Investments in Regenerative Economies
Alongside the primary work of providing general operating support grants, Ceres Trust makes investments that reflect a vision holding ecosystems as sacred and foundational to all life, and the belief that right relationship between humans and the earth, and between one another as people, are tantamount to our ability to survive and flourish.
A community driven model building New Mexico’s small farming economy through sustainable and regenerative food justice.
The only existing Native CDFI intermediary offering financial products and development services exclusively to Native CDFIs and Native communities.
Investing in the prosperity of farmers and ranchers through lending, education, and access to land.
Creating a thriving, resilient, and equitable food system by investing in black food systems entrepreneurs and communities in New York.
Committed to the revival of ‘ulu to strengthen Hawai‘i’s food security and to the value of aloha ‘āina (love for the land) by using environmentally responsible growing and production methods.
Supporting Black farming communities through new models of regenerative farming, cooperative ownership and access to new markets.
A coalition of Black-led organizations aimed at developing Black leadership, supporting Black communities, organizing Black self-determination, and building institutions for Black food sovereignty & liberation.
A national network of locally rooted, non-extractive loan funds that brings the power of big finance under community control.
A nonprofit organization serving the Sicangu Lakota Oyate, working to transform broken systems so that they are community-driven and grounded in our Lakota values.
Iroquois Valley has independently issued promissory notes since 2014 to offer investors a fixed-income security that supports organic farmers.
Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural has served as a voice of African-American, American Indian, Asian-American, Euro-American and Latino farmers, farmworkers, and rural communities in the US, as well as indigenous and campesino groups in Mexico and beyond for 40 years.
Ceres Trust investment strategy and practice are guided by the following questions and aspirations, acknowledging that our practice and investments exist across a spectrum of alignment with these priorities. We are continually learning, and invite feedback and dialogue to strengthen practice and possibility for transformative investments.
- Does the investment advance the mission to support healthy and resilient farms, forests, and communities, and the ecosystems upon which we all depend?
- Does the investment acknowledge, tend to, and undermine the intertwined root causes of harm: dehumanization, economic inequality, and ecological catastrophe.
- Are those most harmed by extractive systems at the center of the solution? Is the investment responding to a movement or field need?
Priorities for Ceres Trust Aligned Investment Portfolio:
- Support for a Just Transition in communities that have been on the front lines of extractive, industrial agriculture and other industries.
- Community leadership in determining needs and finance strategies for a transition to regenerative economies in rural places.
- Soil health building investments that are non–extractive.
- The dire need to expand access to capital for organic small scale farmers in general; especially those who have been historically underserved or intentionally disenfranchised, including African American farmers, Indigenous people, and farmworker/Indigenous/Latinx farmers.
- Creative strategies to redistribute and secure access to land (stewardship) and return or facilitate ownership/stewardship of land by those with the values, commitment, persistence, knowledge to right the relationship to the land, follow the lead of the land and her people, persist through reactionary assault.
In addition, we have learned from movement partners that:
- Place matters, and the most responsive and transformative investments will likely work in regions Ceres Trust already has relationships and does general grantmaking.
- Relationships matter: these investments succeed when both partners/all parties succeed. Relationships that allow creative strategizing and support across the traditional lines of “lender” and “borrower” are essential. Learning how to create non–extractive financial partnerships is essential.
- The approach and culture of relationship with the land is essential to interrogate with potential investment partners to ensure they align with Ceres Trust.
Ceres Trust’s aligned investment approach and strategy was developed with leadership from Anthony Chang, Kitchen Table Advisors, in consultation with many people, including:
Movement and field partners:
- A-dae Romero-Briones, First Nations Development Institute
- Chrystel Cornelius, OWEESTA
- Brendan Martin and Marnie Thompson, Seed Commons
- Eduardo Rivera, Sin Fronteras Farm
- Pakou Hang, Hmong American Farmers Association
- Tamara Jones, SAAFON
- Tim Lampkin & Leonette Henderson, Higher Purpose
- Edna Rodriguez & Tahz James, RAFI
- David Mancera, Kitchen Table Advisors
- Mai Nguyen, Minnow
- Reggie Knox, California FarmLink
- Helga Garza, Agricultura Network
- Larisa Jacobson, Soul Fire Farm
- Qiana Mickie, Just Food
Investment partners and/or connectors:
- Esther Park, Cienega Capital and No Regrets Initiative
- Leslie Christian, Northstar Asset Management
- Tiffany Brown, Chordata Capital
- Konda Mason, Jubilee Justice;
- Lynne Hoey, Candide Group
Key learning gatherings:
- HEAL Food Alliance Summit in Albuquerque May 2019
- Carbon Sink Farming Convergence in San Diego November 2019
- Equitable Food & Farm Financing in Little Rock, AR November 2019
- CA Farmers of Color convening in Paicines, CA in December 2019
- Justice Funders Maestra Program participants, State of the Movement 2020 preparations