Working Farms Management LLC (dba Working Farms Capital) started business in 2008 by providing transitional management services to entities investing in sustainable agriculture and organic farming. One of the initial farm ventures grouped ten investors to purchase a 142 acre farm in northeastern Illinois. This venture, Iroquois Valley Farms LLC, now owns over 4,000 acres in eight states with over 300 investors and is actively raising new capital for expansion.
As background, the concept of a working farm is evolving. Historically, our soils have been treated as a depletable asset that is polluted annually with toxic chemicals and synthetic fertilizers. Organic practices supported by our company treat the soil as a living and renewable resource. Alternative farmland uses now include improvements that harvest the resources of wind, water, and the sun. New technologies and the rising environmental costs of burning fossil fuels are improving the economics for sustainable agriculture. Additionally, commodity agriculture is changing from traditional mono/row crop applications. Specialty and local markets are demanding more diverse and nutrient rich foods produced by a new generation of entrepreneur farmers feeding a more health conscious consumer.
David E. Miller, Founder & CEO
Rooted by heritage in Iroquois County, Illinois, Mr. Miller returned to his family farming community in 2005 after a 30 year career in banking and real estate financial management. Purchasing a small 10 acre family farmstead, he re-connected with local relatives farming organically. In 2007 he started Iroquois Valley Farms LLC by connecting a small group of family and friends to a 142 acre farm. In 2008, Dave founded Working Farms Capital to provide transitional management and seed capital to scale developing ventures.
Prior to seeding sustainable farmland ventures, Mr. Miller held executive positions at Bank of America, Santa Fe Southern Pacific and First Chicago Corporation. His extensive experience in structuring alternative real estate investments led to the formation of Iroquois Valley Farms, the first private company in the United States to integrate farmland and organic food production, utilizing mostly mid-size family farmers.
An MBA graduate of Columbia University’s School of Business and 1975 graduate of Loyola University of Chicago, Mr. Miller views education as the primary key to changing the nature and health of our current food production system. In this regard, Mr. Miller is the Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Environmental Sustainability at Loyola and was honored in 2014 by the university with the ‘Damen Award’ for his commitment to excellence for environmental sustainability. He resides in Winnetka, Illinois along with his wife and family. The ten acre Miller farm is devoted to experimental and native seed/grain production assisted by a small grain program at the University of Illinois.
Stephen P. Rivard, M.D., President
Dr. Rivard has a long history of entrepreneurship in the medical and health field. After earning his undergraduate and medical degrees from Loyola University of Chicago, he began a practice in the newest medical specialty of the time, emergency medicine. After 26 years – and having raised two children — he changed careers and founded Illinois Vein Specialists in Illinois in 2008, another growing medical specialty business. He also began diversifying his investments to focus on health and organic farmland. His interest in organic farming goes beyond profit. It also includes the mission of creating a more socially conscious and sustainable future for his children. Dr. Rivard is now reaching out to other physicians and health care professionals to bring attention to the varied health illnesses associated with our current food production system. Specifically, he is concerned about the growth of Type 2 diabetes, food allergies and various cancer incidences that may be associated with our food choices. He views investing in organic agriculture as a chance to both reclaim our health and sustainably grow capital.
Joseph Miller, Communications & Social Media Manager
A 2016 B.A. graduate from Loyola University of Chicago, Joseph completed studies in Communications and Environmental Science. He began working with Working Farms Capital during his Junior year where he helped with food sales and corporate communications. Joseph works closely with local farm families in telling their stories through social media including Working Farms Capital’s website and other venues.
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” — Henry David Thoreau