Echo Farm is an organic farm with an unusual niche operating on former dairy land in Essex, New York now protected by a conservation easement held by the Open Space Institute. Doing business as Farmstead Catering, it bills itself as “a CSA for your wedding day,” offering farm-to-table catering for celebrations set in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Ninety-five percent of what it serves including vegetables, berries, meat, dairy, seasonings, maple syrup, and flowers is produced on the farm (or sometimes at one of the other like-minded small farms in this closely knit community, including ETF borrower Full and By Farm) as ordered in advance of the growing season.
The farmer-owner is exploring a co-op business model and sharing equity with his staff, allowing them to build dwellings and/or “reciprocal” farming enterprises on the property with members of the group sharing labor, equipment, and even financial resources. Our loan refinanced the farmer’s original mortgage and is entirely funded by participation loans from community members and friends. We are administering the loan on behalf of the investors.