We have determined a set of shared impact goals through which we filter investment opportunities: Health, Social Equity, Family Wage Job Creation and Preservation, Rural Community Resilience, and Ability to Influence Policy. These impact goals often overlap and blend; for instance, an enterprise that offers higher wages and better working conditions for a rural farmworker while growing wholesome fruits and vegetables could improve measures of health, social equity, and resilience of a rural community. However, for the purpose of description we define each impact area as more or less distinct.
We will use the impact area descriptions and screening questions below to determine the appropriate fit of potential investments. An enterprise need only address one area and one screen for consideration. However, preference will be given to those that positively impact more than one area or screen.
Improve the environment, individual and collective health of communities and their residents by increasing the production and consumption of healthy, sustainably-grown food. On the production side, promote sustainable growing practices that have positive impacts on the environment, workers, students and their communities. On the consumption side, promote nutrient dense foods that are beneficial to health as part of a balanced diet, and potentially displace less-healthy alternatives.
- Screen 1: Does the enterprise produce or sell healthy food? Does the product match the Dietary Guidelines for America?
- Screen 2: Does the enterprise benefit the personal health of the consumer, the worker, or both?
- Screen 3: Was the food produced in a sustainable manner?
- Screen 4: Does the enterprise improve community health?
Reduce disparities and support communities where everyone has equal opportunity to lead productive lives. In the context of the food system, this is further defined as increasing access to healthy foods for underserved families and communities while trying to support food and farm businesses that provide family wages.
- Screen 1: Are these enterprises providing food products or services in underserved communities?
- Screen 2: Does the enterprise provide family wage jobs? Are employees treated fairly?
- Screen 3: Is the business owned by a woman or minority?
- Screen 4: Is it located in a low-income area of the county?
Family Wage Job Creation and Preservation
Support incremental job creation that can stabilize families and their communities, and that provide buffers to fluctuations in the national and global marketplaces. Social enterprises that increase jobs along a values-based supply chain are the preferred mechanism of job growth.
- Screen 1: Will an investment in this enterprise create or preserve family wage jobs? How many, and what type of jobs?
- Screen 2: Does revenue from the business stay in the local economy? Where is the enterprise incorporated?
- Screen 3: Are the suppliers, workers, and customers of the company part of the commodity supply chain, or part of a values-based supply chain?
Rural Community Resilience
Invest in the ability of rural communities and their residents to maintain responsible stewardship of the land, while providing opportunities to determine their own future (as opposed to constrained by a single crop, corporation, industry or market). This is further defined by the ability of a rural community to develop sustainably-grown food products that feed their residents as well as urban centers while not being subject to fluxes of the commodity markets.
- Screen 1: Does this enterprise operate in a rural community? Is it a Rural Empowerment Zone?
- Screen 2: Does this enterprise increase the number and diversity of economic opportunities for rural residents? Does it increase the number of markets for agricultural production?
- Screen 3: Does this enterprise support more secure land tenure for farmers? Does it increase acres under cultivation? Does it maintain or improve soil fertility?
- Does this enterprise improve the ability for a rural community to take care of itself and prosper through the production and consumption of healthy food?
Ability to Influence Policy
Some enterprises and investments can serve as examples and political narratives to align local, state, or federal policies in support of a healthy and equitable regional food economy.
- Screen 1: Will the growth and success of this business build momentum and political influence around more sustainable and equity policy shifts?
- Screen 2: Are there particular policies that inhibit the success of certain types of healthy food enterprises (e.g. procurement policies) that we can highlight through our investment in this enterprise?
- Screen 3: Are there recent shifts in policy at the state, federal or local level that this enterprise can use to grow? Will the success of this enterprise illustrate policy gains in recent years?
- Screen 4: Are there high profile businesses that can help draw elected officials attention to the connections between the regional food system and our impact areas?