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Slow Money: Investors Show an Appetite for Slow Food

Woody Tasch, author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered and co-founder of the Investors’ Circle sustainable investing group, is taking the slow money movement nationwide. His goals? To invigorate local economies, renew the soil, create shock-proof communities, and slow down the culture of greed that led to the global financial collapse of 2008 and the Great Recession of 2009.

You know. No big deal.

From the L.A. Times:

What is slow money?

A network of investors, donors, entrepreneurs and others committed to building and steering major new sources of capital to local food systems. More broadly, it’s part of a larger questioning in the wake of the financial craziness of the last X number of years, part of an emerging dialogue of fundamentally rethinking how to repair some of the problems of globalization and, including, markets gone crazy.

How can slow money help small local businesses?

Local food systems are just one pillar of local economies. Small businesses that have more direct, strong connections to their local customers and investors from the region are going to be more resilient and stronger businesses. This is all about building relations on local and regional levels of enterprises on one side and investors on the other.

Are you creating these networks from the ground up?

It’s a big job, and it needs to happen relatively quickly for our health and security in face of future shocks of various kinds. Depending on how much money starts coming through Slow Money, we would be seeking to put that network in collaboration with existing networks and intermediaries to the extent possible. Where needed, we are also very willing to create new ones.

You want to create new capital markets to invest in sustainable, local, food-related businesses?

That’s the beauty and challenge of what we are doing with Slow Money. It’s not a typical fund structure. We didn’t go to market to raise a $100-million fund. We are actually gathering a lot of people with us and looking at how can we do this on a mass scale.

How can we take it forward and have maximum impact in the shortest amount of time? Because I feel a real sense of urgency. There is a chance we can actually get organized around this and then move as fast as we can in other sectors.

Many small-business owners are struggling in the recession. Why should they take the time and possible risk to find more local places to invest their money?

This is a transition. This is not one-size-fits-all. But it’s a direction people know deep down we need to go in, so people just need encouragement and to take whatever small steps they can.

People shouldn’t feel like they have to jump overboard, but let’s realize as a society and economy that we are very imbalanced right now, dependent on distant sources of supplies from people we don’t know. It sounds like I am an isolationist, and I don’t mean it that way. But an element to this is we are not in control; we are not creating what we need.

Read the whole article here.


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