Fair Food Fund Impact Report Q1 2021
From the Field
More than one year into the pandemic, it continues to affect nearly every corner of our lives. Despite the disruptions and uncertainty, an enduring resilience alongside sparks of innovation continue to show us what’s possible as we imagine the way forward.
In the Northeast, where the Fair Food Fund first launched in 2013, Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union (MHFCU) brings local financing to Maine’s farms and food producers. Launched in 2019, MHFCU is committed to growing a healthy, more resilient local food system in Maine.
Fair Food Fund is thrilled to announce our first Collateral Initiative with MHFCU in support of South Paw Farm, of Freedom, Maine. This woman-owned farm grows a diverse mix of vegetables and crafts a line of value-added products using produce grown onsite. South Paw Farm is on a mission to grow its profitability and provide fresh produce to families in Maine experiencing poverty.
The Collateral Initiative was designed to support projects and partners like this. Using a grant-funded pool of capital, this Initiative offers a credit enhancement or loan guarantee to mission-driven enterprises when collateral runs thin, thereby enabling deals that otherwise might not be possible. This Initiative is catalytic by design, with every dollar leveraging $4 from local lenders. To further bolster the success of projects, Fair Food Fund also offers follow-on business assistance.
By putting money on deposit at MHFCU and providing a bridge loan, Fair Food Fund helped South Paw Farm secure a $15,000 loan for a solar array that will support the farm’s energy needs.
We hope this is the first of many Collateral Initiative partnerships and looking forward to continued collaboration with MHFCU in support of Maine’s local food system.
The Collateral Initiative is an exciting opportunity for investors. Whether through grants or recoverable grants, it support mission-driven entrepreneurs while catalyzing broader community and systems change.
In other news, our team continues to grow.
I am excited to announce the hires of Kyama Kitavi, Investment Manager, and Xana Williams, Business Assistance Manager, both of whom are focused on our place-based efforts with the Michigan Good Food Fund. We’re also expanding the involvement of our Investment Committee, which is allowing the emergence of place-based leads, bringing local context and a deeper bench of leadership to our collective efforts.
With this expansion, my role is shifting to focus on strategic vision, developing external partnerships, and overseeing our place-based work in Michigan with the Michigan Good Food Fund as well as a burgeoning project in Camden, NJ.
And finally, we have been busy building a strong pipeline and look forward to closing some impactful deals in the coming quarter.
Senior Investment Strategist
- See how portfolio company Radicle Farms pivoted to meet major disruptions and surging demand.
- Learn about a new chapter of business assistance in our partnership with Malamiah Juice Bar.
- From Social Venture Circle to Transformational Investing in Food Systems, see recent gatherings where our team is sharing this work.
Learn more about our Fair Food Fund impact investing arm and its work supporting food entrepreneurs to be the engine of a more equitable future.