Farm Fresh To You, Multi-Farm CSA, Capay Valley, CA
Farm Fresh To You (FFTY), also based in the Capay Valley in Yolo County, has a unique fundraising story. It is the only agricultural enterprise in California in recent memory to raise funds by a Direct Public Offering after obtaining a permit from the California Department of Business Oversight.
FFTY operates multiple organic farm sites around California totaling 1,000 acres of farmland and distributes produce around California to CSA customers as well as institutions. The enterprises owns a 20,000 sq. foot warehouse in Sacramento, leases distribution warehouses in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and elsewhere.
FFTY first received a permit to conduct a public offering of securities in California in 2012 and has renewed its permit numerous times since then. With each renewal, the business has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for working capital for its numerous farm sites, warehouses, and distribution equipment. It is owned and operated by three brothers who grew up on a farm in the Capay Valley. Their farms use organic farming practices. Their multi-farm CSA delivery box gives customers many choices from a large variety of fresh produce.
During the course of its multiple Direct to Public Offerings, FFTY has doubled its number of customers up to 80,000. The company advertised its DPO as a "Green Loan" offering members the opportunity to “Invest in your food system” and to receive interest payments in the form of cash or in the form of produce deliveries. Brochures used to advertise the loan opportunity have described it as an "alternative investment to industrial finance." Minimum investments per investor are typically $2,000 and maximum investments are $50,000. Investors must make a minimum 15 month commitment and received a variable interest rate ranging from 1.5% above the LIBOR rate to 3% above the LIBOR rate, depending on whether they choose to receive interest payments in produce or cash.
Farm Fresh To You is an example of one of the larger enterprises in the food and agricultural sector that has used grassroots finance. By leveraging consumer enthusiasm for local and organic food, it was able to raise nearly $2 million in patient capital over several years to grow its farm enterprise.