As agriculture continues to grow as an asset class, regenerative agriculture and its focus on supporting soil, plant and animal health, along with societal and human health—presents new opportunities for investment. Early data shows that, in addition to being feel-good ventures, they also offer stable returns. This is why investors, fund managers, financial advisors and consultants, foundations, food companies, farmers, and others interested in advancing regenerative agricultural systems gathered for the second Regenerative Food Systems Investment (RFSI) Forum, presented virtually, September 14-17, 2020.
“Despite being unable to hold this as an in-person event, we were excited bring this community together virtually,” said RFSI Director Sarah Day Levesque. “We offered a robust, informative, and interactive agenda that brought leading stakeholders in sustainable and regenerative agriculture and food investment together (virtually) to move this investment opportunity forward.”
|Did you miss the 2020 RFSI Forum? Access the REPLAY here!|
The 4-day event kicked-off with a complimentary program from RFSI’s Innovation Partner, Food System 6 (FS6), a San Francisco–area nonprofit that provides business acceleration assistance and mentoring as well as educates stakeholders about the needs for capital in redefining the food system. The Innovation for Food Systems Impact program featured FS6’s cohort companies, which work up and down the food supply chain, each presenting their business models and answering audience questions.
Across the three remaining days of conference content, attendees deepened their understanding of how successful strategies and capital allocation in this space works, where the success stories are and what barriers still exist. Highlights from the program included:
- Colorado farmer, Brendon Rockey, who took the audience on a tour of his potato and quinoa operation and explained how production practices aligned with nature brought both ecological and economic advantages.
- Paul McMahon of SLM Partners sharing key factors for the investment case for regenerative agriculture and criteria for determining investability.
- An informative and inspiring conversation between Robyn O’Brien of rePlant Capital, Phil Taylor of Mad Agriculture, and Dan Miller of Steward on the mechanisms – financial and otherwise – currently available (and those still needed) to help farmers transition to organic and regenerative practices.
- Eric Jackson of Pipeline Foods leading a discussion with Tina Owens of Danone North America, David LeZaks of Croatan Institute and Cheryl Toner of the America Heart Association about the connections between healthy soil, healthy food and healthy people.
- Alex Mackay of Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT, Adrian Rodrigues of Provenance Capital Group and Wood Turner of Agriculture Capital sharing their unique approaches to investing in farmland and agricultural assets.
- A critical dialogue between Caesare Assad of Food System 6, Mark Watson of Fair Food Fund, and Zach Duchenaeaux of the Intertribal Agriculture Council about bringing more social and racial equity to the food system.
- And so much more from the innovators and investors growing the regenerative food system.
“We worked hard to deliver key-takeaways on a diverse range of topics from experienced leaders, and provide numerous opportunities to build new connections,” said Day Levesque, “Our number one goal was and will continue to be to arm our community with tools to help them move their efforts in the food and finance system forward.”