Sunday, April 27, 2008

Invest Green - New Program for Organic and Sustainable Farmers

Looking for a new route to green your venture capitalism? Consider this.
Robert Karp, former director of Practical Farmers of Iowa, is launching a new program to help farmers committed to organic and sustainable agriculture start, maintain and grow their operations by linking them with socially motivated investors who will purchase the farmland they need and lease it to them on long-term, renewable leases with an option to buy. Mission: Promote organic and sustainable farming operations through investing What: A program designed for experienced organic and sustainable farmers who need additional land or need help maintaining their existing land base. I will help farmers who meet the criteria link up with a socially motivated investor who will purchase the farmland needed and lease it to the farmer on a long-term (up to fifteen-year), renewable lease. The lease will include an option to buy at a fair market value if the investor ever wants to sell the land. A conservation easement may also be put on the land to prevent non-farm development. The program is being piloted in 2008 through this Call for Pre-Applications. Who: Farmers may apply who can demonstrate a commitment to the core principles of organic/sustainable agriculture, have stable markets, and have been in business at least five years. Farmers should be able to offer, at minimum, a starting rental rate that is 4% of the land cost. (See detailed farmer criteria under #‘s 2 and 3 below). Where: The Call for Pre-Applications is being widely distributed in six states: Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. When: Read carefully the document below and send in a short letter as soon as possible, but no later than June 15, 2008, describing your farm and the investment you are proposing. New Spirit Ventures.pdf For more information for farmers and investors contact: Robert Karp New Spirit Ventures, LLC W2811 Friemoth Road East Troy, WI 53120 414-477-1170 Bio: Robert Karp Robert Karp has been a social entrepreneur in the local food movement for over fifteen years. He has helped start community supported agriculture projects (CSA’s), farmers’ markets, institutional buying projects and farmer-buyer-consumer cooperatives. He has led many educational efforts focused on helping farmers and wholesale food buyers build relationships and helped start the “Buy Fresh, Buy Local” marketing campaign which now has chapters in over 25 states. Robert accomplished much of this while working for a non-profit farm organization called Practical Farmers of Iowa, where he served as Executive Director from 2001 to 2006. Originally from Janesville, Robert currently lives in Milwaukee and works on a freelance basis with a wide array of community-based organizations and businesses that are working to create a new future for the food system. ******* More for Opportunities for Farmers: Beginning Farmer Programs Local Producer Loan Program - Through the Local Producer Loan Program, Whole Foods Market makes $10 million available annually for low interest loans to small local producers. Eligible products include agricultural crops, value-added food products, and other all-natural grocery items. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Visit their site for specific information. More about CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) Buzz it up

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