We provide financial stewardship to local farms and food enterprises in two ways:
1) OUR SOIL FUND
Here's how it works:
Virginia Foodshed Capital pools charitable contributions from citizens and foundations that want to make an impact on their local food system.
We then make 0% interest loans to community farmers and local food enterprises.
Loan funds circulate. So when a loan is paid back, it goes back into our fund for future loans!
Loans are selected based on applicant's potential to make a positive impact on our local food economy and their ability to meet a set of criteria established by our board of directors.
Donors to our SOIL fund are included in the loan making process. They receive summaries of the loans before they are made and are included in other optional activities such as farm visits and special events.
2) BUSINESS CONSULTATION
Supporting our borrowing partners with technical support is essential to building a strong local food economy.
It starts by developing a face-to-face relationship. Once a loan application is made, a representative from Virginia Foodshed Capital visits the applicant’s farm or business and begins the consultation process. We talk to applicants about the best way to potentially use funds from a SOIL loan, or even if borrowing money is the right thing for them in the first place.
If a loan is made, we stay in continual contact with the borrower, assisting them in any way we can to ensure the success of their business and the repayment of the loan.
We want our partners to thrive. Sometimes this means working with them on the repayment schedule if they are having trouble meeting the timetable. This often involves strategic or financial planning to position the farm or business to better achieve its desired outcome.
Our consultation services are also offered to all small/mid-scale farms and food enterprises in the region, even if they’re not borrowing funds. We partner with experts who have a particular expertise. Since farmers like to learn from other farmers, we strive to find experts who are either farmers themselves, or understand the business of farming.
We offer our training and educational services as stand alone workshops or in collaboration with other organizations working in the field of food and agriculture.