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Slow Money April 29-30 Gathering Connects Food Biz With Funding

[ 0 ] Mar. 21, 2013 | SBO Editor

Slow Money, named one of the “top five trends in finance,” hosts its fourth Slow Money National Gathering April 29-30 in Boulder, Colorado. (Register at www.slowmoney.org.)

In just three years, Slow Money has emerged as a major new funder of local food systems, moving $23 million into small food businesses around the country, including farms, creameries, grain mills, niche organic brands, local processing, distribution and seed companies, and restaurants. And there’s more to come. Trend spotters cite Slow Money as a solution to manage the interrelated issues of economic crisis, sustainability, food sourcing and cultural renewal.

“We have to find ways to steer meaningful quantities of investment capital to build local food systems,” says Woody Tasch, founder and chairman of Slow Money. “We have to prioritize places over markets.”

This small NGO rebuilds communities and soil by helping us re-envision how we view and invest our dollars. Slow Money is at the nexus of sustainable food and local investing, and the Slow Money National Gathering is a key event that catalyzes the flow of capital into the full range of small businesses vital to healthy local economies and a more resilient food system.

Here’s what’s happening at the fourth Slow Money National Gathering April 29-30 in Boulder, Colorado:

  • Slow Money launches a way for everyone to invest in food: The Soil Trust is a unique investment hybrid—the first of its kind—that integrates elements of microlending, philanthropy and crowdsourcing. The Soil Trust offers an easy way for everyday people to donate  small amounts of money into a collective, nonprofit fund that invests in local food-related businesses alongside local slow money investors.
  • Key people convene and share ideas: Luminaries from food, finance and the green living world are scheduled to speak, including Carlo Petrini, the founder of Slow Food; Mary Berry, Wendell Berry’s daughter who is leading the charge for the newly established Berry Center; Wes Jackson, a MacArthur Fellow and founder of the Land Institute; Winona LaDuke, renowned activist and executive director of Honor the Earth; Jeff Clements, author of “Corporations Are Not People”; and Gary Nabhan, a MacArthur Fellow often called “the father of the local food movement.”
  • Funding pitches from innovative food entrepreneurs: The Entrepreneur Showcase features   presentations from food companies of all sizes and at all stages. More than $6 million has been invested in 34 of the small food enterprises that have presented at previous national gatherings.
  • Mamma Chia Entrepreneur of the Year Prize: The first Entrepreneur of the Year Prize will be awarded this year. Organic beverage maker Mamma Chia has donated a cash gift of $25,000, which is being matched by the Soil Trust, creating a total prize of $50,000, to be given to the presenting entrepreneur who demonstrates outstanding leadership in the rebuilding of local food systems and who exemplifies the Slow Money Principles in action. The award is especially impressive because Mamma Chia itself was a featured enterprise on the Slow Money stage just two years ago.

Join Slow Money for two days of inspiration and networking with speakers, conscious investors and entrepreneurs.

Slow Money is an NGO formed in 2009 by Woody Tasch, author of the book “Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered” (Chelsea Green, 2008). Slow Money catalyzes the flow of capital to small food enterprises, organic farms and local food systems. Slow Money builds networks, hosts in-person and online events, publishes, and incubates strategies and structures for funding. To date in the United States, there are 16 local chapters and 6 active local investment clubs, with one chapter in France, and more in formation, including in Australia and South America. To learn more, visit www.SlowMoney.org. Become a fan at www.facebook.com/slowmoney. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SlowMoney.

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Category: Features