Oryana to offer up to $10,000 in micro loans

Oryana to offer up to $10,000 in micro loans

Posted by MNA Staff on February 12th, 2019

TRAVERSE CITY — Local grocer Oryana Community Co-op recently recently announced that it would be offering zero-interest micro loans in the amount of $500-$10,000 to local farmers and food producers.

The new Micro Loan program was announced as an expansion to the current Micro Loan program offered by Grain Train Natural Food Markets (Petoskey) and administered by Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology.

“We’ve seen such great success of this program through our friends at Grain Train and saw that we could expand the area of impact through this partnership,” said Oryana’s General Manager Steve Nance. “This is what co-ops do best — work together and with strong local partners to support the growth of local farmers and food producers. We saw an opportunity to be able to expand an already thriving program and open it to a new market.”

Grain Train and Crosshatch have been partnering together on a Micro Loan Program since 2014, offering up to $10,000 in no-interest loans for farms and food-related businesses in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet and Otsego counties. The addition of $10,000 in funding from Oryana will expand this program to Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee and Wexford counties. Oryana and Grain Train plan to offer the Micro Loan program annually.

While applications are open to all farm and food businesses in this region, these partners state that “ideal candidates will propose an idea that would boost a farm or food business and elevate the region’s local food system.” Applicants can apply for loans in any amount between $500 and $10,000. Those using sustainable practices are strongly encouraged, but proposals are not limited to particular practices or scale.

Rachel Cross of Spirit of Walloon Farm, a past recipient of the Grain Train funded Micro Loan, says that this loan fills an important gap for farmer’s who are scaling their businesses, but who don’t own their own land.

“As part of our Mission and Ends Policies, we make it a priority to give back over $100,000 each year to nonprofits and organizations working for health and environmental issues,” said Stephanie Mathewson, Oryana’s Marketing and Communications Manager. “But we’ve really seen the need for targeted support for our local growers and food system. We believe that the development of thoughtful, ethical growers and makers creates a stronger and more resilient community.”

Micro Loan applications are currently being accepted for both the Grain Train and Oryana programs through Feb. 28 with loans being awarded in early March. There is no application fee and repayment terms are dependent upon the loan size.

Applications can be filled out online at crosshatch.org/micro-loan/. Any questions about the application or Micro Loan process can be directed to Daniel Marbury at [email protected] or (231) 622-5252.

Manistee News Advocate – Posted by MNA Staff on February 12th, 2019

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