The goal of the Institutional Investment Accelerator is to increase community wealth and power by providing resources and support to teams working to attract and leverage investment from institutions in their communities.
About this Project
The Institutional Investment Accelerator is aimed at catalyzing and increasing institutional investment in values-based supply chains to accelerate the development of more equitable food systems. Institutions have pivotal roles to play in shifting the structure of our regional food economies to be more just and resilient. For years, many institutions have committed to using their procurement dollars to address a variety of concerns, from rural farmer viability to the social determinants of health. These commitments often fall short due to the lack of an established pipeline of food and farm businesses to sell into their market channel.
The development of more equitable, regionalized food systems requires institutions to look beyond procurement commitments and actively invest resources in food and farm businesses that build community wealth. Businesses owned by people of color must be at the forefront of these wealth building strategies. These investments will help institutions meet their purchasing commitments while supporting the health and well-being of their communities. The Wallace Center is seeking to accelerate this practice by supporting a cohort of teams paired with advisors who have deep experience in institutional procurement, value chain coordination, financing food businesses and infrastructure, and developing cross sector partnerships. In addition to supporting these teams, Wallace Center will also be sharing learnings and best practices with the FSLN throughout the Accelerator.
What we’ve learned on the way:
The Institutional Investment Accelerator includes six teams from different geographies across the US. Through the Accelerator, teams will build their capacity to attract and leverage institutional investment in a pipeline of food businesses. The goal of the Accelerator is to create space for teams to fast-track and hone their institutional investment projects in order to build community wealth.
While they are working in different communities and contexts, all six teams are engaging institutions as key partners in their food systems change efforts, with an emphasis on building economic opportunity with and for Black-, Indigenous-, and other People of Color-owned food and farm businesses. For example, the Portland team hopes to better align the parallel farm-to-institution efforts in the Portland Metro Area and explore institutional investments, like using vacant hospital land for food production, that build the capacity and economic resiliency of BIPOC producers. You can learn more about the teams here.
We are honored to partner with three advisors to provide guidance, technical input, and strategic oversight to the program and the teams. Each team will work closely with their advisor to define their goals for the accelerator, conduct a landscape analysis, and design and implement their strategy. The advisors are:
Haile Johnston—Haile, Co-Director and a founder of The Common Market, a nonprofit distribution enterprise that connects communities to good food from sustainable family farms. Haile will be working with the Denver and Baltimore teams.
Lucia Sayre— Lucia is the Director of Regional Innovation and Community Resilience for the Healthy Food in Health Care Program of Health Care Without Harm (HCWH). Lucia will be working with the Chicago and West Virginia teams.
Pakou Hang— Pakou is a Co-Founder and former Executive Director of the Hmong American Farmers Association, a nonprofit located in Minnesota that works with Hmong farmers to build community wealth and health. Pakou will be working with the Northwest Arkansas and Portland teams.
By participating in the Accelerator, teams will have access to:
Over the course of the Accelerator, which will run from March 2021- July 2022, teams will participate in the following activities: