Austin, Texas: As Reported by Jarred Maxwell
Over $1.2 million invested, including seven new investments totaling $584,650 facilitated over the past 12 months; Sustainable Investment Showcase and Fall Pitchfest November 30th.
Things are moving right along here in Austin. Our investment club, the Sustainable Texas Investment Club, has now made four loans; one to a local gluten-free baking mix company, another to a local recycling company, the third to a local grass-fed beef producer, and the most recent to a local, organic farmer to drill a new well on his property. Interest in lending from our investment club is growing and we hope to deploy more capital before the end of the year.
As for our chapter events, we are hosting our Sustainable Investment Showcase and Fall Pitchfest this November 30th. This will be an all day event with a great lineup of speakers and entrepreneur presentations. Our very own Woody Tasch will be in town for the event and will speak to the crowd. We are also lucky enough to have Lee Valkenaar, Chair of the Whole Planet Foundation, speak to participants about “Putting Mission In Your Investments.” Along with these two very special speakers, local experts will give talks about mapping our local food shed, forming an investment club, updates on the JOBS Act and how it relates to crowd funding, and finally, we’ll hear some past entrepreneur success stories. We are very excited about all of our speakers, however the stars of the show will be the entrepreneurs giving presentations and networking with investors. Last year’s showcase resulted in three investments, all in the six-figures, enough to open the Salt & Time local butcher shop, launch Blue Avocado which provides eco-friendly re-usable food storage supplies, and fund the further expansion of Greenling, the nationally featured role-model for aligning tech innovation with local food distribution. We held another showcase in June of this year and some of those presenters are currently in talks with investors.
We also have some smaller initiatives in the works. We will be screening the movie Genetic Roulette at various locations this month and we were lucky enough to get invited to the SXSW Eco Conference and met some great folks.
Mainly, we have a small but dedicated group of members that are meeting on a weekly basis to continue our mission of getting information out and to create the discussions around Bringing Money Back Down To Earth.
North Carolina: As Reported by Carol Peppe Hewitt
Fifty-three Slow Money NC loans now total over $580,000 to 26 different local food businesses; growing community awareness generates steady loan opportunities.
Since Slow Money NC’s founding in May of 2010, 53 loans totaling over $580,000 have helped 26 sustainable farmers and local food enterprises from the Triangle to the coast; from Wilmington, to the mountains; from Asheville to Rosman, and several points in-between. Slow Money NC’s story was recently covered in an excellent article written for the Business section of the NC Sustainability Center’s website.
This past month, we were excited to celebrate the grand opening of a new deck at Durham’s Ninth Street Bakery, funded with several Slow Money NC loans. And Jackie Green opened Sweet Cheeks Bakery in downtown Apex, also partially funded by Slow Money.
The first of a series of Slow Money NC gatherings in Charlotte, was held on October 17 at 7th Street Public Market. A number of potential enterprises were discussed, including the aquaponics project at Sea Lavender Farm.
We are also working to help Raleigh’s Market Restaurant secure funding for their new building, which will include the restaurant and a full service grocery store, featuring fresh produce from the Raleigh City Farm. We held a gathering at Market on September 17 to kick off this project, with over 80 people in attendance.
And Slow Money NC is at work in Wilmington as well, helping Tamashii Sushi & Spoons Restaurant. Recently opened to great acclaim,Tamashii is the first sustainable sushi restaurant in the Southeast.
A recent Slow Money NC Gathering at Starrlight Mead in Pittsboro, NC included a tasting of the wide variety of mead flavors Starrlight produces, and brought together potential lenders in their expansion project along with several local farmers and friends.
Our next gathering on November 12th from 6-8pm will be held at Bella Donna Restaurant in Pittsboro. They have recently purchased their own building (a former Pizza Hut) and are transforming it into a farm-to-fork Italian restaurant. No doubt there will be some Slow Money that will help with their relocation and expansion.
For more information about all our loan recipients, and several others that are pending, check out our website.
Northern California: As Reported by Arno Hesse
SOIL Network; three entrepreneur showcases; two chapter offshoots; Crowdfunding pilot with Credibles.
This year, we hosted our three Entrepreneur Showcases, the most recent one at the National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa. Over 200 participants attended each of the showcases, building community among entrepreneurs, investors, and food activists. In many cases the new friendships extended into successful investment conversations.
More than 20 investors formed the SOIL Network. SOIL stands for Slow Opportunities for Investing Locally. Slow Money investing is a team sport, and investors discovered that it is easier and less scary when they join forces when considering investment opportunities. Modeled on the LION approach that originated in Port Townsend, WA, group members do not commit money to a pool, but agree to share their assessment of new opportunities and due diligence, in a protected zone of confidentiality. New opportunities come in front of the group by the wider Slow Money network, and have to be championed by at least one SOIL member. The SOIL Network is currently working on five local enterprise opportunities, building on several hundred thousand dollars of prior investments.
Two local sub-groups have spawned. Given the size of Northern California and San Francisco Bay Area, two local sub groups have been formed in North Bay and South Bay. They hold their own meetings and have started to make their own investments.
We started a crowdfunding pilot in which food businesses are pre-paid with edible credits, or Credibles. If you like a local food business and their products, you can fund it by prepaying your purchases, for edible credits called Credibles, to be eaten over time. The new Credibles service, which will be offered in partnership with Slow Money, is being piloted with food businesses in Northern California and New York City. It will soon be made available across the nation. For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GMO: Our right to know. Our group and its members have been avid supporters of CA Prop 37, which requires the labeling of GMO ingredients for a wide range of food products.