When it comes to bailing out small family farms, restaurants that buy only local produce, or struggling cheesemakers, Uncle Sam isn’t in much of a hurry. Those guys aren’t too big to fail. They won’t wipe out your pension fund or bankrupt a school system. They won’t tank the global economy.
But for socially responsible investors, that’s a feature, not a bug. The Slow Money movement is a way for investors to connect with their money, to see the physical fruits (sometimes literally) of their investments. It’s a way to invest in the future.
Fed up with the stock market? Sick of greedy megabanks and Wall Street bailouts? Then take your money and invest in what you eat. That’s the idea behind slow money, a movement coming into its own at a time when interest in local food is rising and exasperation over a global financial system gone wild is high.
Slow money is named after the slow food movement that developed to counteract our fast food, eat-on-the-go society. Championed by Woody Tasch, a venture capitalist, slow money is Tasch’s antidote to what he calls fast money — “money that is disconnected from people and place and so is zooming around the planet invested in very complicated, large-scale, distant things,” he explained. Slow money “is the opposite, investing in things that are close to home, that you understand, where you can know what your money is doing.”
Right now, slow money is focused on investing in local food enterprises — the organic farmer, the restaurant that uses local ingredients, the neighborhood microbrewery. But there’s no reason why the slow money principles couldn’t be transferred to other local ventures — your neighborhood news source, your independent retailers, local energy sources, you name it.