Region Finances Local Food with Team Work


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...]

Food Innovation Districts


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


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...]

Food Innovation District: New Economic Gardening Tool


Farmers and gardeners all know that the most powerful thing they can do to grow healthy plants is to invest in soil. Rich soil is the key to vibrant, resilient plants; it’s the basic building block of life. Now take that truth and apply it to your local economy. What is the most powerful thing we can do to grow strong businesses and lasting … [Read more...]

Lenders Learn How to Bank on Small Farms, Local Food


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...]

Public Health Concerns Spur Produce-Market Growth


By Patty Cantrell and Bob Heuer, Fair Food Network Sam Shina’s family owns 14 small grocery stores in Detroit. One of them could soon be part of a market incentive experiment designed to improve public health, expand sales for Michigan farmers, and grow local economies. Pending federal approval, Shina’s Apollo Market will become one of five … [Read more...]

Food Innovation Districts Work


It’s widely understood in economic development circles that if you want new entrepreneurs to start up and grow, a good strategy is to bring them together and let the creativity roll. A good example is People’s Pierogi Collective, which grew in one year from a startup hot food cart at Detroit’s Eastern Market to contract talks with local and … [Read more...]