Wednesday March 11th, 2:15-3:45
What is the right level of investment in equipment and facilities for your food hub, and how do you set priorities for overhead expenditures? And what’s the best way to make the investments? Should you buy, rent, lease, beg, borrow, or steal, (okay, skip that last idea)? Analyzing what equipment and facilities you need, how much you should spend, and understanding business impacts of how you make the investments are important planning skills. Understanding difference in credit products and having the vocabulary to navigate the application process are key components of planning. Farm Credit’s Erin Pirro, Gary Matteson, and Allison Paap will show how you can make reasonable decisions to ensure sustainable business performance in order to meet your mission objectives.
Speakers: Allison Paap, Vice President-Lending Manager, American AgCredit (part of the Farm Credit System), Erin Pirro, Farm Business Consultant, Farm Credit East, Gary Matteson, SVP Beginning Farmer Programs and Outreach, Farm Credit Council
Wednesday March 11th, 4-5:30pm
Whether you’re a good food entrepreneur or a nonprofit leader looking to grow an income-generating social enterprise, you may not have all the knowledge and resources needed to scale your business. This interactive session will feature case studies of good food businesses from across the value chain with tips and learnings gleaned during their growth. You’ll hear about real entrepreneurs’ stories anchored in best practices from Fair Food Fund’s technical assistance and financing program, and learn how to apply them to your work. Focus areas will include: • Developing a compelling story
• Target customer and value proposition
• How to go about getting financing
• Balancing mission and money
• The path to breakeven
The audience will gain practical advice on how to scale effectively, and session organizers will leave each audience member with tips to refer back to after the session.
Speakers: Jean Chorazyczewski, Program Director, Fair Food Network, Mark Watson, Fair Food Fund Manager, Fair Food Network
Thursday March 12th, 10:30-12
Participants will engage in intentional and honest conversations about what it takes to build models of integrated and accessible capital for food and farm projects and enterprises, especially those owned by or directly benefitting communities of color. First, we will present specific examples of integrated capital stacking (i.e. multiple types of capital with varying risk-tolerances) that can be used to finance construction projects or provide access to working capital for neighborhood businesses. We will then discuss different approaches to understanding community need, market gaps, and opportunities to align complementary strategies with financing (i.e. technical assistance and market-making) to strengthen food economies in these communities. Finally, we will explore strategies for fostering collaboration among place-based foundations, community-based lenders, and community food system leaders to cultivate the growth of food economies owned by and benefiting communities of color.
Speakers: Jessica Pedersen, Manager, Impact Investing Research and Consulting, Pacific Community Ventures, Kathy Saloy, Vice President, Hope Enterprise Corporation, Philip Otienoburu, Self-Help, Esperanza Pallana, Community Vision
Thursday March 12th, 2-3:30
Inequity in outcomes can result from inequity in power in decision-making. Financial decisions are often made by a privileged few, who inevitably bring biases and discrimination into their decisions. How can we advance equity – not only by diversifying the composition of decision-makers – but also by shifting decision-making power to those who are impacted the most? How can we advance greater equity within food systems by adjusting the process to shift toward greater self-determination and empowered participation? Learn from three different initiatives and their journey in implementing new processes. Representatives from the Action Seed Learning Fund, the Michigan Good Food Fund, and the Chesapeake Foodshed Network will share how participatory awarding processes advance a more equitable food system and allows for greater transparency, collaboration, and equitable distribution of financial resources. Dig into reasons to consider participatory decision-making to advance equitable outcomes. Learn the tactical applications of participatory processes. Hear the outcomes of participatory processes, which include increased trust, collaboration, accountability and reciprocity among participants on a long-term horizon.
Speakers: Olivia M. Rebanal, Director of Inclusive Food Systems, Capital Impact Partners, Noelle Harden, Extension Educator, Health and Nutrition, University of Minnesota Extension, Sade Anderson, Program Director, Chesapeake Foodshed Network
Friday March 13th, 10-11:30
An effective healthy food financing strategy addresses all aspects of food security – access, market demand (purchasing power), and supply of fresh local food. Virginia Community Capital, the statewide community development finance institution, is shifting the focus of its $10 million healthy food revolving loan fund from a focus on grocery retail to investing along the whole food chain by aligning existing lending, technical assistance, and complementary activities of diverse stakeholders in a good food network to develop projects and increase investment readiness. VCC advances equity by increasing capital availability and business planning in areas of low food access and low income. Based on examples from farming, grocery retail, and food business incubators, this session will share the secret sauce for equitable food-based community development, including strategies for community engagement and coalition building. Participants will have opportunity to share their own successes and challenges.
Speakers: Francesca Constantino, Community Impact Advisor, Virginia Community Capital