The Georgia ACRE Collective Marks a Year of Success with Forward Commitments, Local Food Incentives, and Working Capital Loans

Honoring Year One: The Georgia ACRE Collective reflects on achievements in new case study

by Emily Hennessee

The Georgia ACRE Collective just released its first case study, Structuring a Place-Based Collaboration to Advance Agriculture, Community, Resilience, and Equity through Values-Based Procurement, to highlight our collective efforts and accomplishments during our first year of existence.

A few highlights from year one of the Georgia ACRE Collective, include:

  1. Forward commitments: Eleven forward commitments were made by metro Atlanta institutions to socially disadvantaged growers. As we described in a previous blog, forward commitments are agreements made in advance with institutions, like universities and hospitals, to purchase products from values-aligned growers over an extended period of time, often a growing season or calendar year. These commitments enable farmers to buy inputs, create a crop plan, and plant knowing that an end customer is lined up to purchase their products once harvested.
  2. Local food incentive pilot: We launched a local foods incentive pilot program in two metro Atlanta school districts – Marietta City Schools and Rockdale County Schools. This program provides grant funding to increase the amount of local food included in school meals. We also collaborated with these schools by providing new culturally appropriate recipes, training for school nutrition staff, and support to implement taste tests.

“Farm to school is a win for kids and local Georgia farmers – kids eat nourishing food in meals and snacks, participate in hands-on activities and learn about the importance of where our food comes from.” — ACRE partner and School Nutrition Director for Rockdale County Schools Blaine Allen

Acre Collective Common Market Cj Hicks School Blaine Allen
School Nutrition Director for Rockdale County Schools Blaine Allen participates in a recent nutrition workshop.

3. Working capital loans: The Common Market issued working capital loans (also known as purchase order (PO) loans) to two growers in Georgia in 2023. These 0% interest loans provide growers with up to 50% prepayment of a season’s worth of purchase orders. Growers pay off their loans through food deliveries to The Common Market. Farmers have shared that access to this capital early in the season is a gamechanger for their operations and encourages them to do more advanced crop planning than in previous years. We’re eager to expand this effort and provide additional loans to growers in 2024!

"Farmers have shared that access to this capital early in the season is a gamechanger for their operations."

Read the full case study here:

Case Study: Year 1 The Georgia ACRE Collective

Throughout 2024, we look forward to expanding our work to reach new growers and institutions. If you are interested in collaborating with the Georgia ACRE Collective, please contact Emily Hennessee at