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


Energy Revolution

Energy Revolution

By Howard Johns

We need a global energy revolution. In developed nations we are wasting massive quantities of energy providing heat and light to our homes and businesses while one and a half billion people have no access to electricity at all. The existing central-power-station model is based on old technology that spews carbon, energy, and money straight up the chimney.

Energy Revolution shows us how we can change all of this. Telling stories from around the world of the change that’s already happening and drawing on two decades of his own unique experience, Howard Johns demonstrates how we can develop our own renewable-energy projects to provide local energy and create a new fleet of businesses.

He shows us how communities can build local energy solutions—renewable-power stations that will be a new form of building society where we come together to develop, finance, and construct the infrastructure that we and future generations so desperately need.

Howard Johns explains how to design, set up, and fund community energy systems, citing examples from countries that already have cut the amount of energy they use and supply their needs from renewable energy. These new systems will create new jobs and businesses, reduce energy imports, and create new local-investment models.

This handbook contains the map we need to change the system from the bottom up and make the next great leap forward to achieving clean, affordable energy. It covers everything needed to structure your community power company—the technology, site assessment, legal and business planning, fundraising and financial modeling, and putting people at the heart of your strategy. It’s time to take control, re-localize, reduce costs and carbon emissions, and join the energy revolution.

Available in: Paperback

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Howard Johns

Paperback $29.95

The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook & Business Advice for Organic Farmers with Richard Wiswall (Book & DVD Bundle)

The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook & Business Advice for Organic Farmers with Richard Wiswall (Book & DVD Bundle)

By Richard Wiswall

Contrary to popular belief, a good living can be made on an organic farm. What's required is farming smarter, not harder.

In this book and DVD set longtime farmer Richard Wiswall shares his story, and offers detailed advice on how to make your farm production more efficient, better manage your employees and finances, and turn a profit. 

From his twenty-seven years of experience at Cate Farm in Vermont, Wiswall knows firsthand the joys of starting and operating an organic farm—as well as the challenges of making a living from one. Farming offers fundamental satisfaction from producing food, working outdoors, being one's own boss, and working intimately with nature. But, unfortunately, many farmers avoid learning about the business end of farming, and because of this, they often work harder than they need to, or quit farming altogether because of frustrating—and often avoidable—losses. 

The DVD consists of a filmed workshop and interview, recorded at the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) Winter Conference in 2010 and at Wiswall's Cate Farm. This workshop offers invaluable exercises for business-savvy farmers, including information on the costs of running a farm, office and bookkeeping management, creating a budget and crop enterprise plan, and getting down the the nuts and bolts of business management, that's easy to understand. Through in-the-classroom footage and step-by-step guidance to "sharpening the pencil", as well as footage of Wiswall's fields, greenhouse, and barn, viewers will leave this "workshop" knowing how to achieve true profit, that will last for years to come. Also included is a bonus disc with downloadable spreadsheets for creating your own budget, marketing, profit and loss statement, balance sheet, and cash flow.

Wiswall's book, The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook (Chelsea Green, 2009), offers more on all of this information, as well as a comprehensive business kit including:

  •     Step-by-step procedures to make your crop production more efficient
  •     Advice on managing employees, farm operations, and office systems
  •     Novel marketing strategies
  •     What to do with your profits: business spending, investing, and planning for retirement

A companion CD in the book also offers valuable business tools, including easy-to-use spreadsheets for projecting cash flow, a payroll calculator, comprehensive crop budgets for forty different crops, and tax planners.


Available in: Mixed media product

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Mixed media product $49.95

Companies We Keep

Companies We Keep

By John Abrams

Part memoir and part examination of a new business model, the 2005 release of The Company We Keep marked the debut of an important new voice in the literature of American business. Now, in Companies We Keep, the revised and expanded edition of his 2005 work, John Abrams further develops his idea that companies flourish when they become centers of interdependence, or “communities of enterprise.”

Thoroughly revised with an expanded focus on employee ownership and workplace democracy, Companies We Keep celebrates the idea that when employees share in the rewards as well as the responsibility for the decisions they make, better decisions result. This is an especially timely topic. Most of the baby boomer generation—the owners of millions of American businesses— will retire within the next two decades. In 2001, 50,000 businesses changed hands. In 2005, that number rose to 350,000. Projections call for 750,000 ownership transitions in 2009. Employee ownership—in both the philosophical and the practical sense—is gathering steam as businesses change hands, and Abrams examines some of the many ways this is done.

Companies We Keep is structured around eight principles—from “Sharing Ownership” and “Cultivating Workplace Democracy” to “Thinking Like Cathedral Builders” and “Committing to the Business of Place”—that Abrams has discovered in the 32 years since he cofounded South Mountain Company on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Together, these principles reveal communities of enterprise as a potent force of change that can—and will— improve the way Americans do business.

Available in: Paperback

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Companies We Keep

John Abrams, William Greider

Paperback $24.95

Fields of Farmers

Fields of Farmers

By Joel Salatin

America’s average farmer is sixty years old. When young people can’t get in, old people can’t get out. Approaching a watershed moment, our culture desperately needs a generational transfer of millions of farm acres facing abandonment, development, or amalgamation into ever-larger holdings. Based on his decades of experience with interns and multigenerational partnerships at Polyface Farm, farmer and author Joel Salatin digs deep into the problems and solutions surrounding this land- and knowledge-transfer crisis. This book empowers aspiring young farmers, midlife farmers, and nonfarming landlords to build regenerative, profitable agricultural enterprises.

Available in: Paperback

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Fields of Farmers

Joel Salatin

Paperback $25.00