Financing Food Enterprises

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...

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Community Foundations and Impact Investing

Forbes reports that a growing number of community foundations are using impact investing to achieve their mission. The article is based on findings in   A New Anchor Mission for a New Century, a new report issued by the Maryland-based Democracy Collaborative.  The authors studied and report on 30 innovative community foundations  (29 in the States and one from Edmonton) that are doing much more than grant-making to effect change in their communities. In addition to highlighting the objectives, benefits, barriers and the steps for starting an impact investing program, the report identifies the following four strategies: Partnering with community development financial institutions (CDFIs) Creating loan pools Providing loan guarnatees Direct investment in local economic development efforts. The report also provides further details on each of the 30...

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Tools for Co-operatives

Tools for Co-operatives

In the US – the University of Wisconsin Center for Co-operatives provides start-up resources, events, training, research, and publications about all aspects of co-operatives including economic impact.  Their chart outlining the difference of various types of US corporations is one of the best summaries available. In Canada – the newly formed Cooperatives and Mutuals Canada is a national, bilingual association that represents more than 18 million co-operative members from 9,000 co-operatives.   It partners with provincial co-operative development organizations across the country to deliver training, advocacy and events that support the cooperative...

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