Reweaving the Economic Fabric to Support Sustainable Farms and Ag-based Businesses

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2014: $199,634.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2017
Grant Recipient: Renewing the Countryside
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Coordinator:
Jan Joannides
Renewing the Countryside

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: decision support system, networking, participatory research, technical assistance, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: agricultural finance, business planning, financial management, risk management, accessing financing
  • Sustainable Communities: community development, local and regional food systems, new business opportunities, partnerships, public participation, social capital, social networks, developing ways for people to invest in sustainable farming and food systems

    Proposal abstract:

    Through our project, titled “Reweaving the Economic Fabric to Support Sustainable Farms and Ag-based Businesses,” we will develop a community-based, Slow Money-style financing mechanism that will infuse needed capital into sustainable farms and ag-related businesses. At the same time, we will develop pathways for individuals and businesses to invest in their local food and farming systems. Through interviews and dialogues with sustainable farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs, we have learned that a key factor that limits their growth is the difficulties they have in accessing needed financing. This is especially true for small-scale and limited resource farmers and entrepreneurs. Our approach will be to draw on the expertise of a wide array of professionals—from farmers to financial managers, who will help us design workable mechanisms. We will also incorporate the expertise and experience of organizations across the country who have successful track records in developing and managing creative financing solutions.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    By the end of this grant, twelve sustainable farms and ag-based businesses will have accessed financing made available through this initiative. Over $200,000 will have been invested by 80 individuals and businesses who want to help grow a stronger food system. Over 1,000 people will have learned about opportunities to invest their money closer to home and in ways that support sustainable farms and fair food systems. Over 150 farmers will have learned how to better navigate the many financing options available.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.