Over the past ten years, the Vermont Farm Fund, a non-profit revolving loan fund, has made over 2 million dollars in loans to Vermont farmers and food producers to help build the local agricultural economy.
Originally founded by Pete’s Greens and the Center for an Agricultural Economy in 2011 in response to Tropical Storm Irene, the Vermont Farm Fund has grown to provide not only emergency loans to farmers who have experienced a fire, flood or storm, but also to help food-related businesses grow and expand.
This month the Farm Fund celebrated its two million-dollar milestone after making a $30,000 loan to the Three Cow Creamery in Corinth. To date, the Fund has lent out $2,012,445 in 116 individual loans. The funding for these low-interest loans comes from individual donors and family foundations, and each tax-deductible gift supports a virtuous cycle, where payments from one generation of loans finances the next. Funds are lent to a farm or food business, repaid, and loaned out again and again.
So far in 2021 the Vermont Farm Fund has made six loans to a diverse group of farms and food producers from across the state, including Sweet Roots Farm (Charlotte), Wild Kid Farm (Hyde Park), Bear Roots Farm (Williamstown), Understory Farm (Bridport), XR Maple Farm (Arlington), and Three Cow Creamery (Corinth).
The funded projects included maple sugaring equipment, tractors, milk house construction, and farm stand improvements. Two of the loans helped small dairy farms recover from COVID-19 related market disruptions.
Jon Ramsay, Executive Director of the Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick, which runs the Vermont Farm Fund, said “The Vermont Farm Fund has supported numerous farms that support communities with access to great local food at a point in time when growth was critical to the sustainability of their business.”
The fund value has grown since its inception to over $725,000, allowing the VFF to distribute over $300,000 annually in low-interest loans to small farmers.
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