Business Plan, Board Manual, Articles

FarmWorks Articles and Governance Oct 2011 rvsd April 2014, rvsd April 2017

FarmWorks Business Plan Update 2021 2025

Board Manual RVSD July 10, 2017

FarmWorks Business Plan – EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

FarmWorks Investment Co-operative Limited was formed to help provide Nova Scotians with financial returns on investments that increase the viability and sustainability of agriculture food production and the security of a healthy food supply. FarmWorks Community Economic Development Investment Fund (CEDIF) helps create new opportunities by providing subordinated debt financing for farms and food-related processing and for value-added products. There is significant potential for Nova Scotian food production to provide economic, health, social and environmental benefits while contributing to Provincial economic output.

FarmWorks lends funds and forms meaningful partnerships with investors and loan recipients, and may augment financing provided by other lending institutions. FarmWorks promotes the benefits of investing in local enterprises and buying local products.

FarmWorks’ Advisors assist the Board to identify enterprises that will be successful in achieving within three years a minimum 10% increase in output and productivity. Guidelines for measuring and reporting outcomes are in place for loan recipients.

The first CEDIF offer closed at the end of February 2012 and by March 1, 2022 $4,634,400 had been invested by 505 Nova Scotian Shareholders to support farms and food-related enterprises across the Province. It is notable that 53% of shareholders have invested from one to eleven times, and that only 5.4% of shares have been redeemed during the eleven years.


Promote investing locally, and buying local food, to gain the health, economic, social, environmental, and other benefits that result from growing and processing food in Nova Scotia.

Use investment instruments that allow Nova Scotians to invest a significant percentage of their capital into NS agriculture and food related enterprises.

Measure outcomes by:

• Increase in production or value by each capital recipient

• Increase in profitability by each capital recipient

• Return on Investment to investors

• Contribute to increase in food production by 2020

• Contribute to an increase in new entrants by 2020


A CEDIF is a pool of capital, formed through the sale of shares, to persons within a defined community, created to operate or invest in local business. It cannot be charitable, non-taxable, or not-for-profit, and must have at least six directors elected from their defined community.

FarmWorks’ research prior to 2012 determined that CEDIFs are the best mechanism available for efficiently and effectively leveraging local capital to help build a sustainable agricultural economy that will contribute to all aspect of life in the Province.

The FarmWorks “blind pool” CEDIF identifies and strategically funds people scaling up or launching agricultural and food-related enterprises with outstanding management, the capacity for innovation, demonstrated demand for product and the capacity for growth. Loans are for subordinate debt as required by the NS Department of Finance. As loans are repaid the capital is reinvested to increase the reach and effectiveness of the Fund.

The FarmWorks Board and Advisors collaborate with the enterprise owners and facilitate mentoring by appropriate specialists to insure the success of the enterprise and the CEDIF. Support also takes the form of ongoing promotion of the benefits of eating healthy local food and investing in local enterprises. Through sustainable funding, knowledge transfer and mentoring, the FarmWorks Co-operative helps meet a range of provincial food-related needs, stimulates economic growth and provides social and environmental benefits.

Nova Scotia stands to benefit on many levels by gradually shifting our global net-input farm and food economy to one oriented toward local and regional markets. It’s well understood that money spent at local businesses creates a multiplier effect, circulating the same dollars many times within the local economy [].

Nova Scotians spend about $2.6 billion on food annually but only about 15% overall on local farm products. Strategies that increase the availability of Nova Scotia-grown food help improve the local economy. With a modest economic multiplier of two to three cycles, even a 10 percent increase in local food production, processing and purchasing can generate $400 to $600 million of new economic activity annually within the Province. Hundreds of new jobs can be created on and off farms and through farm-related businesses such as seeds and stock, equipment, tools, storage, processing, packaging, and distribution.

Currently off-farm jobs are assisting many farmers to preserve their farms and land. The average farm size is 262 acres so it to be expected that more than half the arable land in the Province is being preserved by farmers who could increase production if they could support their farms by doing so.

Census figures show that from 2011 to 2021 Nova Scotia lost farms. There are farmers and land available to grow healthy local food that could increase farm income, create more jobs on farms and throughout the food system, increase food sufficiency, keep more money in Nova Scotia and provide the economic stimulus to reinvigorate rural communities.

Local food production requires investment in farms and food production and infrastructure. Each year several billion dollars flow out of Nova Scotia as investment, and the cumulative effect of the missing billions has decreased the economic viability of every sector of the Provincial economy. The food sector effects have not been immediately evident to those who rely on chain stores for food, but the downstream economic and health costs are being paid by all Nova Scotians.

FarmWorks Principles

Values and Beliefs FarmWorks is guided by these values: Diligence, Responsibility, Responsiveness, Accountability, Honesty, Stewardship, Democracy

Guiding Principles: Empower others and build sector strength and capacity; Consider all stakeholders; Food self-sufficiency; Co-operate with other organizations; Community based development; Community participation in ownership and governance; Educated choices for the public; Socio-economic and environmental justice; Adherence to environmentally sound principles.

The Directors of FarmWorks subscribe to, and act in accordance with the following Co-operative Principles: Open and voluntary membership; Democratic member control; Member economic participation; Autonomy and independence; Education, training, and information; Co-operation among co-operatives; Concern for community

Process: Members will be catalysts and facilitators advancing the mission and goals; Members will have hands-on management of the implementation of the business plan

Community Building: Building collaborative agreements with organizations that support the key priorities; Growing positive working relationships with all Shareholders, investees, government agencies, businesses, citizens and communities

Finance: Diligent stewardship of all monies invested in FarmWorks; Obtaining adequate investor commitments to implement the goals

Growth and Development: Directors will continually inform themselves about food systems, finance and economic development in order to provide the public and investees with appropriate information; Board development will be an integral part of FarmWorks strategic planning

Commitment and Collaboration


The FarmWorks CEDIF helps insure Healthy Farms and Healthy Food by: Promoting the value of locally produced foods to consumers and the advantages of investing in the agricultural and food economy of NS; Identifying the needs of the farming community and food producers; Informing governments, business, non-governmental organizations and academia of the need for sustainable, healthy, sufficient, fairly-produced food; Using the CEDIF as the vehicle for the sales of shares to provide funds to assist food producers, processors, distributors and other food-related enterprises to become economically viable and sustainable and to decrease the province’s dependence on imported foods; Collaborating with and mentoring funded enterprises to assist in building their success; Providing public information about the benefits of CEDIFs and co-operatives for socially responsive investing in economically viable enterprises; Collaborating with appropriate partners to create benchmarks and indicators to track changes in local food availability and sales; Helping investees to increase the amount of local food sold in Nova Scotia by 20% by 2020; Providing an equitable return on investment to FarmWorks investors.

Information for Prospective Directors FarmWorks

FarmWorks Directors Governance Overview