Financing Food Enterprises
Client types and projects seem to come in waves. We’ve just completed one project in Vermont and are working with two land/food-related enterprises in Ottawa after a bit of a hiatus in that sector. Vermont’s Working Lands Enterprise Board hired us to prepare a blueprint for financing tools that could allow them to use their funding to leverage additional investment in the working lands businesses they seek to support. In Ottawa, Market Mobile is working to get fresh, healthy and affordable food to communities that are food insecure due to income and distance from supermarkets. We’re working with the operating team to enhance Market Mobile’s sustainability. We’re also in the early stage of business planning projects with Ottawa’s Just Food and a couple of Vermont’s Farm-to-School initiatives (in collaboration with Andy Robinson.)
One of the more interesting things about this work is seeing the impact of varied policy approaches. Vermont, as one of the US leaders in addressing agriculture and food systems, has spent decades creating an infrastructure that is supportive of farm and forest producers, value-added enterprises and the markets where they reach consumers. As a result, the State is one of North America’s leading jurisdictions when it comes to creative ways to address food insecurity, protection of agricultural lands, financing working lands enterprise and local economic development. It’s great to be able to share some of the policy initiatives and lessons from Vermont’s experience with organizations in Ottawa.