Impact Investing in Food and Ag

Combining philanthropic and investment dollars is essential to creating a vibrant, just, and sustainable food system. SAFSF has been engaged with food system investment strategy building and peer networking for more than a decade. Here are just a few questions that SAFSF members are connecting on: 

  • What is the state of the food & ag impact investing field?
  • What are the key barriers to entry challenges that investors and businesses are facing?
  • Who is already making impact investments in food and agriculture and with what type of capital and deal structures?  
  • What is the role of grants in building a pipeline of investable, values-aligned projects?

SAFSF Farm and Food Systems Lenders and Investors Group

In response to ongoing member interest in engagement at the intersection of impact investing and sustainable agriculture and food systems, SAFSF launched the SAFSF Farm and Food Systems Lenders and Investors Group in August 2020. Over the course of a year, this group of 18 active active lenders and investors who have deployed, or are ready to deploy, funds is gathering to:

  • Share and sharpen their skills and strategies for investing in farm and food systems
  • Enjoy the fellowship and support of other investors in the sector
  • Share real-time responses to farm and food economy disruptions due to COVID-19.

The members of the 2020-21 Farm and Food Systems Lenders and Investors Group are:

  • Claude Arpels, Co-Chair, Slow Money NYC, New York
  • Zach Ducheneaux, Trustee, Northwest Area Foundation; Executive Director, Intertribal Ag Council/Akiptan CDFI, Montana
  • Jonah Fertig-Burd, Community and Food System Partner, Elmina B. Sewell Foundation, Maine
  • Kat Gilje, Executive Director, Ceres Trust, California
  • Janie Hipp, CEO, Native American Agriculture Fund, Arkansas
  • Jason Ingle, Co-founder, Managing Partner, Closed Loop Capital, Pennsylvania
  • Arani Kajenthira, Director, Impact Investments, Walton Enterprises, Arkansas
  • Craig Kelley, Managing Trustee, Lora and Martin Kelley Family Foundation, Oregon
  • Karla Miller, Program Director, Northwest Area Foundation, Minnesota
  • Donna Nuccio, Senior Director, Healthy Food Access and Structured Finance, The Reinvestment Fund, Pennsylvania
  • Katherine Pease, Chief Impact Strategist, Cornerstone Capital Group, Inc., Colorado
  • Lisa Sebesta, Founder, Sitari Capital, Massachusetts
  • Brian Snyder, Executive Director, InFACT (Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation), The Ohio State University, Ohio
  • Meredith Storton, Lending Manager, RSF Social Finance, California
  • Karen Swift, Board Member, Swift Foundation, California
  • Olivia Watkins, President, Black Farmer Fund, New York
  • Chuck Wolf, Walter S. Mander Foundation, Illinois
  • Trisha Yamato, Investment Associate, Ulupono Initiative, Hawaii

The group is facilitated by Rosalie Cates, a senior advisor at Philanthropy Northwest and The Giving Practice.