Agricultural loans

Many CDFIs are interested in supporting family farms. But traditional economic models have made the small farm an endangered species in the United States, and CDFIs are not interested in encouraging people to enter a business that is destined to fail. However, a new financial model for small farms is currently emerging.

In this model, called community-supported agriculture, a group of consumers form a membership group that contracts for the entire output of a single farm. The farmer then provides a weekly flow of produce to the members for as much of the year as possible, depending on local climate. The membership provides money in advance for planting and operations, and shares the farmer's risk of variations in weather and market prices.

In general, community-supported agriculture provides more produce at better prices for consumers, and offers financial stability for farmers. Members also have the chance to see where their food comes from, an added bonus for families with children. CDFIs provide financing for community-supported agriculture farms in many parts of the United States.

Real stories

The Food Bank Farm provides fresh produce for its members and for a local food bank.