Bread & Butter Farm: An Example of Creative Financing

Editors Note: This piece, prepared by Carrie Abels, comes to us from Vermont's Farm to Plate, and describes "How Bread & Butter Farm worked with a patchwork quilt of funding sources to keep land conserved for agriculture." Whether you're in a start-up phase or you've been farming or ranching for a long time, you could get some inspiration for how you might find and work with funders. Bread & Butter Farm, which straddles the South Burlington/Shelburne border, sells an array of farm products and experiences—everything from grass-fed beef to fresh-baked German bread to winter vegetables to farm-fresh burgers served on Friday evening “Burger Nights.” But the diversity of Bread & Butter’s offerings pales in comparison to the diversity of funding sources that financed the 2009 start-up of the farm and the sale of the farmland to the current farmers. Nearly a dozen organizations and more than 25 individuals were involved, including a statewide land trust, a local land trust, two municipalities, an agricultural lender, a foundation, an angel investor, CSA members, and nonprofits. Although this particular patchwork quilt of financing sources was unique to Bread & Butter Farm, the fact is that new farm ventures must often pull together a variety o

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