The Food & Finance report presents the findings of research into how small-scale food businesses and community food enterprises have secured funding to support their work. It also presents a summary of interviews with representatives from a range of lenders and funding organisations, and their views on challenges particular to the small-scale food sector.
Making Local Food Work
978-1-903060-53-7 - 82pp - 2013
The Food & Finance report presents the findings of research into how small-scale food businesses and community food enterprises have secured funding to support their work.
It also presents a summary of interviews with representatives from a range of lenders and funding organisations, and their views on challenges particular to the small-scale food sector.
Our research shows that small-scale food enterprises have so far often been partly or heavily dependent on grant funding, from a range of government and charitable sources. But a shrinking pot of grant money, and growing political antipathy to provision of money by government, means that a looming ‘funding gap’ is forcing these organisations to think more creatively about the way they fund themselves, and how they can reach a situation where they are operating on a more financially viable basis. This raises many questions for community food enterprises in terms of the future source of money for start-up finance, capital equipment, and investment to grow. This is especially challenging for social enterprises, co-operatives and small-scale food businesses seeking to address social and environmental issues through food.
Due to low or slow profitability, and few assets against which to secure loans, such enterprises may be ill-suited to loans from mainstream commercial banks. Progressive lending and community finance, and continuation of grant funding, are therefore important considerations.
The key findings of our research were as follows:
This report forms part of a wider research project on Sustainable Food Finance, commissioned by Sustain in 2012, aiming to make recommendations for how small-scale food enterprises, and funders, should develop their work to support the vitality of the community food sector.
The report was developed and published as part of the Big Lottery Making Local Food Work programme.
How we undertook the research
Sources of finance
Views from the finance community
The case studies
Appendix 1: Table of case studies by turnover and method of finance
Appendix 2: Useful sources of information
Other Sustain publications for local food enterprises
Making Local Food Work aimed to reconnect people and land through local food by increasing access to fresh, healthy, local food with clear, traceable origins.
56 - 64 Leonard Street
Projects & campaigns
Better Hospital Food
Children's Health Fund
Children's Food Campaign
Food and Farming Policy
Food co-ops toolkit
Good Food For London
London Food Link
Planning Food Cities
Real Bread Campaign
Roots to work
Save Our Antibiotics
Sugar Smart UK
Sustainable Fish Cities
Sustainable Food Cities
The Big Dig
Urban Food Fortnight