Philanthropy Friday: Investing in Food

global food exchangeEach Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer.

We’ve all heard about natural disasters that occur around the world and seen their devastating effects on people and whole countries. The Global Food Exchange is a unique company that brings together emergency food providers and buyers to create a more efficient solution for disaster preparation and assistance in the world.

Global Food Exchange has turned food into a new asset class. Like stocks, mutual funds, or real estate, Global Food Exhange has made their Food Security Vaults (FSVs) a new asset class by standardizing the manufacturing process and partnering with investment groups to buy and hold these FSVs as an investment. FSVs are filled with complete meals that have been dehydrated and packaged using a special technology that allows for storage of 20 to 25 years. With these vaults strategically stored around the globe, the emergency response time for food and water can be greatly reduced.

Investing in food is a new and intriguing concept. Founder Richard Lackey, tells me he started the Global Food Exchange about two years ago in response to two main problems he saw with the way in which the US (and the world) responded to recent natural disasters. One problem was that though government organizations such as FEMA are set up to respond to disasters, they simply don’t have enough “product” to aid in major disasters that effect large populations. After serving with mission teams in various countries over the years, it was exasperating for Lackey to hear some countries requesting that mission teams not come because they did not have adequate food and water to support those wanting to rebuild their country.

The second problem was that while most governments are willing pay for the needed food, water and other products once a disaster occurs, they either don’t have or don’t want to allocate the money to prepare for a disaster. Lackey tells me disasters require approximately $30 Billion USD per year in emergency response. But just asking people to invest in food and keeping it readily available was not efficient enough and created potential securities issues. And getting people to donate food for storage is already done by many organizations.

So, how does it work exactly? Investors become members of the Global Food Exchange at varying levels. The executive level members are active in the promotion of the Global Food Exchange and FSV sales, while individual team members who want to simply support the organization’s efforts can join for $25 per year. Investors in Qatar, for example, are finding that they can use FSVs for their own preparedness, as well as a benevolent gesture in helping to provide food security for their region.

Investing in a food network, according to Lackey, is a solid investment that could arguably save hundreds of thousands of lives in the future.

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  1. says

    Thank you for profiling Global Food Exchange–I had never heard of it, but it’s very intriguing. I’ve participated in Kiva, and this project is another way to rethink philanthropy innovation.

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