Sustainable agriculture heats up
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
There's a growing interest in investing in sustainable agriculture initiatives.
“We could by the end of the year be ready to look at other areas,” Bradford said, “once we get over the $30 million threshold.”
Portland-based Meyer Memorial Trust, with $650 million currently under management, is exploring ways to put more of its endowment funds to work in agriculture-related investments as part of an overarching plan to invest in Oregon’s economic development. The details of what those investments will ultimately look like is still under construction, but the interest is there, said Kipp Baratoff, who was selected as a Meyer Fellow to work on the trust’s economic development strategy for Oregon.
Investing in regional agriculture systems is investing in Oregon’s economic resiliency, Baratoff said. Goals and desired outcomes include jobs, more access to agricultural and ranching land, more acres of sustainably managed land, better access to local food and supporting the development of the sustainable regional food system.
In addition to his work with Meyer, Baratoff runs a firm called Sea Dragon that aims to build and finance companies using for-profit business models to create regional social and environmental change.
“Why? Because integrating natural, human and financial capital yields superior investment returns and is critical to humanity’s path forward,” Baratoff said.
Food systems, along with water, shelter and energy is at the top of his interest list.
Portland-based Equilibrium Capital, an impact investment group co-founded by David Chen and Bill Campbell, is also looking at agriculture as part of its focus on sustainability-driven investments.
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