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Trustee: The Root Cafe

Little Rock, AR

Why are you interested in becoming a Trustee?
Through food, education, and community, The Root Cafe is striving to make Little Rock and the South Main neighborhood a better place to live by creating a more just, sustainable, and delicious food system for central Arkansas. By working with Kiva Zip we hope to create opportunities for others in our community who share the same and other like-minded goals.
What is the mission of your organization?
Building Community Through Local Food!
In the past, how effective have you been in achieving this mission?
To date we have spent more than $200,000 with local farmers and producers in Arkansas--money that goes directly toward strengthening the foundation of our local food system. We have taken part in community events like the Bernice Garden Cornbread Festival and Pop-Up Main, and hosted others like the Hot Pepper Eating Contest and the Little Rock Beard-Growing Contest. We have been featured in the publications Garden & Gun, Taste of the South, and Arkansas LIfe, and also recognized in local Readers' Choice Awards for Best Vegetarian, Best Downtown Restaurant, and Best Lunch.
Do you belong to any organizational networks -- nationally, regionally, or locally? If yes, please list.
Sustainable Business Network of Central Arkansas; Arkansas Green Restaurant Alliance
How will you decide who to endorse as a borrower? What due diligence will you conduct?
We seek to endorse borrowers whose business, organization, or project will make Little Rock a better place to live, with an eye specifically toward improving the local food system and the local hospitality industry. Most borrowers will be people and organizations we know from the community; when this is not the case we will conduct a thorough investigation to understand background and motivation, personal and work history, and fiscal accountability and integrity. In both cases we will examine the merits of the proposed project and its potential for positive impact on the borrower and the community.
How do you plan to support the borrower, both before and after the loan is disbursed?
When necessary, the Root Cafe will provide borrowers with advice and assistance concerning business practices, growth and finance, and community planning.
How will you help us ensure that the loans you endorse have a significant and positive social impact?
Before the Root Cafe opened, we spent three years building capital through catering, hosting fundraisers, teaching food preservation workshops, and creating the Share Campaign, a model that allowed people to donate by pre-purchasing meals before we opened. This work allowed us to open the cafe almost debt-free and taught us that adequate front-end capital is a key to project success. As a Kiva Zip trustee, we seek to endorse borrowers who have a proven track record of community involvement, self-motivation, and personal and financial integrity. In new projects, we are looking for partners that have laid the groundwork for success through detailed business planning and strong social media campaigns. We are also looking for on-going projects that will benefit from a micro-loan in a very specific way, such as purchasing a new piece of equipment or capitalizing a new revenue stream. In both cases we will focus on loans we feel will have a positive impact on both the borrower and his or her community.

About The Root Cafe

Trustee Type:
Second Tier trustee
On Zip Since:
Mar 14, 2013
(41 months)
Loans Endorsed:
Total Value:
Paying on Time:
Paying Back Late:
Repaid in Full:
Repayment Rate: