Many people around the country are talking about Slow Money and starting conversations in their communities about the importance of investing in their local foodsheds.
The Slow Money national organization is also becoming a more powerful force in bring people together around this new conversation about money that is too fast, about finance that is disconnected from people and place, about how we can begin fixing our economy from the ground up… starting with food.
In the South Willamette Valley, Slow Money SWV is putting ideas like this into action following in the footsteps of a sister Slow Money organization in North Carolina (Slow Money NC). Slow Money NC, started by Carole Peppe Hewitt, author of Financing Our Foodshed: Growing Local Food With Slow Money. Carole’s book is the blueprint we are following for creating our Slow Money network, and for facilitating Slow Money loans in our community.
Following Carol’s lead in North Carolina, and using a peer to peer lending format, we had our first Slow Money SWV public Gathering in December of 2013. From this gathering we catalyzed 3 loans to local food and farming entrepreneurs totaling about $40K. We are just getting started.
Here is how it works:
#1. We encourage you to start by signing the Slow Money principles. Now is the time to stand up and be counted as someone who wants to make a difference in this crazy world of investing.
#2. Invest directly in our local foodshed. Come to one of our quarterly Slow Money SWV Gatherings. Get connected to and network with our local farmers, local food entrepreneurs, and other slow money lenders and supporters.
- Slow Money SWV supporters with available capital may choose to make loans (a minimum of $1000 is requested, as most loans range from $2,000 to $20,000) to individuals with worthwhile projects that reflect the Slow Money mission. Slow Money SWV lenders set the terms for the rate of interest and the length of time on the loans they create. (Ideally the rate of interest will be somewhere between 2 to 6% on these loans.) Their nurture capital will be lent to borrowers that they personally select.
- By submitting a Lender Information From, it simply lets us know you are interested so we can send you information about individuals whose projects you might fit for a loan. It is always entirely the lender’s decision as to how their money is loaned – to whom and together with the borrower- over what the terms and payback period are. This means you decide who you wish to lend money to, at what rate, and for how long. We just help connect you to viable, exciting local food and farm enterprises that need capital to get started or expand.
- If a loan fails, the capital is lost. Dollars put into Slow Money loans should be considered “at risk”.
#3. Tell us about your local food project that needs financing. It’s easy. Just complete a Borrower Information Form on this website. We will take a look and contact you if we have questions. We will also forward your information to potential lenders and let you know when we do. We will do our best to find interested lenders who have an interest in your type of project.
- Together the lender and borrower agree upon an interest rate (usually 2-6%) and length of the loan. They sign a Promissory Note detailing their agreement – the amount of the loan, the length of the payback period and the interest rate, amortized over the agreed period of the loan.
#4. Support your local food enterprises, and certainly the ones that receive Slow Money SWV financing.
#5. Help us find people that could benefit from Slow Money SWV loans. Spread the word, tell everyone you know about the availability of low-interest Slow Money loans.
#6. Reconnect – As Woody writes about in his book, if we each invested just 1% of our portfolios in enhancing our local food systems the change would be extraordinary. Our money could quickly go to work enriching our lives, instead of the lives of faraway bankers, hedge fund managers, and wall street executives.
***Disclaimer: Slow Money South Willamette Valley is run by a small group of volunteers who are not investment professionals. Our group organizes meetings and other educational resources about local investing. We do not offer any legal, financial or investment advice. We do not solicit, offer, recommend or endorse any investment opportunities. Any financial decisions you make are at your own risk.