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Slow Money Continues National Grassroots Campaign: Milwaukee

As the name implies, “slow money” is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It isn’t about getting rich. It’s a plan to improve local food systems.

Woody Tasch, chairman of the Investors’ Circle (a non-profit network of angel and venture investors, or “nurture capitalists”), seeks out sustainable startups with solid business plans that are looking to improve the quality of the community’s food and the health of the land, and, basically, gives them seed money.

Make no mistake: “slow money” is not about getting 20% rates of returns on an investment. It’s about planning for a sustainable future.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

“We’re very early in this exploration, but we think it has enormous potential,” said Woody Tasch, chairman and president of the Slow Money Alliance, Brookline, Mass.

The slow-money concept promotes socially responsible investing in support of local farmers, cooperatives and production facilities in exchange for a moderate return.

The Midwest Slow Money Institute is the fifth such conference Tasch’s organization has held in the United States. The conferences will culminate in a national gathering in September at Santa Fe, N.M.

Along with municipal bonds, Tasch said, other funding ideas include: providing seed capital for a regional slow-money fund family; creating new vehicles to make it easier for foundations to invest in local food systems; and setting up a fund to help expand the size and number of community-supported agriculture outlets, where members buy a “share” of a local farm in exchange for a basket of produce each week.

“The goal is to talk about how best to build the local food movement and support financially small farmers and food producers,” said Grant Abert, a Madison-area investor and philanthropist and chairman of the event’s host committee. “What slow money is all about is creating financial intermediaries that would invest in these small, local food and agricultural enterprises.” […]

Despite a growing awareness of problems in an agricultural system that relies on shipping food to consumers thousands of miles away, little capital is going toward local food systems, said Tasch, who is chairman of Investors’ Circle, a nonprofit network of angel and venture investors and others that says it has put $130 million into 200 early-stage companies and venture funds focused on sustainability. He also is author of “Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered.”

Read the whole article here.


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