4.5: Financing the Food System Add to Collection

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Slow Money National Gathering in Boulder brings together food system funders. Photo: Janice St. Onge

While a wide variety of financing options are available to assist with the capital needs of Vermont’s startup, growth stage, and mature food system enterprises, navigating through the multitude of financing options can be overwhelming. Many businesses don’t know where to begin looking for financing or how to find the funding that best matches their current stage of growth, scale of operation, and market outlets. For example, where can a new farmer find the start-up capital needed to purchase land, or equipment? Where can a farmer looking to expand into agritourism activities find funding? When does equity financing make sense?

This Section highlights financing options for food system businesses in Vermont, provides a comprehensive inventory of different types of capital providers in the region, and also identifies resources available to help navigate and select from the many options.



Search the Atlas: Find financing sources, including grants, loans, royalty financing, and incentives. -Show Categories


Resources

Long Trail Brewery
Photo: Vermont Brewers Association

Craft beer industry growth

Written by Celia Riechel Maple syrup and outdoor adventure may have put Vermont on the map, but increasingly, breweries are showcasing the best of the Green Mountain State. Vermont is at the forefront of a nationwide growth trend in the craft beer industry, ranking 1st in number of breweries and production…

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Meat processing in Vermont
Photo: Over the Hill Farm

Gathering the Herd

Gathering the Herd: A Vermont Meat Processing Case Study captures lessons learned over a three year period from the Farm to Plate Meat Processing Task Force through interviews conducted by Carrie Abels with members of the task force and industry leaders. The Meat Processing Task Force within the Farm to Plate…

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Rooted in Vermont

What is Rooted in Vermont? Rooted in Vermont is a grassroots movement to increase consumer demand for local food. Rooted in Vermont is shifting the local food narrative on social media and in Vermont communities to be inclusive of the many ways Vermonters enjoy and acquire local food. Traditions like gardening,…

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Retail training to boost local food sales

Take 5 is a series of 12 local food sourcing and merchandising training videos for Vermont retail stores to help increase local food sales. The Farm to Plate Independent Grocers Task Force launched the Take 5 series of five-seven minute training videos for convenience, general, grocery and other retail stores…

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Greenhouses at new Mighty Food Farm location in Shaftsbury
Photo: Mighty Food Farm

Mighty Food Farm Finds New Home in Shaftsbury

Written by Nadine Berrini In 2006, Lisa MacDougall and a business partner started Mighty Food Farm on five leased acres in Pownal with a 1953 Ford Golden Jubilee and an old Troy-Bilt rototiller. She now has 200+ members in her year-round CSA and 10 employees. Lisa spent six years searching for…

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Energy efficient maple production at Scrag Mountain Sugar House
Photo: Efficiency Vermont

Saving Time, Energy & Money in Maple Industry

Written by Liz Gamache Each spring, many Vermont sugar makers are already looking ahead to producing the next year’s crop and they may be considering what equipment upgrades they’ll need to save time, energy, and money next season. With over 1500 maple sugar makers in the state, Vermont is the largest producer…

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Berry picking is a low cost way to bulk up on local food.
Photo: Rooted in Vermont

Low Cost Local Food

Vermonters enjoy local food and beverages in a variety of ways—growing or foraging their own, purchasing directly from a farmer or at the store, hunting or fishing, eating at schools and institutions serving local food, finding food from a community food shelf or the Vermont Foodbank, or just by trading…

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Melanie and Jeff Carpenter of Zack Woods Herb Farm
Photo: Vermont Farm Fund

Herb Production Ramps Up

Written by Kate Stephenson Zack Woods Herb Farm grows a wide variety of medicinal herbs sold as dried herbs, live plants and fresh herbs. Based in Hyde Park, their products are all certified organically grown or ethically wild-harvested on the farm. After 16 years in business, Jeff and Melanie Carpenter recently authored…

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Food preparation skills are developed through cooking for Meals on Wheels in the Cornucopia program in the NEK.
Photo: NEK Food System Plan

Food Justice on the Menu in the NEK

Written by Taylar Foster The Northeast Kingdom Food System Plan was re-released in December of 2016, marking a substantive update to Vermont’s only regional food system plan. The Center for an Agricultural Economy, the Northeastern Vermont Development Association, and a steering committee composed of Northeast Kingdom cross industry experts and social…

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Vermonters find purchasing season products direct from farm stands to be a good value.
Photo: Rooted in Vermont

True Cost of Local Food

Written by Rachel Carter When choosing to purchase food, cost is often a deciding factor for consumers. Why buy a 12-ounce package of local bacon for $7.99 when you can get it for $4.98? Purchasing local food means you know where your food comes from, you’re buying food that is generally healthier,…

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Tom Stearns of High Mowing Seeds, Clean Yield's first direct local agricultural investment.
Photo: Delia Gillen

A Taste of Farm to Plate Investments

Written by Karin Chamberlain                                                          Clean Yield Asset Management clients aim to align their money with their values, and for many that means finding…

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CRAFT greenhouse learning session in Addison County
Photo: NOFA VT

Fostering New Farmers

Written by Maria Buteux Reade A group of farmers gather in a pasture and stare intently at a young man struggling to push a long probe deep into the ground. He shakes his head sheepishly and hands off the penetrometer to the next volunteer. No luck for her either. The…

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Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, Vermont
Photo: Efficiency Vermont

Vermont brewers save money

Written by Tim Perrin Beer matters in Vermont. Not only do we have more breweries per capita than any other state, we also consume 25 percent more beer than national average per capita. That’s not surprising -- if everyone else’s beer was as good as Vermont’s, they’d drink more of it…

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Des Marais Farm wetlands in Brandon
Photo: Vermont NRCS

Spotlight on Wetlands in Vermont’s Otter Creek Watershed

Written By Amy Overstreet  Here in Vermont, wetlands help filter polluted runoff that could otherwise carry chemicals and bacteria into Lake Champlain and other waterbodies. But, half of the world's wetlands have disappeared since 1900. Development continues to pose threats to wetlands, even though their value and importance are obvious. Here in…

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Cobb Hill Frozen Yogurt owner partner Jeannine Kilbride
Photo: Cobb Hill Frozen Yogurt

Frozen Yogurt Speeds Up with Slow Money

Written by Rachel Carter Published in Small Farm Quarterly Creamy farmstead frozen yogurt in vanilla, chocolate, maple, and coffee flavors is pumped into 300 Cobb HillFrozen Yogurt pints a week—a number that has more than doubled from this time last year. “A year ago, it took us three production days to do what we…

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Workers at Black River Meats (Springfield)
Photo: Black River Meats

Building Brands in Small Farm Food System

Written by Mark Cannella Published in Vermont's Local Banquet Small farms in Vermont contribute tremendous value to our evolving food system by being nimble enough to respond to shifting consumer demand quickly. Small farms have pioneered niche products, such as multi-variety mesclun mixes and hybrid CSA memberships. They are engaged in cutting-edge production…

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Happy consumer at Nea-Tocht Farm during last year's Breakfast on the Farm
Photo: UVM Extension

Changing Consumer Local Food Perceptions

Written by Julie Smith, UVM Extension, Animal and Veterinary Sciences and Ted Ferris, MSU Extension, Animal Science The first Vermont Breakfast on the Farm event gave consumers and farm neighbors a first-hand look at modern food production. Hosted by Nea-Tocht Farm in Ferrisburgh in August 2015, the event was organized and…

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Grinding Masa! All Souls Tortilleria packaged tortillas are now available at City Market in Burlington VT
Photo: All Souls Tortilleria

Tortillas with Soul

Written by Sarah Bhimani, City Market, Onion River Co-op City Market, a community-owned food co-op in Burlington, VT, has a list of Global Ends that guides their business and all that they do. One of their Global Ends is “strengthening the local food system,” which is met through a myriad of…

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Farmer Jack Lazor and UVM Extension agronomists Sid Bosworth and Heather Darby discuss results of a small grains research trial with funding from NE-SARE.
Photo: NE-SARE

Funding VT Food System Research

Written by Debra Heleba, University of Vermont Extension Research and outreach activities are crucial to building our collective knowledge about the food system and moving it forward to meet our Farm to Plate goals for 2020 and beyond. However, funding these activities can be challenging; while a number of local, state,…

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A loan is helping kickstart Rob Rock’s agriculture machinery and fabrication business, a bonus for Vermont farmers in need of his custom farm equipment and metal-working services.
Photo: Farm Fund

Five Years of Funding Farms

Written by Caitlin Gildrien Published in Vermont's Local Banquet Early on a January morning in 2011, Pete Johnson of Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury heard a funny noise. When he looked out his window, he saw his barn engulfed in flames. The building and all of the equipment and product inside was in…

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Montpelier's farmers' market.
Photo: Rachel Carter

Market Trends

Written by Caroline Abels Published in Vermont's Local Banquet Over the past 10 years farmers’ markets in Vermont have burst forth like a backyard garden in July. Currently there are 63 markets in the Vermont Farmers’ Market Association, and a dozen or so that aren’t members. But every now and then you…

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The work crew at Chappelle's Potatoes.
Photo: CAE.

Vermont Veggies Find New Markets

Written by Alissa Matthews and Sarah Waring Vermont's Local Banquet There’s no vegetable more basic than a potato. This humble, tuberous root crop, Solanum tuberosum, grows in the dark, hidden from view most of the year, and emerges late when the air is frosty. It’s not as exciting as kale, not as…

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Understanding the Vermont Food Consumer

In 2014 Farm to Plate’s Consumer Education and Marketing Working Group conducted a target audience analysis to identify and map customers and potential customers of Vermont’s food products. Spearheaded by co-chairs Beth Cullen of Root Consulting and Chris Howell of Vermont Farm Tours, the “Understanding Vermont’s Food Consumer” project is…

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Technical assistance providers on a tour of Misty Knoll Farm.
Photo: VHCB/Farm Viability.

Vermont Farm Viability Program

Perhaps long ago, in a simpler world, farmers needed only tools, the support of helping hands, a market for their products, and advice from their neighbors to successfully grow vegetables and raise animals. But farmers today need a lot more than that. Complex equipment, well-designed facilities, marketing skills, and a…

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