Project details

Alternative forms of financing along the value-added chain of organic food – BioFinanz

The background to the IfLS-coordinated project is the interest of enterprises of the organic farming and food sector in alternative forms of financing investments, e.g. in the context of setting-up, expansion or diversification. At the same time, societal interest in alternative options of financial investment – i.e. sustainable, local and transparent – is rising. Consumers are increasingly willing to engage in the establishment of regional value-added chains in financial as well as non-material terms, in the sense of an ‘ethical investment’.

The project’s objective is to identify the characteristics, potentials and challenges of the various alternative forms of financing existing. It will adopt a comparative analytical perspective on such approaches along the value-added chain of organic food.

In terms of methodology, the first step will entail the creation of an inventory of existing approaches to alternative financing. A survey among stakeholders of the projects/initiatives identified will constitute the second step, followed by a set of in-depth case studies on individual approaches (projects/initiatives). Grounded on the results, an internet-based tool will be set up, supporting actors in the organic farming and food sector in selecting an alternative form of financing tailored to their needs. This decision-supporting tool will be targeted at farmers and entrepreneurs as well as consumers and small-scale investors.

Throughout the whole duration of the study, the project partners IfLS and the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (Hochschule für Nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde – HNEE) will closely collaborate with the sub-contractors Foundation for Ecology & Farming (Stiftung Ökologie & Landbau – SÖL) and Association of Organic Processors, Wholesalers and Retailers (Bundesverband Naturkost Naturwaren e.V. – BNN). This will ensure methodological approaches are adequate to the field, and results correspond to the needs of the various actors in the organic farming and food sector.

The project is being funded within the framework of a federal-level programme covering research and information on ‘organic farming and other forms of sustainable agriculture’ (Ökologischer Landbau und andere Formen nachhaltiger Landwirtschaft – BÖLN). The programme aims at improving the framework conditions for a sustainable organic farming and food sector, as well as creating the preconditions of a balanced growth of supply and demand.

Project results can be found (in German) on the project website: This information sheet also gives a brief overview of BioFinanz (in German).

Project no.: 



Research | Socio-economics of farm business |


Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE)

Executing Organization: 

Institut für Ländliche Strukturforschung e.V.


2017 - 2019

Contact person/s at IfLS: 

Simone Sterly, Sarah Peter