Chelsea Green Publishing

Raising Dough

Pages:288 pages
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603584289
Pub. Date June 13, 2013

Raising Dough

The Complete Guide to Financing a Socially Responsible Food Business

By Elizabeth Ü
Foreword by Michael Shuman

Business & Economy

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
June 13, 2013


More and more entrepreneurs are using food-based businesses to solve social and environmental problems - and yet the majority of them report that a lack of access to capital prevents them from launching, maintaining, or growing their ventures. Raising Dough is an unprecedented guide to the full range of financing options available to support sustainable food businesses.

Raising Dough provides valuable insights into the world of finance, including:

  • Descriptions of various capital options, including traditional debt and equity, government grant and loan programs, and cutting-edge models such as crowdfunding and community-based alternatives
  • Guiding questions to help determine which capital options are the most appropriate given the size, stage, entity type, growth plans, mission, and values of an enterprise
  • Case studies and testimonials highlighting the experiences of food system entrepreneurs who have been there before, including both success stories and cautionary tales
  • Referrals to sources of capital, financiers, investor networks, and other financial resources.

Written primarily for people managing socially responsible food businesses, the resources and tips covered in this book will benefit social entrepreneurs - and their investors - working in any sector.


“Starting a food business? Raising Dough provides an extremely useful roadmap through the financial landscape. This is a wonderful overview of the tools and techniques for capitalizing your small food enterprise.”--Woody Tasch, chairman, Slow Money, and author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money

“Enterprise and money are a representation of spirit, values, and responsibility for the whole. This book provides valuable financial guidance for entrepreneurs who are building the companies that are vital to a sustainable society. Elizabeth Ü offers important insight for a new era of good business.”--Joel Solomon, chairman, Renewal Funds 

“In this book, Elizabeth tells the revealing truth of what it takes to raise capital for mission-driven food businesses and the extraordinary creativity and perseverance required to succeed. Her book also shares inspiring stories about entrepreneurs who are making breakthroughs and innovations in fundraising. No one who is thinking about starting and raising money for a food business should do so without first reading this book.” --Brahm Ahmadi, CEO and president, People’s Community Market

“Great business ideas need money behind them, and Elizabeth Ü shows us how to attract and steward investors who are looking beyond profit and toward the benefits that a mission-driven business brings to the community it serves. I wish this book had been around when we were looking for equity investors in Cowgirl Creamery.”--Sue Conley, cofounder, Cowgirl Creamery

“Elizabeth has written an absolutely critical book for social entrepreneurs. She provides a unique perspective on how different kinds of capital can be blended and sequenced. If you are not familiar with how to attract grants, low-interest loans, equity, loan guarantees, etc., to grow your business, you’ll find this to be a hugely valuable investment in yourself. Read it, use it!”--Don Shaffer, president and CEO, RSF Social Finance

“The foundation of a new economy is an equitable society that values everyone. Localists know this requires working on multiple fronts, and community capital is one of the most important. Elizabeth’s book covers the many ways to connect any local businesses—not only those related to food—with local lenders, investors, and donors.”--Michelle Long, executive director, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)

Raising Dough is an invaluable resource for socially minded farmers and food entrepreneurs. Elizabeth Ü’s clear-eyed, nuts-and-bolts advice demonstrates that, like food, finance can be sustainable, too.”--Amy Cortese, author of Locavesting: The Revolution in Local Investing and How to Profit from It

“As a food entrepreneur, I learned how challenging it is not only to find money but to find the right money. Elizabeth’s book is an important tool to help food entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses in a way that supports their vision—so that their food start-ups can thrive and change the world.”--Sheryl O’Loughlin, executive director, Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, cofounder and former CEO, Nest Collective (now Plum, Inc.), and former CEO, Clif Bar & Company

“Successfully financing food enterprises is paramount to building a just, fair, and healthy food system. Elizabeth’s book shows us how to get it done. Raising Dough is an excellent addition to the literature of the sustainable food movement.”--LaDonna Redmond, executive director, The Campaign for Food Justice Now

“Elizabeth Ü has created a formidable one-stop guide to the brass tacks of building a successful sustainable food business. For everyone who’s ever wanted to turn their passion for sustainable food into a thriving business, this book is for you.”--Anna Lappé, founder Real Food Media Project and author, Diet for a Hot Planet

“Where has this book been all my life? This step-by-step guidebook to financing food businesses is vitally needed today. In this rapidly evolving field, Raising Dough is a key contribution.”--Marjorie Kelly, Tellus Institute fellow and author of Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution


Elizabeth Ü

Elizabeth Ü is executive director of Finance for Food, a nonprofit that educates food-system entrepreneurs in the United States about the full range of financing options available to support them. Elizabeth has extensive experience at the intersection of sustainable food systems and social finance—helping food-based business owners identify appropriate—and mission-aligned—financing opportunities based on their unique situations and values.

Elizabeth previously served as manager of strategic development at RSF Social Finance, helping launch a loan fund to support high-impact, sustainable food ventures. She has served on staff at the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), and spent two years as program officer of Slow Money, then a project of Investors' Circle. Elizabeth regularly speaks and gives workshops on the topics of impact investing, social finance, and sustainable food systems at conferences geared toward foundations, financiers, investors, philanthropists, nonprofits, and social entrepreneurs.

A Food and Community Fellow of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Elizabeth holds a BS in geography from McGill University and an MBA in sustainable management from Presidio Graduate School. She lives in San Francisco, California.



Slow Money Minute

Elizabeth U - Financing Food Systems

Money's Many Shades of Green: Elizabeth U at TEDxManhattan

Money's Many Shades of Green: Elizabeth U at TEDxManhattan


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By Donella Meadows and Jorgen Randers and Dennis Meadows

In 1972, three scientists from MIT created a computer model that analyzed global resource consumption and production. Their results shocked the world and created stirring conversation about global 'overshoot,' or resource use beyond the carrying capacity of the planet. Now, preeminent environmental scientists Donnella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and Dennis Meadows have teamed up again to update and expand their original findings in The Limits to Growth: The 30 Year Global Update.

Meadows, Randers, and Meadows are international environmental leaders recognized for their groundbreaking research into early signs of wear on the planet. Citing climate change as the most tangible example of our current overshoot, the scientists now provide us with an updated scenario and a plan to reduce our needs to meet the carrying capacity of the planet.

Over the past three decades, population growth and global warming have forged on with a striking semblance to the scenarios laid out by the World3 computer model in the original Limits to Growth. While Meadows, Randers, and Meadows do not make a practice of predicting future environmental degradation, they offer an analysis of present and future trends in resource use, and assess a variety of possible outcomes.

In many ways, the message contained in Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update is a warning. Overshoot cannot be sustained without collapse. But, as the authors are careful to point out, there is reason to believe that humanity can still reverse some of its damage to Earth if it takes appropriate measures to reduce inefficiency and waste.

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Feminists opened up thousands of doors in the 1960s and 1970s, but decades later, are U.S. women where they thought they'd be? The answer, it turns out, is a resounding no. Surely there have been gains. Women now comprise nearly 60 percent of college undergraduates and half of all medical and law students. They have entered the workforce in record numbers, making the two-wage-earner family the norm. But combining a career and family turned out to be more complicated than expected. While women changed, social structures surrounding work and family remained static. Affordable and high-quality child care, paid family leave, and equal pay for equal work remain elusive for the vast majority of working women. In fact, the nation has fallen far behind other parts of the world on the gender-equity front. We lag behind more than seventy countries when it comes to the percentage of women holding elected federal offices. Only 17 percent of corporate boards include women members. And just 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by women.

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Some of the biggest problems facing the world—war, hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation—are essentially system failures. They cannot be solved by fixing one piece in isolation from the others, because even seemingly minor details have enormous power to undermine the best efforts of too-narrow thinking.

While readers will learn the conceptual tools and methods of systems thinking, the heart of the book is grander than methodology. Donella Meadows was known as much for nurturing positive outcomes as she was for delving into the science behind global dilemmas. She reminds readers to pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable, to stay humble, and to stay a learner.

In a world growing ever more complicated, crowded, and interdependent, Thinking in Systems helps readers avoid confusion and helplessness, the first step toward finding proactive and effective solutions.

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Readers meet the historians, railroad executives, transportation officials, politicians, government regulators, railroad lobbyists, and passenger-rail advocates who are rallying around a simple question: Why has the greatest railroad nation in the world turned its back on the very form of transportation that made modern life and mobility possible?

Distrust of railroads in the nineteenth century, overregulation in the twentieth, and heavy government subsidies for airports and roads have left the country with a skeletal intercity passenger-rail system. Amtrak has endured for decades, and yet failed to prosper owing to a lack of political and financial support and an uneasy relationship with the big, remaining railroads.

While riding the rails, McCommons explores how the country may move passenger rail forward in America--and what role government should play in creating and funding mass-transportation systems. Against the backdrop of the nation's stimulus program, he explores what it will take to build high-speed trains and transportation networks, and when the promise of rail will be realized in America.

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