In 2017, Crosshatch and Grain Train Food Co-op awarded Pitchfork Farms with a Micro Loan to get their berry production started. Matt and Ellie Evans live in Petoskey with their 4 kids: Bo, Remy, Tucker, and Annie and their 1,500 chickens. Pitchfork Farms has been in operation, mostly offering raw milk herd shares, for the past 6 years. Three years ago, they began raising chickens for eggs and meat. And this year, thanks to a boost from the Micro Loan, they began work on their berry production - strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries that, as of Summer 2018, will be available for U-Pick at their farm in Petoskey.
Ellie was thankful for the Micro Loan to start a project that, at this point, no one else is doing in Petoskey. “The loan goes beyond helping the farming community, it helps the community at large too,” said Ellie. “There’s been a demand for u-pick berries, and right now people have to drive out of Petoskey to find it. To provide something that no one else is doing right now feels really good.”
This is the Micro Loan program at its finest. With zero interest rates, long pay-back times, and facilitators that care about the food & farming community, the Micro Loan is a welcome alternative to traditional methods of financing. Crosshatch, in partnership with Grain Train, is happy to be able to coordinate this program, to help small farms like Pitchfork build their business, and to show that their work is valued. “It was such a great feeling,” said Ellie, of being alerted that they had been awarded the loan, “to know that someone else believed in what we’re doing.”
The 2018 Micro Loan application is now open, and there are a few changes we're excited to announce:
- Total funds available upped from $6,000 to $10,000 this year!
- Repayment terms dependent on loan size
- 0% interest rate
- No application fee
The deadline to apply is February 12, with loans going out in early March. Apply now and spread the word. Learn more at: www.crosshatch.org/micro-loan/