VCIB and AgriRoots launch $9 million credit facility to support access to finance for Canadian agriculture
The credit facility represents VCIB’s entry into the food and agriculture sector and will support access to finance and sustainability upgrades for small farmers.
Traditional Territories of multiple Indigenous Nations, including the Haudenosaunee and the Treaty Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit/Toronto, ON – Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB), Canada’s first and only values-driven bank, is pleased to announce the launch of a $9 million credit facility developed in partnership with AgriRoots Capital Management – a private equity fund, which provides financing for small- to mid-size farms. The launch of the credit facility represents VCIB’s first move into providing financing to the agricultural sector, and will be used by AgriRoots to extend loans of between $250,000 to $1,500,000 to farms across Canada through the AgriRoots Diversified Lending Fund.
“VCIB sees a critical opportunity to support businesses and organizations building more resilient, local and sustainable food and agriculture systems,” says VCIB CEO Jay-Ann Gilfoy. “This credit facility developed with AgriRoots gives the bank a new way to work toward our vision of financing a sustainable tomorrow.”
Access to capital is one of the primary challenges facing small farmers and AgriRoots is one of just a few lenders in Canada that provides financing to small to mid-size farms. The transaction with AgriRoots comes at a time when some small farmers are struggling to stay in business, contributing to a trend towards a concentration of farmland in the hands of a few industrial-scale producers.
“We know that supporting domestic small farms both enhances our national food security and provides benefits to our rural communities,” said Vince Gasparro, VCIB’s Managing Director of Corporate Development and Clean Energy Financing. “We’re pleased to partner with AgriRoots to provide financing options that will not only support domestic food supply chains at a challenging time but will also help small-scale farmers improve the sustainability of their operations.”
In keeping with VCIB’s vision and values, the loans will target small farms seeking loans to support sustainability upgrades – for example, through the purchase of energy-efficient equipment – as well as farms dealing with the challenges of intergenerational farm transfer.
“AgriRoots was established to support Canada’s agricultural sector with financial resources to catalyze their growth and sustainability,” said Robb Nelson, CEO of AgriRoots. “We’re delighted to work with VCIB to reinforce our presence in the sector, and to the benefit of many Canadian farmers and their families.”
Loans will undergo both AgriRoots and VCIB credit approval processes. This structure allows VCIB to benefit from AgriRoots’ deep expertise in agricultural lending while ensuring that each transaction meets VCIB’s standards for due diligence and values alignment. Businesses engaged in activities deemed unethical by the bank will not be eligible for financing.