Region Finances Local Food with Team Work

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In northwest Michigan a team of investors and lenders is taking a unique community-based approach to capitalizing farmers and local food producers. It is their commitment to both lending and learning that is making the difference. In their first year, 2013-2014, members of the Northwest Michigan Food and Farm 20/20 Fund made 18 loans for a … [Read more...]

Making Economic Sense of Local Good Food

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What are the economic drivers behind so much local food demand and business growth? My answer in a presentation earlier this year is that it is a highly entrepreneurial spirit inside all of us that is breaking down major barriers and opening new opportunity. The secret to further growth and development of local and regional food systems is to drop … [Read more...]

Food Innovation Districts

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The wide world of local and healthy food is coming together at the community level in many ways. A new guidebook explains how some towns are developing whole business districts around the synergy of community gardens, farmers markets, farm-to-table eateries, cottage food businesses and more. “Food Innovation Districts: An Economic Gardening … [Read more...]

Case Studies and Tips on Small Farm Financing

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On the Line: Food and Jobs Lack of access to financial capital is a chief obstacle for newer farmers in the United States. This problem is urgent because the vast majority of farmers are at retirement age, and few of their children are choosing to stay in agriculture. A next generation of farmers is essential for future food security. New … [Read more...]

Lenders Learn How to Bank on Small Farms, Local Food

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Financing team offers training as part of healthy food initiative By Patty Cantrell Nic Welty employs himself full time year-round raising lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens in three low-cost passive solar greenhouses, which together cover less than one acre of land. His Nine Bean Rows farm near Traverse City, MI, is one of many … [Read more...]

Financing Measure Could Boost Farm Production in Food Deserts

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By Bob Heuer & Patty Cantrell First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign against childhood obesity moved forward Wednesday with her announcement that grocery chains have agreed to open or expand 1,500 stores in urban and rural “food deserts” nationwide. She did not say who would be growing all the anticipated fruits and vegetables. Many believe … [Read more...]