An Angel in New York: Derek Denckla



Derek Denckla is an investor and social entrepreneur with a unique focus on environmental sustainability. As the founder and co-chair of NYC LION (NYC Local Investing Opportunities Network), Denckla and his investors concentrate on funding small, sustainable food and farm businesses in and around New York. He is an advocate for urban agriculture and impact investing.

Denckla serves on many boards that invest in environmental sustainability, including King of the Ghosts, a holding company for farm-to-table restaurants and farms, and Mouth Foods, an online store for local, small batch artisanal foods made in and around NYC. He is also the co-chair of Slow Money NYC, a non-profit chapter of Slow Money Alliance, whose motto is “Everyone is an investor in food.” Slow Money NYC’s goal is to build an elaborate network that focuses their investments into local, sustainable food businesses.

In 2010, Denckla also founded Farm City, an action-research project that enlisted artists, agrarians and food justice advocates to create events and activities that explore the social, cultural and economic possibilities for enhancing urban agriculture in NYC. From 2009 to 2010, Denckla also blogged for Thegreenest.net, a forum dedicated to business policy and solution for sustainability.

Denckla also has his hand in green real estate in a significant way. He was the founder and former principal of Propeller Group, a sustainable consulting firm with a focus on green real estate and economic development. He has taken many other active parts in community improvement and development as well. Denckla attended Columbia University as an undergraduate, and he received his law degree at Fordham.


Farm City Fund – Founder & Principal
NYC LION – Co-chair & Founder


Sector Focus:

Environmental Sustainability, Social Entrepreneurship, Cultural Capital, Urban Agriculture, Green Real Estate Development


King of the Ghosts LLC
Mouth Foods
Slow Money NYC

Expertise areas:

Urban Agriculture, Community & Impact Investing, Sustainability Consulting, Project Management, Program Development, Special Event Production, Fundraising

Websites & Twitter:


Memorable Quotes:

On what’s exciting about urban agriculture: “I think urban farming is exciting in part because it’s one of the most provocative things you can do in a city. Urban farming is sort of an oxymoron. Farms are supposed to exist outside of the city. But by joining them together or juxtaposing them, you provide the most radical stimulus for thinking about how you alter the food system. That’s why I’m attracted to it and I think that’s why the media is interested in it. It’s provocative – something you just want to understand.”

About the author: Sarah Tibbling

Sarah Tibbling is a recent graduate from William Paterson University where she was the editor-in-chief of the university’s literary magazine, Zeitgeist. She is a copyediting intern for AlleyWatch and enjoys books, cats and the endless social media scroll.

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