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


Thinking in Systems

Thinking in Systems

By Donella Meadows

In the years following her role as the lead author of the international bestseller, Limits to Growth—the first book to show the consequences of unchecked growth on a finite planet— Donella Meadows remained a pioneer of environmental and social analysis until her untimely death in 2001.

Thinking in Systems, is a concise and crucial book offering insight for problem solving on scales ranging from the personal to the global. Edited by the Sustainability Institute’s Diana Wright, this essential primer brings systems thinking out of the realm of computers and equations and into the tangible world, showing readers how to develop the systems-thinking skills that thought leaders across the globe consider critical for 21st-century life.

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.

Available in: Paperback

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Thinking in Systems

Donella Meadows, Diana Wright

Paperback $19.95

Systems Thinking For Social Change

Systems Thinking For Social Change

By David Peter Stroh

Donors, leaders of nonprofits, and public policy makers usually have the best of intentions to serve society and improve social conditions. But often their solutions fall far short of what they want to accomplish and what is truly needed. Moreover, the answers they propose and fund often produce the opposite of what they want over time. We end up with temporary shelters that increase homelessness, drug busts that increase drug-related crime, or food aid that increases starvation.

How do these unintended consequences come about and how can we avoid them? By applying conventional thinking to complex social problems, we often perpetuate the very problems we try so hard to solve, but it is possible to think differently, and get different results.

Systems Thinking for Social Change enables readers to contribute more effectively to society by helping them understand what systems thinking is and why it is so important in their work. It also gives concrete guidance on how to incorporate systems thinking in problem solving, decision making, and strategic planning without becoming a technical expert.

Systems thinking leader David Stroh walks readers through techniques he has used to help people end homelessness and increase affordable housing, improve public health, strengthen public education and access to early childhood development services, protect child welfare, reform the criminal justice system, resolve identity-based conflicts, and more.

The result is a highly readable, effective guide to understanding systems and using that knowledge to get the results you want.

Available in: Paperback

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Systems Thinking For Social Change

David Peter Stroh

Paperback $24.95

Raising the Bar

Raising the Bar

By Jim Eber and Pam Williams

“Just give me all your chocolate and no one gets hurt!”

Billions of us worldwide understand what it means to scream those words. We feel lost—even unhinged—without chocolate’s pleasures. And if chocolate is the music that makes our days brighter, fine chocolate is the symphony—the richest, most complex form in the chocolate universe. The most important movement in that symphony’s centuries-old existence is now beginning. And that future is . . . what? A world of gray monochromatic flavor, or one rich with a rainbow of flavors that capture the myriad pleasures and diversity of the cocoa bean?

In the spirit of Michael Pollan's The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate tells the story of what that next movement in the fine flavor chocolate symphony might hold. Told in four lively parts covering everything from before the bean to after the bar—genetics, farming, manufacturing, and bonbons—the book features interviews with dozens of international stakeholders across the fine flavor industry to consider the promises and pitfalls ahead. It looks through what is happening today to understand where things are going, while unwrapping the possibilities for the millions and millions of us who believe that life without the very best chocolate is no life at all.

Part One
Seeds of Change: Genetics and Flavor

The genetic story of the future of flavor cacao told through discussions with researchers, scientists, and experts around the world who are involved at the genetic level: from the mapping of the cacao genome to the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative that seeks to connect flavor to genetics to the work being done on the ground to confront the spread of low-flavor beans and ensure cacao quality and diversity for future generations. 

Part Two
From the Ground Up: Farmers, Farming, and Flavor

Discussion of the issues of growing cacao from an ecological and sustainable perspective given the reality of where it is grown. Interviews and stories cover the majority of fine flavor growing regions and myriad efforts to add value and values to fine flavor chocolate; preserve, protect, and propagate flavor cacao for the future; and ensure that the beans are as good as they can possibly be. The realities and possibilities of fair trade chocolate and the work being done on fermentation are also covered.

Part Three
To Market, To Market: Craftsmanship, Customer Education and Flavor

Can consumers learn to slow down, taste, explore, and value the costly complexity of fine chocolate? Though the future looks bright by some measurements, sometimes the numbers aren’t what they seem…. Discussions with both artisan and traditional chocolate manufacturers around the world on how they see the market and sources for fine flavor beans and what they are doing to educate their customers about their craft, including a survey of the nature of raw, organic, and functional chocolate.

Part Four 
Performing Flavor: The Art of the Chocolatier

Whether watching over those creations, traveling the world to discover new pairings, or simply taking their love of Junior Mints to the highest level, the world’s fine flavor chocolatiers are all deeply aware of the “stage” they work on and the importance of taste in every performance. The future of their creations—the most flavorful and beautiful bonbons and confections in the world—are discussed as these chocolatiers confront the issues surrounding the preservation of their craft and how they see their flavors and recipe development changing (or not) in the future.

Available in: Hardcover

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Raising the Bar

Pam Williams, Jim Eber

Hardcover $19.95

Rebuilding the Foodshed

Rebuilding the Foodshed

By Philip Ackerman-Leist

Droves of people have turned to local food as a way to retreat from our broken industrial food system. From rural outposts to city streets, they are sowing, growing, selling, and eating food produced close to home—and they are crying out for agricultural reform. All this has made "local food" into everything from a movement buzzword to the newest darling of food trendsters.

But now it's time to take the conversation to the next level. That's exactly what Philip Ackerman-Leist does in Rebuilding the Foodshed, in which he refocuses the local-food lens on the broad issue of rebuilding regional food systems that can replace the destructive aspects of industrial agriculture, meet food demands affordably and sustainably, and be resilient enough to endure potentially rough times ahead.

Changing our foodscapes raises a host of questions. How far away is local? How do you decide the size and geography of a regional foodshed? How do you tackle tough issues that plague food systems large and small—issues like inefficient transportation, high energy demands, and rampant food waste? How do you grow what you need with minimum environmental impact? And how do you create a foodshed that's resilient enough if fuel grows scarce, weather gets more severe, and traditional supply chains are hampered?

Showcasing some of the most promising, replicable models for growing, processing, and distributing sustainably grown food, this book points the reader toward the next stages of the food revolution. It also covers the full landscape of the burgeoning local-food movement, from rural to suburban to urban, and from backyard gardens to large-scale food enterprises.

Available in: Paperback

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Rebuilding the Foodshed

Deborah Madison, Philip Ackerman-Leist

Paperback $19.95