Sustainable Agriculture

Healthy Food Systems

Vibrant Communities

Brightseed Strategies helps people and organizations access capital and community resources, cultivate their own power to transform the way they work, and build economically vibrant, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable food systems that benefit agricultural producers, healthy food enterprises, and consumers.

Scores of Food Hubs Funded through USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

The USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which is administered by state departments of agriculture, funds some of the most innovative local farm and food market chain projects in the U.S. This year, the program made 694 grants across the country to assist producers of fresh fruits and vegetables and help strengthen markets for specialty crops […]

Read the full article → October 8, 2013

Raising Dough – new book explains how to finance small food enterprises

Raising Dough, by Elizabeth U, is an excellent primer for anyone considering starting a small, socially responsible food enterprise (or expanding an existing one). Published in June, 2013, the book goes over how to prepare for seeking capital, and outlines sources of both conventional and non-conventional capital. Food entrepreneurs will find the information in the […]

Read the full article → October 4, 2013

FY2014 Farm-to-School Grant Program RFP Released!

There is a $5 million pot. Grants will range from $20-100K, and there is a 25% match requirement. Deadline is April 24, 2013 at midnight EST. Make sure your are registered with and have your DUNS and SAM numbers (these things are simple to do, and are outlined in the RFP pg. 33/72 BUT you do have to […]

Read the full article → February 7, 2013

Nine-Month Farm Bill Extension — a Challenge for Local Food Systems

Did you know that a nine-month extension was tacked onto the Fiscal Cliff vote in Congress on New Year’s Day? Unfortunately, it is bad news for those of us who care about building local food systems. According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, this extension effectively robs $486.95 million in 2013 funding from the federal […]

Read the full article → January 4, 2013

2013 Funding Round for CDFI Program Now Open

The 2013 round of funding for the CDFI Program, including $23 million for the Healthy Food Finance Initiative (HFFI) Program, was announced by the CDFI Fund on December 21, 2012. The deadline for applications is February 28, 2013. The CDFI Fund also announced that, for this round of funding, the HFFI will serve as a […]

Read the full article → December 21, 2012

MaineStream Finance CDFI Starts a New Healthy Food Options Program!

This small CDFI located in Bangor, Maine provides credit, financial services and other services to underserved populations living in Penobscot, Piscataquis and Knox counties. This new program is targeted to growers, producers and small retailers of local, healthy foods and provides business loans of up to $50,000 for coolers, storage, equipment, retail displays and expansion costs as well […]

Read the full article → November 21, 2012

$4.5 Million Granted to 68 Farm-to-School Projects in 37 States

According to the USDA, this funding includes many business-focused, entrepreneurial initiatives, including: Twenty-five programs that create jobs by hiring new farm to school coordinators, with 43 projects supporting and maintaining existing staff. Thirty-one programs that use food hubs, or partner with mainline distributors. Forty-four projects that will result in development of new products and menu […]

Read the full article → November 16, 2012

Healthy Food Finance Initiatives: Identifying Partners and Convening Stakeholders

I wrote this guide with The Food Trust ( as a nuts and bolts handbook to identifying partners and convening stakeholders around the development of new healthy food finance initiatives. This material was developed for CDFIs, many of whom had little or no reference point for food systems. It is accessible to multiple audiences. Although focused topically on […]

Read the full article → October 24, 2012

Report “Bridging the Gap: Funding and Social Equity Across the Food System Supply Chain”

This 2012 Rockefeller Foundation report is research based and insightful. Worth a close read if you are interested in strategic capital solutions to the development of sustainable food systems. If you don’t have time for that, read this sample grab from Pages 33-34 on the need for layering diverse types of investment capital and the importance […]

Read the full article → October 24, 2012

The Community Food Projects Grant Program: Maximize Your Chance of Success in 2013

USDA Community Food Project (CFP) grants go to nonprofit organizations to help them develop local solutions to food access and hunger problems. The RFP for the 2013 round of Community Food Projects grants was released on October 15th. Applications are due on November 28th. There is $5 million available, and there will likely be between […]

Read the full article → October 18, 2012