California FarmLink Investment Underwriting

CCA underwrote an investment to California FarmLink on behalf of Sacramento Region Community Foundation. Learn how the loan to a CDFI supports local farmers.


The client

Buying, owning, and maintaining a farm requires capital, a scarce resource for many farmers. However, Sacramento Region Community Foundation’s recently launched fund has helped make some dreams possible. In 2021, Sacramento Region Community Foundation made a $300,000 impact investment into California FarmLink, a nonprofit organization focused on providing technical assistance and low interest loans to small scale farmers. This initial investment brings FarmLink to the region, along with their expertise and $10+mm balance sheet.


“FarmLink helped us when others would not and they had faith in us to make this happen. We are glad that an organization like this exists in California at a time when small family farms are rapidly disappearing.” ~Carmen and Phil Carte


 

the impact investment

Buying, owning, and maintaining a farm requires capital, a scarce resource for many farmers. However, Sacramento Region Community Foundation’s recently launched fund has helped make some dreams possible. In 2021, Sacramento Region Community Foundation made a $300,000 impact investment into California FarmLink, a nonprofit organization focused on providing technical assistance and low interest loans to small scale farmers. This initial investment brings FarmLink to the region, along with their expertise and $10+mm balance sheet.


Established in 1999, California FarmLink works to create an inclusive farm and food economy with equitable access and its mission is to connect the next generation of sustainable farmers and ranchers to land and financing. As a nonprofit community lender, California FarmLink provides flexibly structured financing to underserved and beginning farmers for operations, equipment, and land. Nearly 85% of borrowers are immigrants, women, or farmers of color, and almost 90% of all loans are made to certified organic farms. As a community lender, California FarmLink serves borrowers like the Carter family farm who would otherwise have difficulty securing financing from mainstream financial institutions.

The Carter family farm legacy stretches almost 100 years, when Paulina and Phillip Lupertino started a small farm growing cherries and apricots in the Santa Clara Valley in the 1920s. But due to urban development, in 1967 the family farm moved to Winters and started to focus on dried fruits, which can be found at farmers’ markets around Sacramento and the Bay Area. The farm also operates a Winters-based fruit stand, selling nuts, eggs, and seasonal fruits and vegetables.


Carmen and Phil Carter’s goal was to expand their land ownership beyond six acres where they live. Renting land in two locations, they spent years searching for an established almond orchard near Winters. Ultimately they decided to create their own orchard. A loan from California FarmLink enabled the Carters to purchase 73 acres and begin development of a new orchard with a well and irrigation system.


The new land opportunity creates a more secure future for the 10 employees and four family members working in the business. Through Sacramento Region Community Foundation’s DAF program, donors have the opportunity to support innovative nonprofits like California FarmLink who are making a measurable difference in one of this community’s toughest issues. With the Foundation’s support, California FarmLink is helping to create a healthy food system for all.