LOCAL NETWORKS & INVESTMENT CLUBS
Twenty-four local networks and 13 investment clubs have formed, with many more in formation.
Network and Club Directory. Click on a state for more information.
SOUL’utions is a network of organically formed investment clubs that invest in socially responsible businesses and vulnerable communities. Employing a crowd-sourcing approach, SOUL’utions allows those with modest investment dollars to collaborate and act as a collective, putting their money toward rehabbing their communities, supporting local food-based businesses and inspiring young entrepreneurs to create the next big thing. As each community has a fairly firm grasp of its particular challenges, each club can employ a targeted, specialized approach that is relevant to effectively address issues. This system allows for the type of transformational change needed to help economically ravaged communities surface from the devastation to become more self-reliant and resilient.
Slow Money Northern California Network
Covering the larger food shed of the San Francisco Bay Area, Slow Money Northern California is a network of investors and entrepreneurs who seek to seed, nurture, and grow a local economy based on principles of collaborative knowledge sharing, mutually reinforcing relationships, community participation, fairness, diversity and sustainability. We create the space and opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses, create partnerships, and tap into resources that will help them build productive, ecologically friendly enterprises.
Slow Money SLO Network
San Luis Obispo, CA
The San Luis Obispo County network was founded in the summer of 2012 following a local presentation by Woody Tasch and the gathering of a group who wanted to support SLO Natural Foods, a local co-op grocer. The co-op needed to expand and move into a new location to survive after 25 years providing healthy, local food to the community.
Almost three years later, and having assembled peer-to-peer loans to assist 11 food entrepreneurs, as well as business planning and development advice to five others, the network is proud to continue helping local food and farm businesses where traditional lending is not an option.
Going forward, the group is building partnerships with other local food supportive entities. Through these relationships, the overall benefit provided to emerging entrepreneurs is multiplied. Ongoing interaction with funding recipients helps them grow and reveals common challenges small food businesses in the region may encounter. Understanding and dealing with these issues will help make future entrepreneur investments more insightful and sustainable.
Colorado Food Investments Club
The mission of Colorado Food Investments, LLC is to support a vibrant and healthy local food system by making small loans to farmers, producers, and food system entrepreneurs in Colorado who do not have access to traditional sources of growth capital. We value investment in sustainable food products and the communities that create and consume them.
Living Soil Investments Club
Fort Collins, CO
Started in 2013, this community-based group offers microloans to local farm/food enterprises. To date, we've supported equipment repair for a pie shop, build out for a new bakery and a walk-in cooler for a CSA farm. We've only just begun.
Local Matters Investments Club
We are a group of persons passionate about investing in and supporting local food and economy (local matters). We presently have 17 members with many others attending our meetings. We meet on the 4th Thursday of each month and celebrate local foods by having fun and everyone bringing locally produced foods and beverages to our meetings. Since forming in the fall of 2013, Local Matters has made loans totaling $103,000 to local food producers, two of which have already repaid in full.
2Forks Club Club
2Forks is the first local Slow Money club to form as a nonprofit with its own 501(c)(3). Members have contributed from $250 to $15,000, providing the club with its initial capitalization of $100,000 in April 2015. The club will make zero percent loans to small food producers in the Roaring Fork and North Fork valleys.
As a community-based nonprofit, 2Forks considers education a vital part of its mission and will explore ways to promote Slow Money's vision and increase public awareness about connections to food, money and the soil.
Slow Money Georgia Club
Recent P2P loans made by Slow Money Georgia network members to Fertile Crescent growers funded seeds and trees for an urban grower collective, and a fence enabling a long-time community garden manager to begin market gardening.
Our food system peers at Georgia Food Oasis held a successful inaugural Potluck & Pitch event March 31st at the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Attended by over 70 people active in the local healthy food movement. Entry fees plus a donation from the Food Well Alliance were awarded to Cooking with C.H.O.I.C.E.S., a community-driven organization offering free cooking classes for youth. (Event coordinators and presenters are pictured.)
Iowa Pollinators Club
Iowa City, IA
After a full year of marketing and networking, Iowa's first Slow Money investment club, Iowa Pollinators, issued its first loans in early 2015. One is to an experienced Mexican cheese maker for equipment and start up costs, and the second is to an organic produce farmer for a cooler and related infrastructure. The group sent two Pollinators to the National Slow Money Master Class in 2014, where they gathered tips and tricks they shared with the group. Iowa Pollinators then made adjustments to their original loan offerings and started a process to learn more about what local food and farm businesses need most. They thank the Slow Money community for the help!
Slow Money NE Kansas Network
Our network is home to Slow Money's 2014 Entrepreneur Showcase winner, Rosanna Bauman. We know Slow Money works--even in Kansas--because we've watched this small family farm establish two new, regionally important enterprises within just a few months, thanks entirely to Slow Money loans! (Cedar Valley Farm Non-GMO feed hub, and USDA certified Bauman's Butcher Block.)
While we are Slow Money "Northeast Kansas," we are rapidly evolving into a network that crosses the state line into Missouri, including the greater metropolitan Kansas City area where urban agriculture, food and farm activism thrive. We are a loose but happy collection of farmers, ranchers, bankers, financial managers, students, professors, non profit leaders, philanthropists and foodies.
Slow Money Kentucky Network
In 2014, we catalyzed over $70,000 to 9 small food enterprises. Five of the loans were peer-to-peer, and 4 were via Kiva Zip. Funds supported hoop houses in Louisville and Southern Indiana, extending growing seasons, and the first-ever winter CSA in Louisville.
Results we plan to achieve in 2015: Have a bigger impact by increasing the amount of money loaned to local, sustainable food enterprises.
Slow Money Boston Network
Slow Money Boston is a network of investors, entrepreneurs and engaged community members who seek to seed, nurture, and grow a local food economy by upholding Slow Money principles. We create the opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses to the community; create partnerships between investors, entrepreneurs and mentors; and engage the community to promote financially and ecologically sustainable businesses.
In 2014, Slow Money Boston hosted six events for our community, including workshops, speakers and showcases. We coached and featured twelve entrepreneurs at our showcases. Over 300 members of our community attended at least one event. We are looking forward to 2015 as another year of growth and learning, and are particularly excited about hosting the Slow Money Regional Gathering for the northeast this coming May.
Slow Money Pioneer Valley Network
Pioneer Valley, MA
Slow Money Pioneer Valley is moving ahead as part of a network of well established and active groups in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts that have been promoting the local food system for years, including PV Grows, CISA, Common Capital and the Franklin County CDC. Among the initiatives currently being undertaken by this group of aligned organizations are two that bear special mention: the launch of the PVGrows Investment Fund in March, and the PV Grows Spring Forum in April. The Fund will engage accredited and non-accredited investors with investments of $1,000 and up to provide financial support to local food producers in the form of loans of up to $250,000. The theme of the Spring Forum this year will be "Land: the Foundation of a Healthy Food System" and will bring together producers, investors and technical experts to explore how high quality land can be further enhanced, preserved and made available to local producers.
SMPV is coordinating its efforts with these strong foundational initiatives and organizations, focusing on connecting local food entrepreneurs with investors through showcases, information sessions and its website. Last year, SMPV cosponsored a workshop for local food entrepreneurs with Jenny Kassan of Cutting Edge Capital to review the options for raising funds, including through Direct Public Offerings, and several entrepreneurs followed up by participating in a "DPO Boot Camp" in the fall. SMPV is building its own organization capabilities this spring by recruiting additional members to its Steering Committee, and will send several entrepreneurs to the regional SM gathering in Boston in May, to be followed by a Pioneer Valley showcase in the Fall.
Sprout Lenders Club
Sprout Lenders is an investment club of entrepreneurs and professionals from banking, food, the nonprofit sector, and beyond who hope to strengthen the community economically, nutritionally, socially and environmentally by investing in the local food system. Sprout Lenders supports a vibrant and healthy local food system by making loans to farmers, producers, and food system entrepreneurs that serve the greater Boston area.
Slow Money Maine Network
Slow Money Maine is a vibrant network of farmers and fishermen, philanthropists and investors, new farmers and ninth generation farmers, business novices and seasoned executives, for profits and non-profits. We hold gatherings six times a year to provide businesses and funders the opportunity to share their stories. The gatherings help attract investors and experienced business people who we connect to businesses to provide funding and technical assistance to help entrepreneurs up the learning curve.
In our first five years we have catalyzed the flow of more than $10 million in 277 transactions to 76 businesses in the form of loans, grants and equity investments. 80% of the funds have come from individuals, with the balance coming from foundations, government and non—profits.
In Maine we are experimenting with several models for making Slow Money investments. We have made working capital loans, bridge loans, uncollateralized loans and mortgages recorded at the registry of deeds. Loan guarantees have helped leverage institutional funds. With Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and Maine Farmland Trust we are starting a state-wide credit union that will democratize slow money investing, allowing MOFGA and MFT members to create FDIC insured deposit accounts that will fund loans to farmers. We are working with philanthropists and foundations to encourage program related investments with endowment funds. We are learning by doing, and modifying as we go.
Maine Organic Lenders Club
In Maine Organic Lenders (MOL), loan applications are reviewed by the group, but members decide individually at what level each person wants to participate in a loan, if at all. Maine Organic Lenders members will lend up to a total of $25,000 per borrower. In its first year and a half of operation, Maine Organic Lenders members have loaned $87,500 to six borrowers.
No Small Potatoes Club
No Small Potatoes (NSP), which pioneered the Slow Money investment club model in 2011, pools members’ investment capital, and members decide collectively how to loan club funds. No Small Potatoes Investment Club now has 19 members who each have invested $5,000 in the club. NSP makes microloans of up to $10,000 to farms and small food businesses that source predominantly from local farmers (no chocolate companies in our portfolio!). To date we have made 30 loans totaling more than $150,000 to 24 farms and small food businesses.
Our loans have helped farmers increase revenue and/or work more efficiently. We have financed a milking parlor expansion, a cheese room, cold storage and hoop houses, a van to take produce to market, herd expansion, and on-line sales software design. Our loans help reduce operating costs by helping farmers buy labor saving equipment such as tractor attachments and tillers, shelving to organize storage or drip irrigation. When borrowers need more than $10,000 we often team up with other lenders (including Maine Organic Lenders). We are now providing credit references to borrowers who are ready to refinance or take on bigger loans.
Slow Money North Carolina Network
Since Slow Money NC began in 2010, we have facilitated over 130 loans totaling more than $1.4 to 63 local food businesses and farms around the state. You can read about the marvelous farmers and local food entrepreneurs here. And can learn how to get a Slow Money NC loan, or how to become a potential Slow Money lender.
Let's Eat Investment Group Club
Inspired by Slow Money and the Slow Money Investment Club model, the Let's Eat Investment Group has a goal to help connect local investors and capital to small food enterprises in Nebraska and Iowa. As of early 2015, we have 14 members and have $70,000 to loan. We are currently searching for loan candidates and 6 more group members.
We have monthly meetings at 5:30 PM on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Location varies.
Slow Money New Mexico Network
Santa Fe, NM
Slow Money NM is a network of people and organizations dedicated to growing the local economy, fostering the triple bottom line, and making local investments. There are a number of local initiatives that advance this agenda, including Investment Network Santa Fe, UpSpring, and Innovate ABQ.
Slow Money Central Ohio Network
Slow Money Central Ohio is a non-profit organization that advocates and promotes the education of the general public regarding socially responsible investment practices that preserve and restore soil fertility, promote organic farming, local food communities, cultural and biological diversity, and nonviolence.
Through workshops, networking gatherings, and other outreach events aimed at bringing together investors, philanthropists, “good food” entrepreneurs, and farmers, we have catalyzed over $500,000 in investment capital since our inception in 2012. Slow Money Central Ohio has made a difference for Lucky Penny Farm, Rock Dove Farm, Storehouse Tea, Acre Food-to-Table Restaurant, Snowville Creamery, and the Commissary.
Local Loans for Local Foods (LL4LF) Club
Local Loans for Local Foods is a network that holds quarterly gatherings for introductions, sharing, presentations and networking with refreshments. Results are about 80-90% peer-to-peer loans, with the remainder payable in goods or equity investments.
Slow Money South Willamette Valley Network
Inspired by a visit from Woody Tasch to Eugene, OR in March 2013, a small group of people began meeting to see how we could help build resilience in our local food and farming economy by catalyzing low-interest peer to peer loans to local sustainable food and farming businesses.
We are working with the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition as our fiscal sponsor, we are operating as a non-profit (as in ALL volunteer) and started out helping make low-interest, short-term loans.
Using the peer to peer lending model we catalyzed six, short-term, affordable, direct loans to farms and local food businesses totaling over $98,000.00. In January of 2015, the state of Oregon passed a new crowdfunding law.
Since January 2015, we have been working with local farm and food business to use this new option to raise up to $250,000.00. Oregon’s new local investing law creates a cost-effective, accessible pathway for Oregon businesses & startups to raise capital directly from Oregon residents.
Based on national savings data, only 1 percent of Oregonians savings amounts to an estimated $915 million. If we can help Oregonians invest as little as one percent of their savings into local food and farm businesses we could put almost a BILLION dollars into the state's economy.
Slow Money Austin Network
Slow Money Austin is working hard to bring together organizations and members of the community around the discussion of strengthening our local food system. To ensure our current and continued success, we are building relationships with key service provider and filling gaps as they are exposed.
We have also become a Kiva Zip Trustee to help facilitate the involvement of retail investors. We are also very proud to announce the formation of a locally based network of accredited investors - The Austin Foodshed Investors - to encourage those that are active in the institutional investment space to slow some of their money down.
Slow Money Dallas/Fort Worth Network
Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex (DFW) has long been ready for its own Slow Money network. It is with great enthusiasm that we announce the launch of this group.
Our focus is on empowering local food entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. We bring together concerned citizens, we mobilize the community to rally support for existing local companies looking to grow, as well as start up companies looking to enter the food production marketplace. Bringing angel and community investors and community leaders together to ensure DFW has a strong and sustainable food economy is our goal.
Sustainable Texas Investment Club Club
We are a group of Central Texas individuals that believe in the importance of local sustainable agriculture. We are active supporters of the Slow Money movement and want to support Slow Money businesses with some of our money. Club members have each contributed to a common fund so that we can loan money out to local sustainable agricultural enterprises that we believe will make for a better community.
We like to loan between $500 and $5000 for up to 5 years to enterprises run by people we have come to know and trust. We make lending decisions as a group and meet once a month to consider new proposals.
Slow Money Vermont Network
Slow Money Vermont is an emerging network that aims to inform, inspire and connect individuals, businesses, philanthropists, and investors interested in building a sustainable local and regional food system and to catalyze new investment opportunities in the people, businesses and communities that contribute to a sustainable food economy.
Slow Money Francophone Network
Paris, Geneve, and Brussels
Slow Money Francophone has developed partnerships with actors of the social and food economy such as Terre de Liens and Intelligence Verte. SMF is also close to an investors group to promote Impact Investing. The first task was to establish new investment tools to bring financing to the local food system and it was done with a 100k€ investment in an organic seed company. Other investments based on royalties should follow for food companies and farmland.
Started under Slow Money Francophone, Slow Money Switzerland has developed partnerships with environmental association Nice Future and investment group Sustainable Finance Geneva. Financing for a local organic restaurant and a local brand of energy bar are underway.
Started under Slow Money Francophone, Slow Money Belgium has developed partnerships with Slow Food Brussels and a government institution promoting local economy and food security. With the help of the Lunt Foundation, the first investment was made in a website connecting local producers with buyers.