The demand for organic foods continues to increase at astounding rates. While U.S. sales of organic food and beverages totaled less than $4 billion in 1997, that number is anticipated to hit more than $100 billion by 2025. Yet, supply and demand are not matching up. Even with 5 million certified organic acres of farmland in 2016, this number still represents less than 1 percent of total farmland nationwide. Over the years, we’ve seen many companies take creative approaches to help increase organic farmland in the U.S, from Kashi’s “Certified Transitional” label to brands actually purchasing their own organic farms. Now, a new fund has been created to increase assistance to farmers pursuing organic options.
This week, Clif Bar made it a little easier to be an organic farmer with the launch of the Clif Ag Fund. Its goal is to increase the economic resilience of organic farmers and reduce their reliance on non-renewable sources of energy. The fund will include an initial investment of $10 million ($500,000 from Clif Bar and the remaining $9.5 million from partner investors) “that could provide up to 80 organic farms with long-term energy cost savings from hosting on-farm wind turbines,” according to Sustainable Brands. The wind energy program is just the start for the Clif Ag Fund: Over time, the fund will also pursue other investments for organic farmers, including new technologies and infrastructure development. Matthew Dillon, senior director of agricultural policy and programs for Clif Bar, explains the goal and benefits of the fund: “The goal of the Clif Ag Fund is to invest in projects that will help our farmers be more economically resilient in producing organic crops. That benefits farmers, their communities and Clif Bar.”
From the three years it takes to become certified organic, to the copious paperwork and high cost of the label itself, it can be extremely difficult to practice organic farming. The Clif Ag Fund works to reduce some of the uncertainties farmers face in the pursuit of organic. And as Clif Bar secures the economic resilience of farmers and their communities, it also increases the strength of its own supply chain and its ability to plan for future growth, creating a win-win-win solution for all stakeholders.