LEAF has been lending to food co-ops for over three decades and in the past two years alone has worked with almost a dozen groups opening and expanding new stores across the country. LEAF has invested in start-ups and expansions in food deserts, such as the Dorchester Food Co-op (MA), Hendersonville Community Food Co-op (NC), Marquette Food Co-op (MI), Durham Co-op Market (NC), Bisman Food Co-op (ND), and Lexington Cooperative Market (NY), as well as assisted existing co-ops in Persistent Poverty Counties, such as the New Orleans Food Co-op.
LEAF was also thrilled to be part of history by financing Hub City Food Co-op, the first food co-op in South Carolina. In many transactions, such as a loan to East Aurora Cooperative Market in Western NY, LEAF partners with other lenders, such as Shared Capital Cooperative, who share LEAF’s commitment to co-ops. We also partner with federal and state programs and recently made a loan to River Valley Market in Western MA as part of a USDA program, highlighting our commitment to helping rural co-ops find the funding they need.
LEAF’s Executive Director, Gerardo Espinoza, and LEAF staff members, Nathan Hixson, Amine Benali, and Ben Selden, will be on hand at this year’s CCMA in Amherst, MA. Nathan will be participating on a panel, “Secrets of the Lenders: the 5 Cs of Credit,” with other co-op lenders. And while the panel title makes the secrets not so secret, we promise the discussion will be interesting for other reasons. LEAF is also a CCMA Exhibit Sponsor and all LEAF staff members will be available throughout the conference to answer questions and discuss your co-op’s future plans and potential financing needs.