Farmworks: Investing in Local CEDIF Benefits all Nova Scotians

Farmworks: Investing in Local CEDIF Benefits all Nova Scotians
By Linda Best, Treasurer
FarmWorks Investment Co-operative Limited

FarmWorks Investment Co-operative Limited is a for-profit enterprise founded by Nova Scotians to promote and provide strategic and responsible investment in food production and distribution in order to increase access to sustainable local food for all Nova Scotians.

FarmWorks is aware of many opportunities from “field to fork to future.” Just under one million Nova Scotians spend over three billion dollars annually on food, at home and away from home, and less than 20% is grown and processed in the province. Every percentage increase in demand will result in expansion of production to provide more food. Buying local food and investing in food-related businesses provides significant benefits for all Nova Scotians. Excellent foods and beverages are produced here, creating jobs on farms and throughout the food system, providing food grown closer to home, keeping money circulating in the region, bringing people back to rural communities, helping to increase the viability and sustainability of agriculture, and providing economic stimulus for the whole province.

FarmWorks adopted the NS Community Economic Development Investment program (CEDIF) to enable Nova Scotians to receive provincial tax credits and federal RRSP tax deferral for investing in for-profit enterprises. FarmWorks’ Eighth Offer of shares is now open for Nova Scotians to invest funds that will be loaned to qualifying food-related NS businesses.

To date 391 shareholders have invested $2,226,800 in FarmWorks CEDIF to support farmers and food producers who aim to increase production and profitability and contribute to the economy of the province. Client payments are reinvested in other businesses. FarmWorks provides mentoring for clients and promotes their businesses.

FarmWorks-supported entrepreneurs are innovative, energetic, enthusiastic and motivated to provide great food and beverages for Nova Scotians. Surveys indicate that FarmWorks-supported businesses currently employ over 350 people and generate over $15 million in sales. They provide and procure goods and services in Nova Scotia, they raise awareness of the benefits of supporting other NS businesses, and many of the restaurants have become hubs for their communities and are contributing to year-round tourism. Some of the businesses would not exist without FarmWorks’ investment, and clients are appreciative of FarmWorks’ “money, mentoring and marketing” support.

People are moving, or returning, to this province to find the quality of life they seek, and some of them wish to start or purchase food or beverage businesses. FarmWorks has provided capital for 93 businesses to date and there are many more clients in our future. Attraction and retention of dynamic participants such as those supported by FarmWorks is crucial for the growth of ancillary businesses and communities. The success enjoyed by many businesses supported by FarmWorks speaks to the potential for increased food entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia. Food and farming businesses are essential for our future.

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