Fund Investments

Fair Food Fund has committed more than $3 million in financing to good food entrepreneurs since its 2012 launch. These businesses are transforming their communities from farm to fork.

Nadine’s Fish Tips n Wings

Investment:
$6,000 Collateral Initiative guarantee with Rende Progress Capital, a West Michigan-based racial equity loan fund and emerging Community Development Financial Institution
Enterprise:
Nadine’s Fish Tips n Wings is an African-American owned restaurant in Holland, Michigan specializing in Chicago style street food. Owner Larry Brothers, who brings 10+ years of industry experience, hatched the concept in the midst of the COVID pandemic. As the business gained traction through catering dinners on the side, Brothers saw an opportunity to open a brick-and-mortar location.
Financing Purpose & Date:
This 2022 investment illustrates our commitment to delivering catalytic financing that helps bring other lenders’ capital off the sidelines and enables investments that otherwise might not be possible. In this case, our Collateral Initiative funding supported a loan by Rende Progress Capital; it is also helped further de-risk a previous investment in Nadine’s from GROW, a fellow Michigan Good Food Fund lender.
Update:
Nadine’s opened winter 2022 as one of the few Black-owned and operated businesses in Holland, Michigan.

Argus Farm Stop

Investment:
$150,000 Convertible Note
Enterprise:
Argus Farm Stop is a year-round, seven days a week farmers market and café. Developed as a compliment to famers markets, if features produce, dairy, meat, and other locally prepared foods and goods sourced from a network of more than local farmers and producers who receive 70 cents of every dollar of sales. In 2019, its café expanded to include Michigan draft beer, cider, and wine. And as COVID shuttered local farmers markets, Argus launched produce boxes, curated weekly for delivery or curbside pickup. Argus currently has two locations in Ann Arbor, as well an online ordering platform. Argus has offered Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks program since 2017, doubling shoppers’ SNAP dollars spent on produce. It also provides produce boxes to low-income households in the area using grants and programs . While its core business is connecting local farmers to local consumers, its owners and staff are passionate advocates who regularly consult other businesses interested in replicating its innovative “Argus Model.”
Financing Purpose & Date:
This 2022 investment is supporting Argus in opening a third location that will consolidate its grocery services in a building with more space, larger aisles, and a dedicated area to process orders and its produce boxes. The current location is at capacity for online orders and produce box fulfillment. Both programs were started in the pandemic and need to address efficiency and operational challenges. This expansion will also allow Argus to reconfigure one of its existing locations to provide an expanded café and tavern space with prepared foods and drinks, additional seating, and room for pop-ups and other community events.
Update:
Argus’s innovative model has already paid out more than $10 million to area farmers since its 2014 launch. It has also led farmers to extend their growing season into winter months given the dedicated sales channel it provides. This expansion will further boost its capacity as a crucial link where local farms can sell locally-grown produce and other goods conveniently to consumers, year-round.

Daily Table

Investment:
$125,000 Line of Credit
Enterprise:
Daily Table is a local grocery chain on a mission to provide fresh produce, grocery staples, and made-from-scratch prepared foods at prices low enough to fit within every budget, including families who rely on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps). It has offered Fair Food Network's Double Up Food Bucks program since 2018.
Financing Purpose & Date:
As Daily Table expands its reach and opens additional locations — its working capital needs are growing. To help fill the gap, Daily Table turned to Fair Food Network’s Fair Food Fund for a $150,000 line of credit. This investment will free Daily Table from having to tap its grant dollars for inventory purchases or overhead costs, instead prioritizing those dollars to support Double Up redemptions. Such flexible financing will be key to bridge Daily Table through low cash periods during this expansion phase particularly in between grant cycles or when philanthropic funding is low.

Supermercado Mexico

Investment:
$100,000 participation in a $346,800 loan with Northern Initiatives
Enterprise:
Supermercado Mexico is a local grocery chain with three stores in Western Michigan’s Grand Rapids metro area. The Division Street location opened in 2011 in a corridor of businesses serving a largely Mexican clientele. It has since become its anchor location store with a full-service butcher, produce, baked goods, and other culturally relevant products and services. The Supermercado stores are owned by Olvera Enterprises, which is led by brothers Javier and Pablo Olvera. The Olvera’s are deeply connected to the community and leading other local economic development projects supporting Hispanic-owned businesses in Grand Rapids.
Financing Purpose & Date:
As Supermercado outgrew its Division Street location, store owners purchased a nearby building to expand. In July 2021, Fair Food Fund provided a $100,000 participation in a $346,800 loan with Northern Initiatives, a fellow lending partner in the Michigan Good Food Fund. December 2021 saw follow-on financing also with Northern Initiative. Financing is supporting building improvements, equipment, and working capital for inventory. These investments are supporting building improvements, equipment, and working capital for the expanded store.
Update:
The new building will triple the store footprint allowing them to expand offerings and bring on 20 new full-time employees.

Detroit Soul

Investment:
$50,000 Collateral Initiative investment enabling financing from Detroit Development Fund
Enterprise:
In 2010, Detroit residents Jerome Brown and Samuel Van Buren started a catering business that served homestyle cooking, but with healthful substitutes. Five years later, they went from operating remotely to a brick-and-mortar location where customers could pick up orders.
Financing Purpose & Date:
This July 2021 investment is helping Detroit Soul expand to a second location with sit down dining. We were able to de-risk this investment by providing additional collateral, enabling this deal to move forward in partnership with Detroit Development Fund, another Michigan Good Food Fund lending partner. Other partners include Detroit Community Loan Fund and Michigan Saves.
Update:
Collateral Initiative support includes follow-on businesses assistance: We’re now working with Detroit Soul on marketing including building a new website.
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North Flint Food Market

Investment:
$100,000 Bridge Loan
Enterprise:
After the Flint water crisis in 2014, the last two major grocery stores left the city’s north side, leaving the community without healthy food at the moment it was needed most. Residents decided to open a new grocery store — one that was by and for the community.
Financing Purpose & Date:
The North Flint Reinvestment Corporation, a place-based nonprofit led by Flint-native Pastor Reginald Flynn, raised over $7 million to finance the North Flint Food Market. It will operate as a co-op with residents and other local stakeholder becoming co-owners of their local grocery store. Our Fair Food Fund was part of the capital stack providing a critical bridge loan in April 2021 that helped cover transaction costs, which can be a common hurdle especially for community-based developers that lack deep balance sheets to prepay such hefty expenses. Beyond financing, we engaged a member of our Fair Food Fund investment committee, Daniel Tellalian, Founder and CEO of Angel City Advisors, to provide 1:1 support. With expertise in healthy food retail and community development finance, Tellalian served as an embedded thought partner and collaborator with Pastor Flynn over the past five years, tackling the financial plan, brokering connections, and coordinating a complex capital stack.
Update:
The North Flint Food Market broke ground in August 2021, revitalizing a long-vacant and obsolete building, with plans to open its door to the community in 2022.
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Boston Public Market

Investment:
$55,000 Collateral Initiative investment in partnership with Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI), a Maine-based CDFI
Enterprise:
Boston Public Market features healthy food sourced from 25+ artisans and food producers from across New England. Located in downtown Boston, the market is also a valued community-building space that brings together farmers, fishers, food entrepreneurs, and residents.
Financing Purpose & Date:
Like many farmers markets, the Boston Public Market was shuttered for months in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic and had limited hours when finally able to reopen in September 2021. While it was able to weather these disruptions, it significantly impacted market revenue. Our Collateral initiative investment supported Boston Public Market with a guarantee that freed up assets for working capital as it works to bounce back from the devastating economic impacts of the past year.
Update:
We’re thrilled to support the success of this anchor institution and collaborate with CEI, which provided the market a loan in 2019, and is a long-time and valued partner for us in the Northeast.

South Paw Farm

Investment:
$4,000 Collateral Initiative investment with Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union
Enterprise:
South Paw Farm is a woman-owned farm in Maine that grows a diverse mix of vegetables and crafts a line of value-added products using produce grown onsite. It’s on a mission to grow its profitability and provide fresh produce to families in Maine experiencing poverty.
Financing Purpose & Date:
Leveraging our Collateral Initiative, we put money on deposit at Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union and provided a bridge loan that helped South Paw Farm secure a $15,000 loan.
Update:
South Paw is using this loan for solar array that will support the farm’s energy needs.

Chelsea Business Foundation

Investment:
$37,500 Line of Credit
Enterprise:
Chelsea Business Foundation is a nonprofit on a mission to promote a healthy business economy and support Latino and small businesses in Chelsea, Massachusetts.
Financing Purpose & Date:
In December 2020, Fair Food Fund partnered with Boston Impact Initiative to provide a line of credit used to continue a business support grant program serving small and Latino-led businesses, approximately half of which are in the food sector.
Update:
Chelsea was one of the cities in Massachusetts hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. Local nonprofit Chelsea Business Foundation took action to stabilize community businesses most impacted including support via a business support grant program. This effort is not only helping these community-based businesses weather the COVID pandemic, but grow their customer base so that they can emerge stronger to support their community in the recovery to follow.

Forty Acres Soul Kitchen

Investment:
$50,000 Loan
Enterprise:
Forty Acres Soul Kitchen is a soul food restaurant in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Its impact extends far beyond the plate — from creating living-wage jobs to sourcing from area farms. Plus in a city with nearly 20 percent Black residents, Forty Acres is also the only full-service, sit-down, 100% African American-owned restaurant.
Financing Purpose & Date:
August 2020 integrated financing and technical assistance supported Forty Acres in improving its operational efficiency and expanding its sales channels during COVID-19 and beyond.
Update:
With our support, Forty Acres Soul Kitchen is providing delivery and curbside pickup options for customers and has expanded its catering operations.

Cooking With Que

Investment:
$35,000 Loan
Enterprise:
Quiana “Que” Broden’s eponymous “The Kitchen, by Cooking with Que,” includes a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen, shared culinary space, and café and catering company in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood.
Financing Purpose & Date:
June 2020 integrated financing and business assistance supported Que to ramp up meal prep and delivery services during the COVID crisis. We also provided follow-on business assistance including consulting to tune up business accounting and public relations and social media consulting to increase sales. Prior to financing, Que participated in a six-week brand training Fair Food Network delivered as part of our work with the Michigan Good Food Fund
Update:
At the height of the pandemic, Que provided food to quarantine locations and Detroit city employees working 24/7. Her business is on the rise with new employees and sales rising since 2020 investment.
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Crooked Face Creamery

Investment:
$10,000 Loan
Enterprise:
Crooked Face Creamery is a woman-owned artisan cheese maker based in Skowhegan, Maine. Its handcrafted, artisan cheeses are made with limited ingredients and high-quality, preservative-free whole milk sourced from a local dairy farm.
Financing Purpose & Date:
April 2020 financing Crooked Face’s expansion to a new creamery as working capital to support the business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to financing, owner Amy Rowbottom also participated in our 2017 business bootcamp and received additional customized business assistance.
Update:
Crooked Face Creamery’s business experienced a 1,000 percent increase in cheese sales from 2019 to 2020 allowing Rowbottom to hire her first part-time employee so she can focus exclusively on cheesemaking. Crooked Face Creamery also rose to the top of more than 1,900 applicants to be a finalist in the 2021 11th annual national Good Food Awards.

Pemaquid Mussel Farms

Investment:
$275,000 Convertible Note
Enterprise:
Since 2007, Pemaquid Mussel Farms has been growing high-quality, rope-grown mussels on floating rafts off the coast of Maine. Pemaquid uses sustainable and innovative aquaculture techniques to produce its mussels, which it distributes to Maine restaurants and regional wholesalers. Pemaquid is currently expanding its fleet with patent-pending submersible mussel rafts with the goal to produce a million pounds of mussels annually.
Financing Purpose & Date:
August 2017 financing is supporting Pemaquid's plans to grow its fleet up to nine submersible mussel rafts over the coming years.
Update:
In addition to growing production, jobs, and regional seafood sourcing, this investment is also providing Fair Food Fund the opportunity to be part of the world’s fastest growing part of the food system: aquaculture.

DAH!

Investment:
$350,000 Royalty Financing and $25,000 Equity Investment
Enterprise:
Founded in 2007, DAH! makes lassi—Indian style drinkable yogurt—prepared with milk from Northeastern grass-based dairies. It currently operates a state of the art processing facility in Leominster, Massachusetts.
Financing Purpose & Date:
A June 2015 Fair Food Fund investment supported DAH!'s sales, marketing, and working capital needs to expand production in their new facility. June 2017 and June 2018 follow on investments supported working capital and product development. DAH! also received Consulting Corps business assistance to compile historical financial statements.
Update:
With Fair Food Fund support, DAH! launched its new state-of-the-art processing facility, rolled out its new branding, and is launching new non-dairy products.
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Fresh Food Generation

Investment:
$125,000 Convertible Note
Enterprise:
Fresh Food Generation is a farm-to-table catering service, food truck, and community café in Boston. It serves up healthy and affordable Latin American and Caribbean food sourced from local farms with a focus on reaching underserved Boston neighborhoods.
Financing Purpose & Date:
The March 2018 convertible note is supporting Fresh Food Generation's continued growth by enabling it to hire more employees and professionalize its website to include an improved online ordering platform and greater focus on its catering work.
Update:
Fresh Food Generation was the winner of our 2015 Fair Food Business Boot Camp. As its prize, it received additional consulting support focused on financial planning. In March 2017, Fair Food Fund provided Fresh Food Generation a bridge loan of $11,000, laying the foundation for the subsequent 2018 convertible note investment in collaboration with Boston Impact Initiative. Such business and financial support has helped Fresh Food Generation mature from a small start-up to a growing business. In the coming years, Fresh Food Generation is focused on expanding its catering business leading to even greater positive impact on eaters and growers in Boston and beyond.
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The Compost Plant

Investment:
$75,000 Debt Financing
Enterprise:
Rhode Island-based The Compost Plant collects food scraps and other waste products from area restaurants and institutions, turning them into compost and soil mixes available to area growers. Since its 2014 launch, it has diverted nearly 400 tons of food waste from going to the state’s landfill. Next up, The Compost Plant is launching a bagged compost product line in partnership with an area farm that specializes in compost production.
Financing Purpose & Date:
April 2017 financing is helping The Compost Plant purchase equipment and providing working capital to launch its bagged compost product line.

New York Distilling Company

Investment:
$300,000 Debt and Equity Financing
Enterprise:
The New York Distilling Company (NYDC) is one of the nation's premier craft distilleries. Based in Brooklyn, New York, NYDC sources rye from upstate New York farmers with more than half of it organically grown. The results are high quality gins and rye whiskeys that are filling a niche in distilled spirits and supporting growers in the region including a growing organic grain market.
Financing Purpose & Date:
The April 2017 equity investment is providing working capital for sales and marketing of NYDC's rye whiskey. Debt financing is increasing its whiskey inventory through the purchase of additional rye and aging barrels.

Five Acre Farms

Investment:
$350,000 Equity Financing with additional $50,000 Convertible Debt Investment
Enterprise:
Five Acre Farms markets local milk, egg, and apple products with each product fully traceable to the land and farm that produced it. Founded in 2010, Five Acre Farms' mission is to find sustainable farmers within a 275-mile radius of its Brooklyn, New York headquarters, pay them fairly, and make their products accessible to average Americans. Five Acre Farms currently distributes its goods to more than 350 retail outlets, restaurants, cafes, and hotels across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Since 2014, it has paid a total of more than $1,000,000 above market price back to its network of 25 partner farms.
Financing Purpose & Date:
November 2016 financing helped Five Acre Farms launch new yogurt and kefir products and expand its staff to 14 full time employees. Follow-on February 2018 financing is helping Five Acre Farms to continue to grow and scale the business.
Update:
These investments will have a ripple effect of benefits: more jobs at Five Acre Farms, increased sales for its growing farmer network, and more healthy, locally grown food for area consumers. In 2017, Five Acre Farms purchased more than $2 million in products grown by Northeast farmers. Its Buttermilk was recently featured on Martha Stewart’s Baked.

Radicle Farm Company

Investment:
$226,000 Convertible Debt
Enterprise:
Launched in Newark, New Jersey in 2014, Radicle Farm Company grows and distributes cut salad greens and “living salads” in its New Jersey and upstate New York greenhouses.
Financing Purpose & Date:
A July 2015 investment of $200,000 supported Radicle in purchasing new equipment, building inventory, and marketing its products. Fair Food Fund also assisted Radicle in establishing an advisory board. An additional investment of $26,000 in May 2017 is helping Radicle accelerate its growth.
Update:
With Fair Food Fund financing, Radicle and its greens are growing fast. Radicle has upgraded its processing equipment, infrastructure, and purchased a distribution vehicle to support growing sales to restaurants, meal kit companies, and multi-farm CSAs across New York.
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Urban Farm Fermentory

Investment:
$250,000 Convertible Debt
Enterprise:
Launched in 2010, Urban Farm Fermentory (UFF) produces kombucha, hard cider, and meads featuring ingredients sourced from small and mid-size New England farms. UFF distributes its products in Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont and sells seasonal products at its Portland, Maine tasting room.
Financing Purpose & Date:
Executed in May 2015, this financing assisted UFF in purchasing equipment, increasing marketing and distribution, and building inventory. UFF also received Consulting Corps business assistance to develop a cash flow forecast ahead of financing. Fair Food Fund also assisted UFF in establishing an advisory board.
Update:
UFF launched new branding for its kombuchas and ciders and opened a new, expanded tasting room.
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