Impact Investing in Food Systems
Interest in investing in agricultural and food systems projects is expanding beyond the venture capital community to include impact investors who share a mission to regenerate the country’s food system. Some examples of projects are: helping ranchers and farmers in converting to organic and sustainable practices and connecting small farms to communities that have little or no access to fresh food sources.
It’s been affirmed as a trend: A recent survey from the Global Impact Investing Network’s (GIIN’s) shows that 63 percent of impact investors said they were investing in food and agriculture, and that impact investment in this sector has grown at an annual rate of 32.5 percent since 2013.
Some experts worry that investing for profit in the agriculture space comes with risks, hypothesizing that decisions driven by profit could lead to disruptions in the natural flow of land and the earth. Others, however, see access to capital as being the key to overcoming obstacles and creating a good food system. “The biggest bottleneck in a good food system is not entrepreneurs, it’s access to capital,” says Eric Kessler, the founder of Arabella Advisors, an MIE affiliate member that focuses on the food system as one of its top three funding priorities.
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