farmers to business resources, training and financing in order to grow business and promote smart agricultural economic development.
Innovative Programs that are Helpful for Beginning Farmers
Stephen McHenry with MARBIDCO covers programs and opportunities for beginning farmers in Maryland.
New State Agriculture Financing Programs and Changes in Minnesota
New state agriculture programs in Minnesota support first time farmers around the state. Ryan Roles with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Rural Finance Authority gives an overview of new programs and changes to the state's agriculture programs supporting new farmers.
The National Farm to School Network Present Farm to Institution Collaborations
Maximilian Merrill covers the core elements of farm to school collaborations.
Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC), a Resource for New Farmers
Andy Wood gives an overview of what the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation is doing to support farmers struggling to obtain financing in Vermont.
More Programs


+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 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.


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 Approaches
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 Markets
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 National Sponsors

  • Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority
  • Baker Tilly Virchow Krause
  • Ballard Spahr LLP
  • BNY Mellon
  • Bricker & Eckler LLP
  • Bryan Cave LLP
  • Business Oregon
  • CohnReznick
  • FBT Project Finance Advisors LLC
  • Frost Brown Todd, LLC
  • Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP
  • Ice Miller LLP
  • KeyBanc Capital Markets
  • Kutak Rock LLP
  • MB Financial Bank, NA
  • McCarter & English, LLP
  • McGuireWoods
  • Miles & Stockbridge P.C.
  • NW Financial Group, LLC
  • SB Friedman Development Advisors
  • Squire Patton Boggs
  • Stern Brothers & Co.
  • Stifel Nicolaus
  • U.S. Bank
  • Wells Fargo Securities
  • Wilmington Trust
  • Z. The Bond Buyer
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