If one is to be ultimately successful in creating viable alternatives to the worrisome status quo – for example in agriculture and energy – don’t forget to pay attention to essential access to capital.
Fortunately for all,we have some real heros and leaders who are showing us the way.
By next Spring – after five years of steady and incredibly hard work – the pioneering Maine Harvest Credit Union will be up and running and serving Maine’s organic community. Please take the time to watch this EXCELLENT AND INSPIRING VIDEO (3:53) about how Maine Harvest will soon meet the unmet capital needs of family farmers in Maine. https://vimeo.com/203290783.
Meanwhile, Colorado is on a similar path with the new Clean Energy Credit Union – this one aimed at residential-scale solar installation credit needs.
Despite these dark times, here are uplifting examples of perseverance paying off and good things happening. Jim & Megan
“Seventeen years ago, Aaron Bell returned home after finishing college to work the land at his family’s farm in eastern Maine. Wanting to move the property in a more ecologically friendly direction, he and his wife, Carly DelSignore, successfully converted Tide Mill Organic Farm to organic, locally sourced production. Today they grow vegetables and raise dairy cows, pigs, and chickens on 1,600 acres perched along Maine’s rocky coast. But when Bell, an eighth-generation farmer, applied for loans to expand the business, several banks turned him down. ‘Most traditional lenders were not interested in collateral that involved live animals or farm equipment,’ he says.
“There’s a financing gap for small farms,” says Scott Budde, a Portland, Maine-based impact investment specialist. ‘As agriculture has become bigger and more corporate in the United States, the financing structures have gone along with it.’ Existing agricultural lenders, such as the US Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Farm Credit Administration network, are tailored more toward large-scale, commercial farms. Although Bell has had some success getting loans from the FSA, he says that the agency is often unfamiliar with the financial needs of small farms, including the flexible financing structures that he believes are critical to go up against the factory food system.'”