Slow Money Vermont
Reported by Janice St. Onge
Slow Money Vermont to launch in September.
Vermont is a hotbed of local food enterprises, which makes it an ideal place for Slow Money’s newest regional chapter: Slow Money Vermont. On September 16, 2014, Slow Money Founder and Chairman Woody Tasch will join Vermont local food entrepreneur Cheryl DeVos of Kimball Brook Farm to trumpet the start of the first Slow Money Network in Vermont. This comes four years after 600 people from 30 U.S. states and 6 countries came to Vermont’s Shelburne Farms for Slow Money’s 2nd Annual National Gathering.
A task force within the 300-organization Vermont Farm to Plate Network—Vermont’s statewide collaboration to strengthen the food system—incubated the new Slow Money Vermont organization. Slow Money Vermont aligns with the state’s Farm to Plate goals to increase investments and financial partnerships in food system enterprises.
Through initiatives such as the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Board and the Vermont Food Funders Network, Vermont has demonstrated the capacity to deploy millions of dollars of public and philanthropic funds to fuel the local food economy. Also, mission-based and conventional lenders have a track record in Vermont of collaborating effectively to get deals done. Building on this financing infrastructure, Slow Money Vermont will share a vision for 21st Century Main Street investing to support a viable and sustainable agricultural economy in Vermont and the region.
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 Vermont is being organized through a task force connected to Vermont Farm to Plate—the statewide initiative to strengthen the food system. Slow Money Vermont aligns with the state’s Farm to Plate goals to increase investments and financial partnerships in food system enterprises. To learn more about Slow Money Vermont, visit www.facebook.com/slowmoneyvermont.
Contact: Caitlin Jenness, co-chair of Slow Money Vermont: firstname.lastname@example.org, 603-620-3713
Slow Money San Luis Obispo
Reported by Jeff Wade.
Slow Money SLO has facilitated more than $350,000 in peer-to-peer funding and business-development coaching to more than a dozen companies.
In Fall 2012, SLO Natural Foods Co-Op faced a big decision: move from a site it had occupied for nearly 30 years to a new location in San Luis Obispo—allowing for more shelf space, off-street parking and longer hours—or close up shop. Thanks to the first set of loans from the fledgling Slow Money SLO group, the store was able to choose the former; they celebrated a grand reopening at their Victoria Avenue site in Summer 2013.
“A great collection of volunteer help and community support allowed us to make this move and be where we are a year later,” says Aimee Wyatt, president of the Co-Op Board. “The funding through Slow Money SLO made the difference between shutting down and creating this wonderful new space and source of high quality, local food.”
Slow Money SLO and SLO Natural Foods recently banded together—on their two-year and one-year anniversaries, respectively—to celebrate this success. The anniversary event, held at the Co-Op, included music, local food vendors, the SLO Natural Foods annual members meeting, and a sale on local products.
In its two years of life, Slow Money SLO has facilitated more than $350,000 in peer-to-peer funding and business-development coaching to more than a dozen companies, thanks to local investors. The result: an increase in locally produced food and employment for small entrepreneurs who otherwise might not have had funding.
Other recent Slow Money SLO success stories include Native Herbs and Honey, Reef Points Cider, and Off The Farm. Native Herbs used Slow Money SLO funds to purchase equipment and hives to expand their honey production and start bringing in revenue from pollination opportunities. They have now moved into a larger facility with a kitchen and space to offer other local products. Reef Points Cider was able to respond to a growing demand for their products with an additional source of juice and multiple harvests to draw from each year. Off The Farm translated Slow Money loans into a new line of superfood cereal, based on common ingredients in their bar product. The cereal sells out at each event Off the Farm attends and enjoys repeat orders at the initial retail locations. And the list goes on: Slow Money SLO is now in business-support discussions with four other local food businesses.
Slow Money SLO welcomes those who want to know firsthand where their money is invested and what is possible, even with a small loan. There is no membership fee to participate, and this is not an investment club. All peer-to-peer loans are made between our food and farm friends and the individuals who wish to support them. The group and its leadership simply enable these connections and support to occur.
Go to www.SlowMoneySLO.org for more information and to complete a short form to get involved, as an investor or as a food and farm entrepreneur.
Slow Money Kentucky
Reported by Larry Snyder.
Funded 4 entrepreneurs over the past 6 months for an approximate investment total of $20,000.
When you attend the 2014 Slow Money National Gathering in Louisville in November, don’t miss the opportunity to savor some of the fruits of Slow Money KY loans—and to visit some of the group’s favorite hangouts.
|Ramsi’s Café on the World in Louisville.|
First, check out Ramsi’s Café on the World, which is associated with Slow Money KY loan-recipient Raising Hope Organic Farm. The Slow Money funds helped the farm heat and ventilate its greenhouses so it could extend its growing season and boost production. Ramsi Kamar, owner of the farm and restaurant, was just named one of three 2014 Local Food Heroes by a program sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Louisville nonprofit Seed Capital Kentucky Inc., and Louisville Farm to Table.Also plan to visit Harvest Restaurant, a nationally recognized farm-to-table venue and the site of Slow Money KY’s first two quarterly gatherings, in March and June 2014. Both meetings focused on peer-to-peer lending and drew more than 70 attendees
Nine businesses presented at the two meetings, and so far, Slow Money KY has facilitated a total of $20,000 in loans, donated to four businesses, including that of Ivor Chodkowski, owner of Field Day Family Farm and part-owner of Harvest restaurant. He used the funds to build a hoop house so he could extend his growing season and offer a winter CSA program in addition to his summer CSA and farmers’ market stand.
|Ivor Chodkowski looks at tomatoes in a greenhouse at Field Day Family Farm.|
Slow Money KY has lined up four businesses to present at its next quarterly gathering on Oct. 26. Our team is also gearing up for November’s National Gathering. We look forward to showing off Louisville’s great local restaurants and sharing our local bourbons with all of our Slow Money friends.
Slow Money Northern California
Reported by Frederick Smith.
Slow Money hosting Entrepreneur Showcase during the National Heirloom Expo.
Are you interested in investing in local, sustainable food systems, but don’t know how? Join us to learn from successful, socially responsible entrepreneurs who have benefited from “slow investing” financing, including the Slow Money Northern California’s SOIL investor network. Learn how you can invest in sustainable food systems.
St. Benoit Creamery: Benoit and David de Korsak produce organic milk and yogurt, crafted in the French-style from their pasture-raised jersey cows in Sonoma County. Members of Slow Money Northern California’s SOIL network are in the due diligence process to invest in St. Benoit’s expansion.
Victorian Farmstead Meat Company: Adam and Laura Parks sell pasture raised meat and eggs from Marin & Sonoma counties at farmers markets and at their butcher shop inside Community Market in Sebastopol. Slow Money Northern California facilitated investment in Victorian Farmstead to open its butcher shop.
Peoples Community Market: People’s Community Market aims to solve the plight of West Oakland’s ‘food desert’ by building a community-owned grocery store. Brahm Ahmadi has been successful in raising over $1.1 million through a Direct Public offering (DPO), which is a public offering available to both accredited (the 1%) and non-accredited investors (the rest of us).
Benoît de Korsak, St. Benoit Creamery, Petaluma, CA
Adam Parks, Victorian Farmstead Meat Company, Sebastopol, CA
Brahm Ahmadi, People’s Community Market, Oakland, CA