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Nurture Capitalism: Putting the Brakes on Fast Money

Woody Tasch has a radical idea: what if we started taking our money and investing our values rather than chasing Wall Street’s bubbles? What if you decided to invest your money in a mutual fund of small, local, organic farmers, rather than sit back while it goes up a smokestack in China?

For many, it’s a radical idea. But it’s exactly what Tasch’s Slow Money Alliance and others are proposing as an antidote to Wall Street’s house-of-cards-style investment shenanigans that nearly sank the US economy.

From / The Slow Issue:

Money—not the paper stuff in your wallet, but the bits of data that whip around the world in billions of instantaneous transactions each day—moves too fast. So argues Edward “Woody” Tasch, a venture capitalist with a seemingly anticapitalistic ambition: to put the brakes on our money, bring it closer to home, and elevate sustainability over profits and growth.

For Tasch, it’s a goal more than 20 years in the making. In 1989, he founded one of the nation’s first venture capital funds with a conscience, but it failed to attract the $25 million in investment for which he had aimed. Later came Investors’ Circle, a network of about 150 venture capitalists, angel investors, and foundations that launched in 1992; as chairman, Tasch orchestrated the distribution of more than $130 million to hundreds of sustainable business start-ups.

All this was a mere prelude for Tasch, who resigned from Investors’ Circle a year ago to head the Slow Money Alliance, a nonprofit that hopes to do for capitalism what the Slow Food movement has done for food and agriculture. Over the next several years, he aims to raise between $50 million and $100 million in seed capital from individuals and foundations for a series of venture funds around the country, which will in turn finance thousands of sustainable local farming businesses.

“What we have to do is very simple,” says Tasch. “We have to take some of our money and invest it close to home in local food systems.”

A few years ago, with the stock market soaring, and hedge funds minting new fortunes overnight, such a proposition might have drawn snickers from the investing class—just another loopy idea from the hippie fringe.

Read the whole article here.


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