RSF Social Finance Loans $1.56M to Booming Hudson River Valley Kraut Business

Funding, in part from new Biodynamics Capital Collaborative, launches Hawthorne Valley’s new spinoff and juices biodynamics movement

October 25, 2017, Ghent, NY – RSF Social Finance, the leading funder of food hubs in the U.S., has loaned $1.56 million to Whitethorne LLC, a new subsidiary of the nonprofit Hawthorne Valley Association that will expand production and distribution of the Hudson Valley farm’s in-demand line of biodynamic and organic sauerkraut products.

Whitethorne will continue to sell its lacto-fermented vegetables and probiotic drinks under the Hawthorne Valley Farm brand. The handcrafted products are already available from market stands and retailers all over New York City and throughout the Northeast. The for-profit spinoff, combined with the capital infusion, will allow HVA to scale up both the kraut business and its impact.

“This is an important move for Hawthorne Valley as it will greatly enhance our ability to produce a quality product, increase our purchases from local and regional farmers, and generate additional income to support our main campus’s educational, research and cultural programs,” said Martin Ping, HVA’s executive director. “Our original 1500-square-foot production room for the kraut products was almost literally bursting at the seams.”

Whitethorne products sold at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City. Photo by Ksenia Avdulova.

The financing from San Francisco–based RSF includes a $900,000 mortgage on a new production facility in Hudson, New York; a $300,000 term loan for facility upgrades; and a $360,000 equipment loan. The building improvement financing is the first loan from RSF’s Biodynamics Capital Collaborative, a gift-money fund that supports the biodynamics movement, considered the next step beyond organics.

“The Biodynamics Capital Collaborative was key to getting HVA the full amount of financing they needed—because the Collaborative is a philanthropic fund, it allows us to take on some additional risk,” explains Kate Danaher, senior director of social enterprise lending and integrated capital at RSF. “The match was there because Whitethorne sources cabbage from HVA’s own 900-acre biodynamic farm as well as Hudson Valley organic farmers, and the growing business will create more demand for biodynamic produce.”

Danaher added that the financing is a great example of RSF’s integrated capital approach, which combines various forms of financial and nonfinancial capital to support pioneering social enterprises. The mortgage loan comes from RSF’s flagship Social Investment Fund and the equipment loan is from RSF’s Food System Transformation Fund, an investment fund for foundations and accredited investors.

RSF and HVA enjoy a 30-year history of close collaboration, sharing a common vision around agriculture as a foundation for healing the earth and creating a more just economy that is resilient and sustainable.


The full line of HVA products and photos are available on the Hawthorne Valley ferments website.

About Hawthorne Valley Association

HVA is a diverse nonprofit in Ghent, New York, located in Columbia County in the Hudson Valley. It is committed to social and cultural renewal through education, agriculture, the arts and research. HVA’s integrated learning campus is embedded in a 900-acre Biodynamic® farm and includes a Waldorf school; on-farm education programs; a full-line organic and natural foods and grocery store; social, ecological and cultural research groups; teacher education programs; arts initiatives; and more. For additional information, please visit https://hawthornevalley.org.

Follow them on Instagram @hawthornevalley.

About RSF Social Finance

RSF Social Finance offers innovative opportunities to invest, give and get funding that generate positive social, economic and ecological impact. Since 1984, RSF has made over $450 million in loans, grants and investments supporting social enterprises in the areas of food and agriculture, education and the arts, and ecological stewardship. Find out more about how RSF connects social entrepreneurs with diverse forms of capital. Follow @RSFSocFinance.

Press Contacts

Hawthorne Valley Association / Heather Gibbons
Director of Marketing and Communications
hgibbons@hawthornevalley.org | 518.672.4465 x 222

RSF Social Finance / Sarah Grolnic-McClurg
Thinkshift Communications
sarah@thinkshiftcom.com | 510.898.1837

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