RSF Social Finance makes loan to NY farmshare for expansion

RSF Social Finance, a non-profit financial services organization providing capital to non-profit and for-profit social enterprises, announced today that it has made a loan to Corbin Hill Road Farm (CHRF) a distributor of New York-grown produce to under-served markets in the five boroughs of New York City.

Unexpected growth has accelerated CHRF’s plans for building staff and critical infrastructure.  The enterprise – which has to-date been funded by a combination of community members’ investments, a high-net-worth angel investment, and personally guaranteed bank loans – now requires additional capital to finance the near-term growth of the business.

Corbin Hill Road Farm, a Community Shareholder Farm, re-imagines the relationship among consumers, farmers, and investors by empowering shareholders to become active economic citizens. Each shareholder acts simultaneously as a consumer of healthy produce, a decision maker in the farm’s production, and an investor in the farm’s future.

By distributing fresh produce to overlooked markets in NYC, this new model of food production and consumption provides shareholders with a means of food sovereignty and economic empowerment, while contributing to the economy of rural New York counties.

“Corbin has created one of the first CSA models for low-income consumers that centers on community ownership,” says Taryn Goodman, Senior Manager of Impact Investing at RSF.  “This type of endeavor is fundamentally changing how our food system works and it is exactly the kind of effort that RSF is committed to supporting.”

The capital for this loan was provided by RSF’s Transformation Portfolio, which provides a platform for investors to convene as a learning group to co-create an investment portfolio.  Donor Advisors, seeking to generate an impact through investing rather than grantmaking, meet quarterly to decide, as a group, how to invest.

Located on 95-acres of prime farmland in Schoharie County (NY), CHRF produces a small quantity of vegetables for the Farm Share program as part of its summer farm internship program. Much of the produce CHRF buys and all of the produce grown is being grown organically but has not been certified as such, due to certification expense.  However, if 30% or more of a crop is threatened, chemicals are used to treat the plants.

CHRF participates in NOFA-NY‘s Farmer’s Pledge program, which reflects its commitment to responsible and sustainable farming practices.  Click here to learn more about the principles of the Pledge.

The farm is open to visitors by appointment only.

Participation in the Farm Share is done through purchasing a share of produce. A share is a set number of fruit and vegetable items. Shares come in different sizes to accommodate a variety of household produce needs. (Sizes and prices vary by season.)

Each week, CHRF designs the shares to include the best seasonal fruits and vegetables grown in New York State.  The contents of each share varies weekly based on which vegetables and fruits are in season. When you pick up your share, you should find a number of familiar items, as well as a few new things to try.  (Although they don’t customize individual shares, they do offer a “Swap Box” at each distribution site which provides Shareholders with the opportunity to exchange unwanted items for something that another Shareholder gave up.)

The Farm Share operates on a year-round basis, with two seasons: a Summer Farm Share (June-November) and Winter Farm Share (December-April). Click here for a chart of when certain produce items are available.

Located in San Francisco, CA, RSF Social Finance is a non-profit financial services organization dedicated to transforming the way the world works with money. Since 1984 the organization has made over $230 million in loans throughout the U.S. and Canada to non-profit and for-profit social enterprises working in the areas of Food & Agriculture, Education & the Arts, and Ecological Stewardship.

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