In 2016, Colorado Soil Systems received a $15,000 zero-percent loan from the 2Forks Club. This loan allowed us to establish a fruit-tree rootstock nursery to preserve indigenous trees that grow in the valley; purchase irrigation supplies, fencing, and soil amendments; and embark on a vegetable- and flower- production operation.
After more than 30 years in business, the SLO Natural Foods Co-op in San Luis Obispo, California, probably would not have continued to survive without the help of Slow Money SLO. Inspired by a desire to save the community’s beloved store, a group of investors started Slow Money SLO and in 2013 made $87,000 in peer-to-peer loans to help the co-op move from a tiny, rustic space to a much larger building nearby.
I am convinced that breadfruit has more potential to address food security than does any other crop in Hawaii, where we import about 90% of what we eat. Developing our local small-chain food supply is truly essential in overcoming this staggering figure.
Many people relate to angels and have their own definitions of them. In the food system world, “angels” are investors, often known as venture capitalists (VC), typically focused on startups that hold promise of fast growth and exits to allow for large financial returns. VC investors understand that only 1 out of 10 investments will likely succeed, and often choose to invest in the technology sector.
Our food system’s successes and spectacular failures account for nearly one trillion dollars of US GDP, yet the media spotlight is usually reserved for the sexier tech and financial sectors. I hear regularly about growing populations, water shortages and rapidly changing international trade policies, and still, food and its ancillary industries seem to be taken as a given in the American economic schema.
One of the most difficult things I’ve experienced about working within the Slow Money community is the uncertainty that comes with trying to move in a fundamentally new direction.
The idea was simple at the beginning, back in 2006: find a fund in which my clients could invest their money that would finance farms and businesses involved in sustainable agriculture.
Bonnie Yarbrough, owner of Buttercup Farms, was referred to Local Matters Investments, our Denver-based Slow Money investment club, by Tamara Campfield, one of our founding members and treasurer.