Investors see a future in sustainable farming

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The future of sustainable agriculture is looking brighter thanks to a sudden influx of investors. Sixty-three percent of impact investors, so-called because they want their money to reap social or environmental returns as well as financial ones, report they’re putting money into fixing our broken food system. Investment in the sector has grown at an annual rate of 32 percent since 2013.

“There’s total momentum right now around people rethinking about how their money is being put to work,” says Kate Danaher, the senior manager of social enterprise lending and integrated capital at RSF Social Finance, told Civil Eats.  “Impact investing as a whole is growing very quickly, and my guess is that if you polled everyone interested, the most popular sector is sustainable food and ag.”

Where’s the money going specifically? Toward helping ranchers switch to 100 percent grass-fed beef production, connecting small farms to communities with little access to fresh food, and moving farmland used to grow commodity corn and soy into regenerative systems.

Many people believe this type of big money is exactly what the future of sustainable agriculture depends on. Although sustainable farming can be a good long-term investment, it’s typically very difficult for individual producers to come up with the capital and time needed to become more sustainable.

Takeaway: Maybe you’re interested in making your own money count? Check out this list, compiled by Yale University, of 9 farmland investors and management companies that incorporate sustainable management into their investment strategies.