ISBN: 9781603582544 Year Added to Catalog: 2009 Book Format: Paperback Dimensions: 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 Number of Pages: 240 Book Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Release Date: May 15, 2010 Web Product ID: 496
Also in Socially Responsible Business
Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money
Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered
Tim Lloyd here, filling in for Field Notes host Jessica Naudziunas.
On this episode, it’s all about investing in tangible things at the local level.
Around three months ago, I started working on a story for Harvest and The Kansas City Star about venture capital investing in agriculture. I talked to a lot of people about market opportunity, multimillion dollar investment funds and fast-moving technology, that sort of stuff.
Along the way I came across a book that had a whole different take on the topic.
Slow Money was crafted by former venture capitalist Woody Tasch. In the book, which reads equal parts economic declaration and poetic appeal, Tasch lays out a new idea for investing that seeks balance between capital markets of uber proportion and local food systems and businesses, placing the health of soil as an ultimate dividend.
Music by The Columbia Academy of Music, check out their website HERE.
Learn more about the next Slow Money national gathering, how you can start slow money investing now and where to buy Tasch’s book by clicking HERE.
To this end, Tasch has been traveling around the U.S. for the past few years on behalf of his nonprofit, also called Slow Money, trying to connect investors with local food upstarts. Tasch is also chairman emeritus of Investors' Circle, a nonprofit network of investors that has facilitated the flow of $134 million to 200 sustainability minded, early stage companies and venture funds.
And, since this episode is all about local, I asked some musicians from a new local business in Columbia, Mo., called the Columbia Academy of Music, to help me illustrate what Tasch’s investment vision might sound like.
So, listen, think and maybe even tap your foot to the rhythm of slow money.
Each day, billions of shares flash through stock markets worldwide. Fortunes are made and lost at the flick of a keystroke, wreaking havoc on millions of people far from the trading floor. Meanwhile, both value and values are wantonly destroyed. Today we'll hear from two pioneering economists, one of them a Nobel Prize winner, who seek to slow the pace of business in order to reclaim value and values.
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Woody Tasch, Founder and Chairman, Slow Money; author, An Inquiry into the Nature of Slow Money
Muhammad Yunus, Winner, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize; founder, Grameen Bank, Bangladesh
In this week's Earth Beat: as most of us are aware, since the financial meltdown, the world of high finance is a tangle of split-second trades, massive investment portfolios and bizarre financial products. It's fast and it's volatile. And when we're talking about pension money, volatile is not a word we want to hear.
Enter the Slow Money movement. It's trying to get people to not invest their retirement funds in who-knows-what faceless, unscrupulous global enterprise, but instead, to put their cash towards small, tangible and local businesses like a farm, or a brewery, perhaps.
You Are What You Invest: Achieving Joyful Sustainability
The Huffington Post
August 12, 2010
"Mr. Gandhi," a reporter asked during Gandhi's 1930 visit to England, "What do you think of Western civilization?"
"I think it would be a very good idea," he replied.
Ouch. That is the opening line of the prologue of Woody Tasch's book, Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered. He laments starting the book with a reference to Gandhi, but there's no doubt that the above exchange sets the stage for every argument Tasch goes on to make. Following are just a few excerpts to give you a taste:
"A very good idea would be a civilization that did not strip its topsoil, turn it into cheap food and highly processed food products of questionable nutritional value, and put its faith in markets at the expense of places."
"In our devotion to money, market, and machine, we are destroying not only the fertility of the soil, but the fertility of our imaginations."
But this isn't just romantic. Kneeling at the altar of growth has not served us. A holistic approach may be all that's left... and exactly what's been missing. Tasch also calls into question big box, cheap crap that we support at the cash register and in our portfolios:
"Products produced cheaply create ugly work lives and ugly households and ugly communities. Profits produced quickly cannot purchase patience and care. Patience is beautiful. Restraint and care are beautiful."
Tasch's work isn't just about ranting about what's wrong or not recognizing the many benefits we enjoy by living in this country. It's about identifying what we know deep in our guts to be true so that we get giddy and obsessed about change. So that we can't help ourselves. So that we begin acting as if we understand that we are living and spending in a way that can no longer be supported by the earth. We've exhausted her. It hurts the beauty in our lives and the beauty of the planet.
"Every investment we make is a statement of intention, a statement of purpose, a speculation about the future of man and his role in the scheme of things, not merely a financial speculation."
Is this the case for you? Do you know where your money is invested? Have you looked closely at your mutual funds and retirement accounts? Are your investments in line with your values? Because as Tasch argues, the existing system is us. But so is a new paradigm:
"The solution lies not in the hands of economists and bankers, but in the hearts and minds and portfolios of every man and woman who puts money into the market."
In this complete interview, Author Woody Tasch illustrates the concept of Slow Money. He describes how the current economic crisis evokes fundamental questions about the future of capitalism and provides a unique opportunity to reorganize financial markets for sustainability. He explains the simple notion that if we slow down, we can enjoy life more, and challenges us to bring this concept into financial markets. Woody Tasch is chairman and president of Slow Money, a 501c3 formed in 2008 to catalyze the flow of investment capital to small food enterprises and to promote new principles of fiduciary responsibility to support sustainable agriculture and the emergence of a restorative economy. Woody pioneered the integration of asset management and philanthropic purpose in the 1990s as treasurer of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation and was founding chairman of the Community Development Venture Capital Alliance. For ten years, through 2008, he was chairman of Investors’ Circle, a network of angel investors, funds, family offices, and foundations that has invested $133 million in 200 sustainability-promoting ventures and venture funds, since 1992. Woody is the author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered (Chelsea Green Publishing Company).
Woody Tasch has thought a lot about money: what it does, how it moves, and how to connect people who have it with people who need it. He's been a venture capitalist, a treasurer and advisor to foundations, and the chairman of a network of angel investors. He even helped found a field of investing with the rather surprising name "community development venture capital."
But he found that even socially responsible investing couldn't do much to fix an economy that focused too much on extraction and consumption and too little on preservation and restoration.
YES! Magazine Web Editor Brooke Jarvis spoke with him about "nurture capital," local food systems, and why we all may soon be thinking differently about money.
Brooke Jarvis: What does the Slow Money movement mean by slowing money down and bringing money back to Earth?
Woody Tasch: Three trillion dollars a day zooms around the planet in currency markets alone. Our current financial system has, by cutting money off from people and place, allowed it to start circulating at such crazy speeds and in such complexity that no one can really understand it anymore. Even the experts don’t understand the consequences of what’s now going on. The derivatives and sub-prime mortgage mess is just one manifestation of that.
The way we slow money down is by bringing it down to Earth: connecting it directly to the land and to places where investors live. As long as how you’re investing is completely disconnected from where you live—meaning it’s just dictated by distant markets, distant companies, abstract securities—then the money can kind of circulate in this wild, crazy, volatile, and ultimately destructive fashion. If you bring money back down to Earth, connecting it to the place where you live, and all the way to the land itself, then you will be slowing money down and having a healthier outcome for all concerned.
Carl Frankel, Illustrations by Jason Cring
April 27, 2009
Woody Tasch is all about the money.
But not in an evil, greedy-bastid way. For two decades, he’s been pioneering the integration of financial investing with social responsibility. It’s an enormously important undertaking. When investment dollars go to conventional businesses—and the great bulk of funding still does—orthodox business practices are endorsed and sustained. The result: more social injustice and environment decline. When dollars stay local, on the other hand, environmental costs are reduced because there are lower shipping costs, jobs are created that aren’t subjected to the vagaries of global corporate decision-making, and the money circulates in the community, making for a much more robust local economy.
In the 1990s Tasch served as treasurer of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation and was the founding chairman of the Community Development Venture Capital Alliance. Subsequently he was chairman of Investors’ Circle, a network of angel investors, family offices, and social-purpose funds and foundations that since 1992 has invested $133 million in sustainability-promoting ventures and venture funds.
Tasch’s latest venture is the Slow Money Alliance, which aims to bring investment dollars to the emerging alternative culture centered around “slow food,” a growing global movement that celebrates community life through locally grown food and eco-gastronomy. The Slow Money Alliance’s mission, offered here in an abbreviated form, is to “support small food enterprises, catalyze increases in foundation grantmaking and mission-related investing in support of sustainable and local economies, and incubate next-generation socially responsible investment strategies.”
In this episode of Crop To Cuisine, we connect the dots between out outdated and broken economic system and our food system. We speak with founder of the Slow Money Alliance, Woody Tasch (You can get Part II of the Tasch interview at www.croptocuisine.org.) We also visit a local farm to see how Slow Money principles can take shape and sustain a farm well into the future. We also hear from Master Gardener Carol O'Meara as the gardening season takes off.