Renewing the Countryside recognizes the need for several structures to be altered to revitalize rural economies, ecosystems, and education. One response is a microlending program detailed below.
“Most rural households lack access to reliable and affordable finance for agriculture and other livelihood activities. Many small farmers live in remote areas where retail banking is limited and production risks are high. The recent financial crisis has made the provision of credit even tighter and the need to explore innovative approaches to rural and agricultural finance even more urgent...
[There are several] business realities faced by small farmers, including low education levels, the dominance of subsistence farming, and the lack of access to modern financial instruments. These conditions mean that new and innovative institutions are required to reach small farmers."
(from Innovations in Rural and Agricultural Finance, ed. Kloeppinger-Todd and Sharma)
MICROLENDING ~ Grow A Farmer
In partnership with Main Street Project, Renewing the Countryside developed "Grow a Farmer," a micro-lending fund for those that do not otherwise qualify for conventional financing. Qualified candidates are identified through regional beginning farmer training programs and are loaned $3,000 - $7,000 for feed and other operational materials. Individuals can make donations to the fund here, and invest in a local and healthy food system for the future!