The Business of Local Foods

We work with experienced organic and natural (sustainable) growers, near-by landowners and local investors to organize farmer-controlled partnerships that can compete successfully in urban markets.

Partnerships for Local Markets

Our partnerships are designed to maximize farm profits by helping individual growers, associations and cooperatives develop and market their own food brands. In addition to marketing services. adding production and processing efficiencies, funded by private risk capital, will help Omaha and Kansas City area growers enter these retail markets in an orderly fashion.

To further reduce production costs, we are developing long-term leases that benefit landowners and investors by allowing for profit sharing with farmers. These performance based leases will also be linked specific environmental improvements and local economic development goals. Unlike year-to-year rental agreements, custom leases also allow for capital improvements while avoiding high taxes and interest charges on land sales, and by avoiding the complexity of third party land trusts. Slow Money Principles will guide all business planning and operations. 

History

With more than 50 years in organic agriculture and a long family history in diversified farming, we understand that our long-term food security depends on locally owned farms and food businesses that pay living wages and take good care of our soils, water, wildlife and farm animals. We own farms near Bennington, Nebraska and Massena, Iowa. 

We are influenced by E.F. Shumacher, Wendell Berry, Woody Tasch and many others, including my late father, Bob Steffen.

 Bob Steffen, circa 1975

Dad was the farm manager for Father Flanagan at Boys Town for thirty years and a leader in developing large scale natural and organic farming methods for the Midwest. Our challenge now is to find the economies of scale that lie between Small is Beautiful and the realities of the established food system – all without ignoring the real needs of land, labor, capital and management.

Please contact me, Jim Steffen at js@localfoods.org, jim@massenafarms.com or 402-317-2639 to learn more about financing sustainable food systems.

Thank you.

Note: The pictures on this page are courtesy of the Boys Town Hall of History.

Updated 05-18-2015, 06-29-15