Case Study

New Markets Tax Credit Case Study for 4Roots Farm Campus

calendar iconNovember 22, 2023

Building and Enhancing Orlando’s Food System


The 4Roots Foundation (4Roots) is in the process of building a new 40-acre 4Roots Farm Campus in Orlando, Florida. With their new facility, 4Roots is hoping to encourage collaborations between farmers, teachers, food retailers, restaurant owners and the public. Founded by restaurant entrepreneur and philanthropist John Rivers, 4Roots is an alliance of community shareholders who are passionate about addressing the challenges within the existing food system in Orlando.

The development of the 4Roots Farm Campus will inspire and educate smart solutions for a stronger food system. Each program is designed around its four roots of education, health, economy and sustainability. The first phase is centered on education. The campus will serve more than 15,000 students annually by featuring a learning center, a greenhouse, a barn, apiaries, a box garden, a composting area, a community green and a distribution center. Orange County Public Schools’ K-12 grade students will be able to visit the campus and learn about sustainable and regenerative agriculture. There will also be instructional space for Valencia College’s plant science program which will educate students on different growing methods. The distribution center will help 4Roots mobilize its Feed the Need initiative by saving and redistributing produce via meals programs and its Fresh by 4Roots’ Farmers’ Markets.

Although it is built on a social enterprise model to sustain independently after construction, the development of the campus is completely dependent on charitable giving for its initial capital. The initial project phase combined corporate and private contributions with $6.75MM from Truist Community Capital, $5MM from RBC Capital Markets and $5MM from CityScape Capital Group in New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) equity.

Community Outcomes

Increase Clean Energy

4Roots Farm Campus aims to achieve certification under the Living Building Challenge (LBC) framework, instead of seeking the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Unlike LEED’s more prescriptive path, the LBC is performance-based with an objective to shift construction standards from merely sustainable, or net zero, to positive environmental impacts. 4Roots is aiming to manage their building’s energy production by using the seven performance categories of Place, Water, Energy, Health and Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty. A few of the design items the campus is using to meet these needs include rainwater storage for use in toilets, air leakage prevention, red-list-free construction materials (free of known carcinogens) and the use of cross-laminated wood in construction.

Decrease Food Waste

An estimated 40% of the U.S. food supply goes to waste every year.1 In response to this issue, the Foundation’s Feed the Need initiative and Fresh by 4Roots’ Farmers’ Markets work to mitigate this misuse while simultaneously strengthening food security. The Feed the Need initiative gathers and packages excess produce from local farmers and delivers it to 4Roots’ Community Distribution Partners. These partners prepare and distribute the groceries to food-insecure students and families. This initiative has salvaged more than 790,000 pounds of produce and served over 1.8 million meals. Its Fresh by 4Roots program further alleviates food waste by connecting local growers with consumers, which reduces the time from harvest to consumption. To date, this program has served over 20,000 farmer’s market customers and specifically targets food-insecure persons by distributing meals in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) enabled locations in tandem with their online orders for pickup delivery.

The combined investment further supports 124 direct jobs (71 created and retained permanent jobs and 53 construction jobs) in severely distressed Orlando, Florida. The census tract poverty rate is 40%, the Median Family Income is $36,000 (52% of the Metropolitan Statistical Area) and the unemployment rate is 3%.2 The skill level for new full-time jobs created will range from laborers to managers and officers. Annual compensation at the facility will average $65,000 ($31.25 an hour), with 100% of the full-time jobs exceeding the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Living Wage Index of $16.98 for Orange County. The project expects 40% of the jobs to be held by minority people, and 24% of the overall value of the construction contracts will go to minority-owned firms. The 4Roots Foundation also has existing relationships with numerous organizations that help underemployed populations find jobs such as the Jobs Partnership of Central Florida, CareerSource and Employ Florida Vets.









March 2022



The 4R Foundation, Inc.



Black Business Investment Fund, Inc. (BBIF)
RBC Community Development, LLC
CityScape Capital Group



Truist Community Capital



The 4R Foundation, Inc.



1599 N. John Young Parkway
Orlando, FL 32804






Poverty Rate: 40.00%
Median Family Income: 51.57%
Unemployment Rate: 21.70%
Unemployment Ratio: 2.61x