REGIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS
CREATING CONNECTIONS TO SCALE IMPACT
Increasing the amount of acreage that is managed regeneratively is central to our mission, but small-scale producers utilizing regenerative practices are often faced with logistical issues as well as financial barriers—proximity and availability of processors, storage and distribution, and restrictive institutional purchasing contracts, to name a few.
In November 2021, we received a $250,000 planning grant through the USDA's Regional Food System Partnerships (RFSP) program to "build capacity and collaboration to develop a regenerative meat value chain the in the Mid-Atlantic."
From this funding, the Common Wealth Partnership was formed—seven organizations (including Foodshed Capital) working to expand holistic livestock production with verified ecological outcomes (EOV), help develop regional sales channels that include institutional buyers, and rectify processing bottlenecks and inefficiencies.
KEY LEVERS FOR CHANGE
1. TRUSTED TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
In partnership with Robinia Institute, we are working with pilot farms to implement the Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV) framework, a practical and scalable soil and landscape assessment methodology that tracks outcomes in biodiversity, soil health, and ecosystem function. We also partner with Kitchen Table Consultants to provide whole farm business planning for our pilot farms.
2. CAPITAL ACCESS
Foodshed Capital's flexible, patient financing is essential to incentivizing new farms to adopt regenerative practices and assisting conventional farms with transition. It is also critical for helping fund new meat processing capacity.
3. REGENERATIVE SUPPLY CHAINS
In order for this work to be successful, farms must have access to markets beyond local farmers markets and local wholesale/retail. The Common Wealth Partnership is developing distribution networks to aggregate products from pilot farms and tap into markets they wouldn’t be able to access otherwise, thanks to relationships that have been developed by our partner 4P Foods.
ADIRONDACK NORTH COUNTRY ASSOCIATION
Foodshed Capital partners with Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) to extend flexible, mission-driven capital to farms and food producers in northern New York state. Founded in 1955, ANCA is a non-profit organization working to build dynamic local economies that sustain thriving communities throughout North Country. ANCA’s region encompasses 38% of the geography of the state and is home to 1.26 million people living in 255 small towns and 14 small cities.
ANCA worked with FoodCap to develop their "SOIL Loan Fund" with the goal of supporting North Country food producers who have difficulty accessing financing through conventional loan programs—and it's clear the need is significant. In years 2019 and 2020, the organization received over $1.6 million in grant requests for a pool of just $200,000 in available funding. Although ANCA was able to award grants to 16 farms and businesses for projects that improved farm stability and local food access, they began a campaign to offer additional capital as soon as possible.
With Foodshed Capital's help, as well as collective funding contributions from regional banks, philanthropy, and crowd sourcing, ANCA launched its SOIL Loan Fund in May 2022 with $100,000 in 0% capital.
ARE YOU A NEW YORK FARMER IN NEED OF FUNDING?