The La Montanita (LaM) Fund is a member funded micro-lending program designed to grow the local food system and strengthen the local economy. It provides an opportunity for members of La Montanita Food Co-op to support farms, ranches, value-added producers, and other food system endeavors and related businesses in the La Montanita foodshed region, as well as non-food businesses in New Mexico that utilize the cooperative economic business model. La Montanita Co-op Members can purchase Interests (similar to investing in a mutual fund) in the LaM Fund. Proceeds from the sale of the Interests in this offering are deposited in an account with New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union for use as collateral for loans made by NMEFCU to local producers and based on the recommendations of the LaM Fund Loan Advisory Committee. The loans are administered by NMEFCU.
The La Montanita foodshed region encompasses a 300-mile radius around Albuquerque, throughout New Mexico and extending into southern Colorado, west Texas and eastern Arizona.
The LaM Fund is managed by La Montanita, and governed by the La Montanita Board of Directors. The LaM Fund uses members’ investments to collateralize loans made and administered by the New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union (“NMEFCU”) to producers to help them scale up production and invest in new crops and products to create as complete a regional nutritional palette as possible, and cooperative businesses to help build the regional economy.
If you are interested in applying for a loan from the La Montanita (LaM) FUND, please read the following criteria carefully, and download the appliation form here. We also encourage you to download and read our statement on fair lending practices.
Loan Collateralization Criteria
Following is a list of criteria an applicant should consider before applying for a loan from the La Montanita Fund (LaM Fund). The criteria are guidelines to help the La Montanita Loan Advisory Board evaluate a project. Should you feel your project meets the spirit of the criteria, though not all the details, we encourage you to go ahead and apply. If you have any questions about the application form or need help in filling it out, please call 505-217-2027 or 877-775-2667 or e-mail:
and ask for a meeting with a LaM Fund Loan Committee member.
Loans should be for productive purposes to help you or your business provide goods or services more efficiently or economically to the community.
The business receiving the loan should be based in New Mexico and as much as possible the goods should be locally produced, using local materials, employing local people and selling to a local market.
The goods or services offered should be part of the New Mexico food-shed system and related businesses. The main intent here is to help encourage “import-replacing" food business initiatives, that is, to find ways to foster production of needed food system products and services within the region rather than importing such items from outside the region.
Production methods should be environmentally sound, using appropriate scale technology and as much as possible include good land stewardship practices, organic and sustainable production methodology, and measures for energy conservation.
The business should be socially responsible business in relation to its employees, consumers, animals both domestic and wild, and land and water use. Products and services should be of high quality and safe to the health and well-being for the community. Non-discriminatory hiring practices, fair employment terms and safe working conditions should be used at all times. Priority will be given to organizations structured as cooperatives in which workers have a significant participation in management and ownership.
A sound business plan that demonstrates the capability of the business to repay the loan.
Be prepared to demonstrate that there is a local market both through La Montanita Co-op and its Food-shed project as well as through other direct or indirect markets.
Have or plan to get experience in producing and/or marketing such a product.
Product should be of good quality and should be available at a reasonable price.
Sound bookkeeping methods should be employed by the business.
The borrower might not generally qualify for a conventional bank loan.