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