We are excited to announce the second webinar in our new series. Each month, several guests will join Slow Money founder and chairman Woody Tasch for a 90-minute webinar to discuss issues related to local food economies and Slow Money investing.
Our second webinar, “Castanea Foundation and Ayers Brook Goat Dairy: An Innovative Ag Investment Model” begins at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, Tuesday January 29 (that’s 11 a.m. Mountain Time, 12 Noon Central, 1 p.m. Eastern). We will bring you into a conversation about the investment details of Ayers Brook Goat Dairy, a demonstration farm that is modeling best practices for goat dairy farmers and is catalyzing the industry (see our Newsletter story). Allison Hooper, co-owner of Vermont Creamery and co-founder of Ayers Brook Goat Dairy, and Tim Storrow, executive director of the Castanea Foundation that invested in the dairy, will join Woody.
Woody, Allison, and Tim will be discussing the Ayers Brook Goat Dairy agricultural investment model that is creating a demonstration goat dairy, securing a viable income stream for the farm, pairing three non-profit partners in the pooling of capital to purchase farmland that includes funding for a farm easement to conserve prime farm soil as well as capital for the startup.“Our first goal is a return of capital,” says Tim of the investment. “If we get our money back, plus a return that allows us to continue with our mission, that’s great. But if we get our money back, and that’s all that happens, but 15 years from now there are half a dozen additional commercial goat dairies in Vermont, that’s a home run for us. We’ve strengthened the local food economy, created economic opportunity and conserved land with responsible management. That’s the bottom line.”
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any registration questions.
Allison Hooper, the Award-winning cheesemaker, is cofounder and owner of Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery. She serverd as President of the American Cheese Society from 2005 to 2008. Here’s how Allison explains her journey: “As they say, ‘time flies when you’re having fun.’ And what a fun wild ride we’ve had. A quarter century ago, $2,000 of savings and a $4,000 loan from an ag-minded Vermont church made possible our first debut of fresh goat cheese in the milk house on the farm in Brookfield. We sold first at farmers’ markets, then to food coops and French chefs. Back then, fresh chèvre, so popular today, was a dazzling exotic foreign delicacy for American palates. Today, more than 25 years later, we are humbled. We have won more than 100 national and international awards. Our butters and cheeses populate some of the most prestigious cheese boards in America. But what makes us proudest perhaps is that we have sustained a team of family farms and creamery artisans. Together, we thrive making simply great cheese for discerning, appreciative eaters, home cooks and discriminating chefs alike.”
Tim Storrow is Executive Director of Castanea Foundation, Inc., a private operating foundation established in 2005 and based in Montpelier, Vt. Castanea’s mission is the conservation of the working landscape in Vermont and select areas in New York State. As Castanea started operations the decision was made to focus on the economics of agriculture, particularly alternatives to commodity dairy farming (the region’s major, but struggling farm sector), ensure affordable land access, and enable families to make a living from farming. Accordingly, our sector focus is primarily meat and cheese, two areas where Vermont’s geography, livestock-based farm culture, and proximity to Boston and NYC markets help tap into the growing consumer demand for farm to table “branded” products that can translate into viable farm incomes. To further its mission, Castanea has taken on the role of equity investor, lender, non-profit developer, as well as traditional grant maker. Castanea takes a collaborative approach, seeks like-minded partners, and approaches projects with an agricultural producer bias (no farmers/ agricultural related businesses – no food – no working landscape – no resilient rural communities). Since 2005 the foundation has deployed about $22M and less returns, payoffs and re-sales has made a net investment of about $9.5M to support its mission. Tim also serves on the Board of Managers for the Vermont Flexible Capital Fund, a near-equity social impact investment fund www.vsjf.org, and is manager and coowner of Gill Organic Grains, LLC (a part-time organic grain growing endeavor). He is a graduate of the University of Vermont with degree in Agriculture and Environmental Studies, holds a Masters Degree in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School.
Woody Tasch, Founder and Chairman of Slow Money, pioneered the integration of asset management and philanthropic purpose in the 1990s as treasurer of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation and founding chairman of the Community Development Venture Capital Alliance. For ten years, through 2008, Tasch was chairman of Investors’ Circle, a network of angel investors, family offices, and social purpose funds and foundations that has invested $150 million in 230 early stage sustainability-promoting ventures and venture funds, since 1992. Since mid-2010, Slow Money investors have placed over $21 million in more than 180 small food enterprises around the U.S. and a few abroad. Woody is the author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered (Chelsea Green Press).