Lenders and Investors Group

SAFSF Farm and Food Systems Lenders and Investors Group

In response to ongoing member interest in substantive engagement at the intersection of impact investing and sustainable agriculture and food systems, we are excited to invite registration for the SAFSF Farm and Food Systems Lenders and Investors Group.

Over the year, this cohort of investing practitioners will gather 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;
  • Respond in real time to farm and food economy disruptions due to COVID-19.

Cohort Focus

Our focus will be on real transactions in real places. We hope most participants will share a loan or investment, either completed or contemplated, for the group to “workshop.” This will expose all members to strategies and formats for sourcing deals, structuring investments, overcoming underwriting challenges, and building the capacity of borrowers when necessary. At the same time, the farm and food lenders and investors can build a network of mutual support and learning.

We anticipate a robust exploration of investing strategies, including ideas that respond to the forces that are rocking farms and food systems right now. What types of investments can help farms and food businesses grapple with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, including disruptions to production and supply chains and unequal access to capital by farmers and entrepreneurs of color? We may bring in outside speakers and experts as guests, and/or develop other topics, at the direction of the group.


We will convene this practitioner cohort for five 90-minute video meetings between August 2020 and March 2021. We plan to gather in person and present some of our learning at the SAFSF Forum in June 2021 in Washington, DC. The cohort will be facilitated by Rosalie Sheehy Cates, an experienced small business lender and frequent consultant to foundation investing programs.

Who Should Apply

This group is for active lenders and investors who have deployed, or are ready to deploy, funds. It is okay to be somewhat new to lending or investing, but the discussions will assume you are familiar with standard practices to source and underwrite transactions. We will ask that you present a transaction that you feel the group can learn from during one of the sessions. It should be either completed or under development with defined terms and substantial underwriting information available. Participation will be limited to approximately 15 participants.

Cost of Participation

SAFSF members: $1,650 
Nonmembers: $1,850

A deposit of $500 is required at the time of registration, with the balance due by July 15, 2020. If the cohort is cancelled by SAFSF, we will refund your full deposit. If you cancel by July 10, we will refund your deposit minus an administrative fee. In-person meeting expenses are each participant’s own responsibility.

The registration deadline is June 19.

About the Cohort Facilitator

ROSALIE SHEEHY CATES is a senior advisor at Philanthropy Northwest and The Giving Practice. She helps foundation investors learn about and adopt impact strategies. She is seasoned at developing policies and analyzing transactions. Rosalie facilitated the Cascadia Food Funders Partnership for many years and is currently delving into new models for investment committee work.