Food serves as a foundation for neighborhoods, towns, and cities of all sizes - as a building block of local economies, and as a determinant of human and environmental health, as a medium of cultural expression, as a feature of the physical landscape. It can also act as a catalyst in places where there is great potential yet to be realized, where new investment is welcomed for new or continued progress. Although there has been hesitation in years past to direct financing to food businesses or food-related projects, the opportunity to rebuild local and regional food systems for the wellbeing of communities exists throughout the country.
This paper continues a white paper series demonstrating the ways in which traditional development financing is already supporting food systems, with a focus on finance tools that help to stimulate investment. An overview of this category of tools is provided, with examples of current programs as well as an extensive collection of case studies to illustrate how these tools can make an impact.