Where Will Your Dollar Go?
To enter the world of food systems means nothing and everything. Ask a stranger on the sidewalk what they think the food system is and they may respond by talking about farmers, community gardens, or perhaps the restaurants that surround them in the neighborhood. Ask a food systems researcher and they may describe a complex web of relationships between those who grow, eat, buy, and distribute food. Food’s interdisciplinary nature makes it not only difficult to understand as a concept but quantify as a value to our communities. As a result, traditional lending institutions’ criteria for risk assessment may be at odds with what new food ventures have to offer. Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities aims to communicate this message and more through a collection of essays and reports compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The in-depth research and case studies about investing in local and regional food systems are broad enough to be approachable by the average foodie, but filled with enough detail to serve as assigned reading at the collegiate level, especially for courses in business, finance, and food systems. Through its chapters, the underlying theme of money and food allows the authors to convey a connection between seemingly contradictory stakeholders, such as community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and small restaurant owners.
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