Saranac Lake, NY — The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) and Foodshed Capital have announced that Donahue’s LivestockFarms in North Bangor, N.Y. is the second farm to receive a loan through their revolving loan fund for small-scale food producers. The zero-percent interest loan will help Donahue’s renovate and purchase equipment for a specialty butcher shop.
The new retail operation, Donahue’s Chop Shop, will provide farm-fresh beef, pork and lamb for local customers, including families who participate in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The renovation project at 255 West Main Street, in Malone, N.Y. will begin in Spring 2023.
“Farmers like the Donahue’s are exactly who these SOIL loans are designed to support — experienced operators who are looking to expand their business,” said Adam Dewbury, ANCA Local Food Systems Program Director. “This project will provide Donahue’s LivestockFarms with a year-round retail outlet for direct-to-consumer sales, which they previously lacked. Expansion of their retail capacity will be a great complement to their wholesale operation.”
Founded in 2016, the Donahue family markets their products to restaurants, businesses, schools, institutions and stores across the North Country. The new shop will allow them to sell directly to more consumers. Owners Brandon and Katie Donahue, who have been farming since 2007, have long-term plans to open a federally certified facility to serve the meat processing needs of their own farm and other local farms.
“The funds from ANCA and Foodshed Capital will help us to grow our business and increase community access to our local, natural meat products,” said Katie Donahue. “Customers will also be able to buy our products with their SNAP benefit cards, which we now could technically take, but are just not currently set up for logistically. We anticipate that our new meat shop will increase beef, pork and lamb sales dramatically with the Main Street exposure. We’re very grateful for the SOIL Loan Fund loan from ANCA and Foodshed Capital.”
Beef ribs. Photo courtesy of Donahue’s Livestock Farms.
ANCA, a regional economic nonprofit that serves businesses and communities in northern New York, partnered with Foodshed Capital, a certified Community Development Financial Institution that centers mission-driven lending and customized business support for underserved farmers, to launch its SOIL Loan Fund in 2022. The program was designed to address the challenges many small farms have accessing capital through conventional loan programs.
“We hear time and again from our livestock farmer partners that processing is a massive bottleneck. There are too few processors who work with small-scale producers, they’re too far away, or they don’t offer the kind of certification needed for direct-to-consumer sales,” said Erica Hellen, Foodshed Capital’s Director of Strategy and Development. “We were so excited to deepen our partnership with ANCA to collaboratively finance the Donahues’ project. Not only will it support their immediate retail sales and short-term viability, it will support them as they expand their vision for a processing facility that will benefit regenerative producers throughout the region.”
Capital for the loan program came from private donations as well as grants from Adirondack Bank, Adirondack Foundation’s Generous Acts Fund, the Glen and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Fund, Price Chopper’s Golub Foundation and NBT Bank.
The first SOIL Loan was awarded to Julian Mangano of Della Terra Farm in Castorland, N.Y. in September 2022. Mangano is using the loan to develop a commercial composting operation to divert organic waste from landfills, build soil health on his small farm, and provide high-quality compost for local farms and gardens.
ANCA is an independent, nonprofit corporation with a transformational approach to building prosperity across northern New York. Using innovative strategies for food systems, clean energy, small businesses, and equity and inclusion, ANCA delivers targeted interventions that create and sustain wealth and value in local communities.
Foodshed Capital is a certified Community Development Financial Institution dedicated to building more equitable, regenerative foodsheds through mission-driven lending and customized business support. FoodCap serves regenerative farmers and food entrepreneurs up and down the East Coast with a focus on BIPOC- and female-led operations.
Photo at top: Katie and Brandon Donahue and their family will open a new butcher shop on Main Street in Malone, N.Y. where customers will be able to purchase farm-raised meats like beef ribs, pictured in photo above. Photo courtesy of Donahue’s LivestockFarms.
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