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Big Ideas/Micro Loans— Spring 2017 Micro Loan Program

Economy, Get Involved, Guest Post, Learn More, Mindy Taylor

This is Grain Train‘s second year of partnering with Crosshatch to provide micro-loans for local farmers or food related businesses. We’re quite honored to be a part of this program. Good food/local food has been our mantra for the entire existence of the Grain Train Natural Foods Co-op.

Starting out as a small walk-up, two-room business selling just the organic basics you couldn’t get anywhere else, we are now—some 45+ years later—a thriving co-operative business in the heart of downtown Petoskey. Because we’ve gratefully known many helping hands along the way, we’re inspired to offer a helping hand to those coming along now.

So what is the micro-loan program all about?

Simply put, the low-interest loans are for existing farms or food related businesses—or to help start new ones—in Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet and Otsego counties. Loans range from $500-$6,000 and repayment is over 18 months at a 2.5% interest rate.

How do you apply?

Propose an idea that would boost your farm or food business and in turn elevate the region’s local food system. Sustainable practices are strongly encouraged, but proposals are not limited to particular practices or scale. There is no application fee. Deadline to apply is February 6, 2017. Awards will be announced in March.

How can you use the loan?

The loan can be used for essential tools for the farm or food business or for materials, land, livestock, or infrastructure essential to the operation. The loan can help with farm certification, marketing and distribution, professional development, value-added product production or even processing and packaging for farm products.

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Last year, Open Sky Organic Farm, Best Farm, and Grass Lake Organics were awarded micro-loans. This year, we hope you’ll add your farm or business to the growing list of recipients!

For more information contact our good friend at Crosshatch, Jen Schaap! You can reach Jen at (231) 622-5252 or jen@crosshatch.org.

Mindy Taylor is the Events and Outreach Coordinator for Grain Train Natural Foods Market in Petoskey, MI. She can be reached at mindy@graintrain.coop 

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