Growing Power’s commercial agriculture (urban and rural) programs aim to train individuals to begin their own business enterprise. Participants gain support in capital and land access, business plan development, training in urban agriculture methods and techniques that Growing Power has developed, and on-going mentoring as emerging farmers create innovative business models to increase fresh food access through the city. The goal of this initiative is to support emerging farmers and provide long term sustainability for the urban agriculture industry in Chicago and nationally for applicants from the CUA (Commercial Urban Agriculture) program by making available small loans that can activate a farm operation.
Urban agriculture contributes nutritious, flavorful food to communities through year-round local food production. The ability to produce and distribute food throughout local neighborhoods is important as the demand for nutritional, good-tasting food continues to grow throughout the country. It is crucial that this healthy food be available to individuals and families in all neighborhoods.
This micro-loan fund was seeded by an anonymous family foundation and serves as a resource to support emerging urban and rural sustainable farming projects. Micro- loans are designed for short term cash flow to purchase seeds, equipment or for other projects deemed necessary by the farmer.
Eligible applicants may apply for up to $2,500.00 for a general request and larger sums by special request. Smaller loan requests will receive priority and applicants who have repaid loans successfully will be given priority for larger loan requests. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of Growing Power advisors and board members.
Terms: 5% interest on the total loan. For example: $1,000 loan will have a $50.00 interest repayment. All loans will need to be repaid in full within a 12-month period. Interest will be used to increase the loan fund and to continue to expand the program.
Applications will be reviewed monthly, the first Monday of each month.