Food System Businesses

Session overview

This session grounds attendees in the experiences of CDFI borrowers in food system businesses (farms, food processing, food transportation, grocery stores, farmers markets). How have these businesses been hit by the pandemic and unfolding economic crisis? How have they fared so far, and what is their outlook for the next 3-12 months? Presenters and participating CDFIs will share how small business experiences differ by geography and for communities of color, where the impacts of systemic inequality have been laid bare. They will share how they are responding—with loan accommodations, new lending, and technical assistance—and how they are managing risk. Learn from examples of struggling businesses and be inspired by positive examples of businesses that are adapting to social distancing requirements and changed demand to make it work, whether through an original business model or a pivoted model. 

Speakers

Jamal Habibi

Moderator, Opportunity Finance Network

Christina Jennings

Shared Capital Cooperative

Andrew Jermolowicz

Rural Development, USDA

Olivia Rebanal

Capital Impact Partners

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Speaker Information

Jamal Habibi

Moderator, Opportunity Finance Network

Speaker Information

Christina Jennings

Shared Capital Cooperative

Christina Jennings is the Executive Director of Shared Capital Cooperative, a national CDFI loan fund committed to building a just, equitable, and democratic economy by investing in the growth and development of cooperative affordable housing and cooperative small businesses. Through the Sustainable Food System Financing Program, Shared Capital provides financing to retail grocery co-ops and small farmer and producer co-ops. Based in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Shared Capital is cooperatively owned and governed by more than 225 cooperatives in 35 states that borrow from and invest in the fund. Christina joined Shared Capital in 2008 where she provides strategic leadership, oversees lending programs, and leads capitalization efforts. Christina has worked for twenty years in community development finance and microfinance in the US and international microfinance investment funds. In addition, she has launched and managed small businesses and social ventures. Christina holds a Master’s degree in Public Affairs focused on Community Economic Development and Nonprofit Management from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota. Christina serves on the boards of directors of the Washington DC-based Cooperative Development Foundation, and Minneapolis-based nonprofits, Latino Economic Development Center and the City of Lakes Community Land Trust.

Speaker Information

Andrew Jermolowicz

Rural Development, USDA

Andrew Jermolowicz serves as the Director of the Business Development Division. In this capacity he oversees the Cooperative Services and Public Private Partnerships branches. He leads the development and execution of policies and strategies to better engage in collaboration with other Federal partners, private-sector companies and other stakeholders to support economic development in rural communities. He also oversees the Biobased Markets Program – a Federal procurement and biobased product certification program. Since 1986, Jermolowicz has served in multiple program and policy positions within Rural Development and maintains interests in rural business development, value added agriculture, food systems marketing and biobased economic development. Jermolowicz received B.S. and M.S. degrees, both in Agriculture Economics, from the University of Kentucky.

Speaker Information

Olivia Rebanal

Capital Impact Partners

Olivia M. Rebanal is Director of Inclusive Food Systems at Capital Impact Partners (CIP), a CDFI that has deployed over $2.7 billion to serve 5 million people in our communities’ critical sectors: health care, education, elder communities, healthy food, cooperatives and affordable housing. Olivia manages the strategy, initiatives and partnerships related to CIP’s work in building equitable food systems. Through innovative programs like the Michigan Good Food Fund, CIP coordinates collaboratives to build an ecosystem of support designed to increase access to affordable healthy food and create opportunities within the food economy, especially for those who are historically excluded. Olivia also oversees the development and implementation of the organization-wide social justice strategy at Capital Impact Partners, working to operationalize racial equity in all facets of its work. Olivia is a thought leader and advocate in the CDFI industry for strategically embedding inclusion and equity into programming. Prior to joining CIP, Olivia served as Director at National Development Council, launching and managing regional small business loan programs for the Grow America Fund, whose strategy is to cultivate community wealth through business ownership and entrepreneurship, particularly in communities of color. Olivia managed a portfolio of communities throughout the West Coast including Seattle, WA; Tacoma, WA; San Francisco Bay Area, CA; Los Angeles, CA; and Long Beach, CA. Olivia has 20 years of experience in the CDFI industry and over a decade of underwriting experience, with emphasis on working with entrepreneurs of color. Olivia holds an AB in Bio-Medical Ethics from Brown University and an MPA in Public Finance from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.

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