Technical Assistance

Intro Food Systems Finance Course
Daily: 12:00 - 5:00 PM Eastern


CDFA's Intro Food Systems Finance Course examines how the development finance toolbox is being used to restore local food systems and how these investments 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 studies that showcase a variety of financing programs.

Local food systems use many tools including bonds, tax increment finance, tax credits, loan programs, and grants to foster development. This course covers those tools and explore how reframing food system development as infrastructure and economic development, building effective partnerships, and planning for strategic financing supports local food system restoration.

This course qualifies for the CDFA Training Institute's Development Finance Certified Professional (DFCP) Program. Join us online, and start down the road to personal and professional advancement today.

Course Objectives

  • Discover how to restore America's local food systems through the Reframe, Build, Plan approach
  • Learn how local communities are financing farmers, grocers, restaurateurs, food artisans, and other food-related businesses
  • Hear about financing strategies that address food deserts, create jobs, and build community wealth
  • Understand the variety of sources of capital available to support a food system, including federal, state, and local programs
  • Gain a greater understanding of bond, tax credit, loan fund, and grant programs that are available for food systems projects
  • Discuss innovative financing approaches being employed by communities across the country

Topics Covered

  • Understanding the local food system
  • Identifying partners and stakeholders in the food system
  • Sources of capital to support food-related businesses
  • Federal, state, and local financing programs
  • Foundation, non-profit, and community-based financing programs
  • Innovative financing approaches

Who Should Attend?

  • Economic Development Professionals
  • Community Development Professionals
  • Government and Nonprofit Finance Officers
  • Development Finance Agencies and Issuers
  • Attorneys
  • Accountants
  • Financial Advisors
  • Elected Officials
  • Policy Makers

Course Advisor

Angela Blatt Angela Blatt
Council of Development Finance Agencies
As Director of Knowledge & Networks Division with the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA), Angela focuses on the W.K. Kellogg Foundation-funded initiative “Defining the Food System Asset Class,” whereby CDFA explores opportunities for the... (More)


Day 1

12:00 PM - 12:30 PM
Welcome & Overview
Welcome to the Intro Food Systems Finance Course. During this time, we will introduce CDFA, explain how to use the online software, and discuss the framework for the two-day course.
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM
Comprehensive Approach for Restoring Local Food Systems
In order to establish reliable, affordable, traditional financing streams for local food systems projects, there must be a shift in perspective that understands individual people and projects within the broader food system. CDFA has identified three replicable strategies for restoring local and regional 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. This introductory session will discuss the components of the food system and introduce CDFA's philosophy and vision for the broader food system and how it connects with economic development.
1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Understanding Development Finance & the Toolbox Approach

This session will build attendees’ core knowledge base of the roots and basic principles of development finance. Attendees will also learn about the fundamentals and concepts of building a comprehensive financing strategy.
3:15 PM - 3:30 PM
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Using Bonds to Finance Food System Projects
Bonds are the bedrock tool of development finance, as they are commonly deployed to finance infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, schools, libraries, and thousands of other public and private projects. This session will explore the foundational role that bonds play in public financing and include education about the different types of bonds, how they are used, the key players involved in a bond deal, and the process by which bonds are sold.
5:00 PM

Day 2

12:00 PM - 12:15 PM
Revisiting Day 1
The first day of the Intro Food Systems Finance Course introduced the basic components of the food system and development finance, as well as the players involved. At the start of Day 2, we will review some important terms and set the stage for the remaining sessions focused on the sources of financing available to help support a healthy food system.
12:15 PM - 1:15 PM
Tools for Targeting Specific Geographic Areas
Targeted financing tools – such as tax increment financing (TIF), special assessments, property assessed clean energy (PACE), and tax abatements – are used to finance specific areas or difficult-to-finance sectors in a community, transforming the actual or perceived value of a geographic area. During this session we will discover how various types of targeted tools function and how these tools can be applied to projects within the local and regional food economies.
1:15 PM - 2:30 PM
Catalyzing Investment for Food System Projects
Investment tools work to support businesses and projects by incentivizing and enabling investment in construction, equipment, technology, and other major developments. This session will discuss the various investment tools – including tax credits and opportunity zones – and how these tools can bring a project within the food system to fruition.
2:30 PM - 2:45 PM
2:45 PM - 4:00 PM
Unlocking Capital for Small Businesses Within the Food System
Small businesses represent nearly half of the private sector workforce and are economic drivers in local communities, yet they often have difficulty accessing affordable capital to start or scale their business. During this session we will explore development financing tools – such as revolving loans funds, loan guarantees, microlending, and more – available to assist food and agriculture businesses.
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Innovative Approaches for Financing the Food System
This final session will explore emerging financing tools and innovative approaches to supporting businesses and projects within the food system. A selection of case studies will be included to demonstrate how these models may be applied to other communities and businesses.
5:00 PM


The Intro Food Systems Finance Course will take place on Zoom. The course will meet each day from 12:00-5:00 PM Eastern. Attendees must have access to a computer and the internet to attend the course.


This training course qualifies for the CDFA Training Institute's Development Finance Certified Professional (DFCP) Program. Start down the road to personal and professional advancement today.

Scholarships are available to attend this event. Learn more about the CDFA Scholarship Program, and submit your application today.

CDFA permits only one person to login and participate in the course. If multiple people are accessing the course without paying to attend, we will terminate the connection and access. CDFA offers group discounts for organizations that wish to register multiple people.

Register by ______ for Early Bird Rates.
Early Bird Rates
CDFA Member: $550
Non-Member: $825
Standard Rates
CDFA Member: $600
Non-Member: $875