I live in one of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, but the outskirts of Phoenix are peppered with dairy farms.  Even with urban sprawl, you can still find a fully functioning dairy farm surrounded by brand new housing developments.  Although I can get local, antibiotic and hormone-free milk, it isn’t organic.  Lucky residents in the Ghent, N.Y., area have their own local, organic dairy farmer.

Yesterday, Dante Hesse discussed his Milk Thistle Farm on National Public Radio (NPR).  In the All Things Considered segment, Laura Conway reported that Hesse sells his fresh, local and organic milk for $5/quart at a New York City farmers market and sells out quickly.  Hesse wants to expand so that he can add butter and cheese to his product line.  The only thing standing in his way is a $700,000 processing plant.

Whoa, $700,000?  That is a large chunk of change and coming by that in today’s shaky economy has not been easy.  Therefore, Hesse is taking a unique approach to raising the funds.

“Hesse is offering 6 percent interest for an unsecured loan of $1,000. His business plan taps into a pair of burgeoning movements — the first characterized by an interest in organic, locally grown food; the second by an environmental approach to economics.” Source: NPR

Six percent interest is a respectable rate of return.  I’m sure many people are timid about the unsecured part of the loan but no secured investment is going to come with a 6% interest rate.  Tentative investors may find that this $1,000 loan is a wiser choice than investing the same amount into the roller coaster that is the U.S. stock market.

In addition to a nice interest rate, investors also get that feel good feeling that comes with supporting a local, eco-friendly farmer.  Recent reports have shown that there is an increased demand for eco-conscious investment options.  Standard & Poor’s has even taken this news and acted on it with the launch of their new U.S. Carbon Efficient Index.

If you have a spare $1,000 consider supporting this small organic business owner, contact Milk Thistle Farm - (518) 567-9490 or info@milkthistlefarm.com .

For more on this story, read Got local organic milk.  Need cash. by MNN’s Food Blogger Robin Shreeves.

Photo by jrubinic

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