Lending Successful

Permanent Land Tenure

by Fisheye Farms

Where traditional financial institutions have failed to support a successful, growing farm business, Fisheye is inviting the community to step in.

Project Summary
  • Location: Detroit, MI
  • Products: Fruit & Vegetable
  • Target Raise: $150,000
  • Loan Term: 84 months
  • Interest Rate: 5.00% APR
  • Repayments Begin: 1 month after disbursement
100% of $150,000

Funded on 01/29/2021


Fisheye Farms began when Andy Chae and Amy Eckert started producing vegetables on less than one-tenth of an acre of borrowed land in Detroit, MI. After a successful first season demonstrated high market demand, they utilized Steward funding to purchase nine connected, previously vacant lots and invested in the property by amending soil, installing irrigation, and building hoophouses to support the growth of their business. Every season since, they have increased their active growing space, revenue, and community ties. Fisheye is now one of the highest producing farms in the city. 

In addition to capital building, Fisheye Farms also partnered with the Steward Farm Services team to increase operational efficiencies through bookkeeping services, website creation, and the installation of an automated online sales platform, the success of which was recently featured in Forbes. These improvements reduced their weekly administrative time by 50%, resulting in an estimated annual savings of $24,000. Even in the midst of market disruptions, Fisheye’s revenue topped $100,000 in 2020—a 10x increase since they first partnered with Steward. 

Over the last three years, the Fisheye Farms team has proven the validity and durability of their business model. Their continuous attention to the health of their soil, produce, and neighbors positions them to be a fixture of their community for years to come. 

Learn more about the farmers and their background here.

Need for Capital

Fisheye Farms’ main production site consists of 9 adjacent city lots totaling 0.89 acres. The innovative nature of this urban design is a perfect fit for their community, but it has proved challenging for traditional lenders to evaluate and support. 

The production sites have been deemed “too difficult to appraise” by most lenders, spurring the team to search for alternative financing. Fisheye's original loan with Steward includes a higher interest rate which reflected the increased risk of a start-up. Now that they have proven their business model, refinancing their current loan accordingly is a necessary step to lower their cost of capital and free up resources to continue developing their land and business.

“Financing is the hardest part of our job, and I think that’s saying something!” —Fisheye Farms

Use of Funds

This lending campaign supports a real estate mortgage loan secured by the property and assets of the nine-lot parcel. Now that Fisheye Farms’ business has been established and validated, more permanent financing will reduce their current cost of capital. Minimizing the pressures of higher interest rates will allow the Fisheye team to pay off debt sooner, commit more resources to business growth and revenue-driving ventures, and achieve their ultimate goal of owning their land outright.

Learn more about Fisheye's business operations here.

Lender Incentives

Participating lenders can expect to receive products from Fisheye when lending at the following tiers:

  • $1,000+: Fisheye Farms gear
  • $5,000+: One-season CSA share
  • $10,000+: Full-year CSA share 
  • $25,000+: Full-year CSA for full loan term

  • $50,000+: Full-year CSA for full loan term, plus one on-farm event of choice

Participating lenders have the option to donate their product incentive to a local family in need, happily facilitated by Fisheye Farms. By participating in Fisheye's campaign, lenders are not only able to support Fisheye's growth as a farm, but also provide nourishing food to families living in an urban food desert.

  • January 21, 2021

    Over $100K Raised!

    We are getting SO close to our goal! Only about $45,000 left to raise. Thank you everyone for your support!

  • January 12, 2021

    More Than 50% Of Fundraising Goal Reached!

    Thank you to everyone for supporting us! We are nearly 2/3 of the way to our crowd lending goal and are absolutely thrilled! We ask that you share our campaign with others who may be interested and complete this thing.
    With gratitude,
    Amy and Andy

  • January 12, 2021

    More Than 50% Of Fundraising Goal Reached!

    Thank you to everyone for supporting us! We are nearly 2/3 of the way to our crowd lending goal and are absolutely thrilled! We ask that you share our campaign with others who may be interested and complete this thing.
    With gratitude,
    Amy and Andy

Operating Cash Flow$23,483$51,275$64,712
Debt Service Coverage Ratio1.493.234.30

In their first year of operation in 2015, Fisheye Farms earned $10,000 while operating on a tenth-of-an-acre plot of borrowed land. In every year since they began their partnership with Steward, the farm business has recorded steady increases in operating cash flow and Debt Service Coverage Ratio, as these numbers demonstrate. The Steward team is confident in the operational plan of Fisheye Farms, the farm management team’s ability to carry it out, and the financial trajectory of the project. 

*Figures are through November 30, 2020

This loan will be made to Fisheye Farms, LLC, a Michigan limited liability company owned by Andy Chae and Amy Eckert.

It will be secured by a first mortgage on real estate located at the following addresses:

  • 4409 15th, Detroit, MI 48208
  • 4417 15th, Detroit, MI 48208
  • 4423 15th, Detroit, MI 48208
  • 4426 16th, Detroit, MI 48208
  • 4428 16th, Detroit, MI 48208
  • 4434 16th, Detroit, MI 48208
  • 4442 16th, Detroit, MI 48208
  • 2334 Buchanan, Detroit, MI 48208
  • 2306 Buchanan, Detroit, MI 48208

The loan has a seven-year term, with monthly repayments of principal and interest.

It will partially amortize over the loan term on a 15-year amortization schedule, meaning that the loan will mature in seven years, at which time there will be a balloon payment due, and Fisheye Farms will either refinance or pay off the loan with excess cash.

Loan Agreement Download
Lender Participation Agreement - Template Download

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