Julian Mangano started Della Terra (Italian for “of the earth”) in 2017 as a market garden with the goal of gradually expanding the Castorland, N.Y. operation, improving his five acres of land, and providing more “food with integrity” for his community. As the business grew, he sought ways to diversify its offerings — and his dream of creating a composting initiative took root.

Now that New York State requires composting for businesses that generate an annual average of two tons of food waste per week, demand for this type of service is up. By investing in composting now, Julian stands to increase his revenue and focus on the farm as a full-time enterprise.

For small farms like Julian’s, financing for projects is critical for growth but often difficult to access through conventional loan programs. The SOIL Loan Fund, collaboration between ANCA and Foodshed Capital, was designed to help small farms and food businesses span budget gaps by providing flexible, zero- or low-interest loans for projects that will help them grow, increase stability and strengthen food system security. The Fund recognizes the challenges and risks inherent in small-scale farming, as well as the exclusion and dispossession from agriculture that many BIPOC, LGBTQ and women farmers have experienced throughout our nation’s history.

Julian is using the first official SOIL loan to develop a commercial composting operation that will increase his farm’s revenue, divert organic waste from landfills, build his own farm’s soil health, and provide high-quality compost for other local farmers and gardeners.

“After years of plugging away, mapping out a plan, and staying perseverant, I am so grateful for this opportunity to move forward with adding a compost initiative to my small farm. Increasing the scale, and offering a food scrap collection service for my local North Country community, has been really important to me,” Julian said “We produce so much waste — 30% of which is organic compostable material. That means 1/3 of all waste can be repurposed to support farmers and home gardeners to grow healthy, nutritiously dense food — instead of sitting in a landfill, doing nothing! Thank you to ANCA, Foodshed Capital and all who have made this project possible. Your support makes a big difference for my small farm.”