Financing ‘Food close by’ requires adaptation

The number, quality and impact of local food initiatives are growing steadily. The diversity of players is also increasing. That’s good news, but success does not come by itself. The return – socially, ecologically or financially-economically – is sometimes difficult to measure and varies from initiative to. The financing is tailor-made.

Reason why the knowledge platform Urban Agriculture Netherlands and the program DuurzaamDoor (RVO) funded closely during the webinar Food! to look for tried and new ideas and forms of financing. In short, a program full of practical examples, the launch of the platform ‘Food from Close’ on MAEX.nl and the presentation of the first Financial Impulse!

Due to the growing importance and popularity of local food initiatives, the demand for funding is also growing. ,, But ”, this is how an expert opens short food chains Jan-Willem van der Schans“Despite a growing pile of studies showing that food up close provides unprecedented well-being in the city, conversations with financiers often start at zero.” Jean Eigeman, Chairman of Urban Agriculture Holland to him. “With our knowledge platform, we want to gather and support everyone involved in food in and around the city. To make the city greener and add more quality both physically and socially. ” René Bruijns of the Sustainable Door program, new forms of financing should be considered with more investors.

Each development phase is characterized by a specific form of financing
Funding is an important success factor for local food initiatives. This emerges from the HalloBoer survey of success and failure factors for ‘Close to Food Initiatives’. Researcher Niels Tomsøn commissioned by Urban Agriculture Netherlands and Duurzaam Door to make an inventory of the importance and weight of different types of aid. Think of grants and donations, but also the dissemination of knowledge and labor or the use of land. What do you think? Financing is not a matter of simply handing over the euro. Each development phase of an initiative seems to thrive better under a particular type of funding or a combination thereof. This gives donors, money lending agencies or investors insight into the extent to which it fits with their goals and risk profile per. phase.

Funding for food initiatives therefore requires adaptation. There is a growing need for alternative financing instruments that match the economy of opinion. It was also apparent from the responses of a number of participants in the study. “Because”, Niels was asked, “What is a revenue model about? How to calculate social and ecological value and return? How does this fit into the world of accounting? ” The presenters showed that it is not always necessary. In addition to corporate clients, banks or the public sector, foundations, private individuals, foundations, housing associations, not to mention MAEX, can also invest their resources.

Private entrepreneurship connects profit and non-profit cash flows
With Greens in the Park, the initiator chose Wessel Tiessens deliberately in favor of a hybrid form of financing. He has begun to build a sustainable organizational and revenue model. “Commercial,” as he puts it, “not to make money, but to create a future-proof place. With a care kitchen garden and a restaurant serving organic vegetables, fruits and herbs. There are people who are worse off in the job market, and part of the profits from the restaurant flow back to the garden. “

An important condition for funding was to make the funding model transparent. Wessel did this on the basis of a ‘talking board’, a nice visualization of the cash flows. ,, You are a circle in a square world. Then invite people to the place, show them what you’re doing, let them light tiles. Also the councilor, also the banker. ” The realization of Greens in the Park took five years with an initial private investment of one tonne.

Sustainable European supply gives local food initiatives a long-term perspective
A wonderfully practical example of effective purchasing power is the ongoing European procurement process by the Judicial Institutions Agency (DJI). For a daily menu of 10,000 inmates, with a term of up to eight years, worth 250 million euros. Wolter van der Vlist, responsible for procurement policy and strategy, would prefer to start a farm at each prison. “But I can not sell that dream within DJI.” So he shared it in the tender terms. Applicants for the tender must demonstrate that they want to work with local food initiatives. In this way, small local food initiatives get long-term purchase guarantees, and thus financial security.

The Leisure Board is making major investments in a new agricultural and recreational area
The government also runs local food initiatives at Landgoed Rorik near Beverwijk. Project manager area development Mark Franssen illustrates how the Alkmaarder- en Uitgeestermeer Recreation Board (RAUM) has invested since 2007 to develop the 20-hectare property as a new agricultural and recreational model. This includes building the necessary infrastructure, financing the stakeholder participation process and ultimately the ‘Entrepreneur Wanted’ allocation process. Mark is clear in his message: “Ensure an appropriate zoning plan, adequate planning framework and natural support and an administrative lead.”

That this has been fulfilled for Rorik, let the entrepreneur Wouter Valkenier excited to know. The first entrepreneurs are already well underway. You can subscribe to local vegetable packages, there is camping and theater, a self-sufficient restaurant, but also an orchard and a food forest. Each entrepreneur is responsible for his own financing, whereby the municipality creates conditions with loans. They leased the land together on favorable terms.

Haag Wonen starts green investments to increase the quality of life in the city
Housing associations have long been wary of investments that are not directly related to home ownership. But here, too, initiatives are emerging. management consultant Gus Frenay van Haag Wonen paints a disturbing picture of the great social challenges that the post-war Bouwlust Vrederust district in The Hague faces. “We have a number of beautiful courtyards in the district of a total of approximately 37,000 m2. It is a huge untapped opportunity. ” His ambition is to give the inner gardens a green quality boost to improve the quality of life in the neighborhood. The housing association provides the land, provisionally finances small matters such as water supply, outdoor furniture and supervision and is looking for partners who want to participate in business and finance based on a common goal. A form that may also be of interest to other companies in the country.

MAEX platform ‘Food from Close’ launched!
Realizing local food initiatives requires great creativity and perseverance from the entrepreneurs, who were sometimes confronted with a lack of resources, knowledge or time. Silvia Oostwegel seeks to connect the system world with the living world with MAEX, the platform for social initiatives. Unlike the ‘footprint’ – the negative burden that your activities have on the world – she developed the ‘social handprint’. By using the recognizable benchmark for the SDGs, this maps the values ​​that initiatives contribute to society.

Since 13 October, thanks to the support of DuurzaamDoor, MAEX has offered everyone involved in food initiatives their own platform: ‘Food from close by’. When you register your initiative, your social impact is measured for free via Social Handprint. “And it provides immediate benefits,” says Silvia. “This makes the initiative’s signature extremely transparent to partners and financiers. After registration, you get access to donations of money – donations – knowledge and resources via MAEX Impulse and you become part of the knowledge community. ” There are now 178 food initiatives affiliated, but Silvia’s biggest wish is for the number to rise rapidly, preferably to 400 by the end of this year. ,, Not only to show in The Hague and to financiers how important this sector is, but also to attract new investors. The traditional financial products now are not going to help the development of local food initiatives fast enough. ”

Madskov Mariahoeve: winner of 1. MAEX Impulse Food from Nær
To get the ‘Food from Close’ platform to start burning, Jan Mosch of Food Forest Mariahoeve in The Hague the first MAEX Impulse for its food initiative. The initiative was named the winner because of the project’s unique social value, the central role played by the people who lead it and contributed to the well – being of the city. “We started this project to make the city healthier and to create a place where nature and people can grow. That piece of nature works, but to let people grow, we need more than just ourselves, “says Jan. Bureau Halt was the important partner that helped make the project possible. Together, they will put young people on a different path in life and connect them with the food they produce. “Urban volunteers are a very nice group, but we want to reach the people that you do not normally have or find difficult to reach.”

Towards an investment fund
At the end of the webinar, Jan Willem van der Schans emphasized that when looking at the examples that have been passed, an agenda-setting role for the government is possible within the redevelopment of inner cities (Greens in the Park), area development (Landgoed Rorik) . ) and public tender (DJI). Housing associations (Haag Wonen) also play a more active role. In addition, the webinar showed that there are several proven and new opportunities for financing. Jean Eigeman emphasized once again that it is not just about the euro, but also about knowledge impulses, research capacity and educational capacity.

However, it also made clear that the development of a financing method for mixed financing is still lacking. Think of donations – then influence donations and mutual funds – such as power investments and a Food for Close investment fund. Jean Eigeman from Urban Agriculture Netherlands, René Bruijns from DuurzaamDoor and Silvia Oostwegel from MAEX take up the challenge. They will further explore the possibilities for this.

See the webinar below.

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