Over $98K in loans made so far with plans to do more!
Since Slow Money SWV began in March of 2013, we have facilitated six loans totaling more than $98,000 to local food business and farms in our area.
We are just getting started and are excited to do more.
Loans to Farms:
Deck Family Farm – Christine and John Deck and their family, are pasture based farmers raising grass-fed beef, pasture-raised pork, lamb and poultry. Their goal is to raise healthy, happy animals using organic methods. They respect their animals and have implemented a pasture-based system with the goal of providing a natural habitat that mimics what their wild ancestors lived. The Decks got a Slow Money SWV loan to expand their milling program to source more local grains to feed their pasture-raised hen operation. They will begin improvements with a cement pour and building two new silos in the spring. The fun thing, their lender is out at the farm working on the silos with them!
Camas Country Mill – The School House Project: Anyone who drove Alvadore Road knew the building–the weather-worn siding and abrupt facade tucked behind plum trees, a quietly decaying relic that stood out against neighboring metal farm buildings.
When the school was slated for a new life as scrap wood, Tom and Sue Hunton were captivated by the idea of moving the Lower Fern Ridge schoolhouse to Hunton’s Farm and restoring it. Sue’s background as a school teacher and her ongoing commitment to education, Tom’s penchant for taking on ambitious projects, and a shared desire to preserve the living history of the area led to their purchase of the schoolhouse from generous neighbor Sonja Davidson. The Hunton’s got a Slow Money SWV loan to continue work on their School House Project.
Loans to Food Business
Two great business got together to help each other and expand from their beginnings as food carts to brick and mortar locations in downtown Eugene. Their businesses are configured in one building back to back with a lovely bar in the middle with a shared kitchen and Oregon’s smallest dairy plant.
Red Wagon Creamery – started by Chef Emily and her husband Stuart opened their ice cream business two years ago with a cart. Their ice cream became more and more popular and in May of 2013, they moved into their own scoop shop in downtown Eugene, where all their ice creams are handcrafted in Oregon’s smallest dairy plant, using fresh, local, seasonal natural and organic ingredients. Their popularity and recognition has rapidly grown and expanded and they realized they needed more cold storage space to hold the mass quantities of fresh local seasonal ingredients they were buying to make their ice creams.
Party Downtown – Mark and Tiffany opened their food cart Party Cart in 2011 with the goal of serving mostly local and organic creative food at reasonable prices. The menu changed at least every two weeks for 2 years until they, with the help of Red Wagon Creamery, decided they needed a brick and mortar location to realize their vision. With their commitment to sourcing almost entirely local and organic food, they found that they needed more cold storage to keep everything as fresh and local as possible.
Together the Red Wagon Creamery and Party Downtown got a Slow Money SWV loan to purchase a walk-in cooler they share. The addition of a large walk-in cooler will enable them to buy larger amounts of local produce in season, cutting costs and increasing efficiencies, while helping them to expand their production and distribution.
Red Wagon Creamery got a Slow Money SWV loan for purchasing equipment to increase their production and distribution.
Bussell Sprouts –
BussellSprouts is a Eugene, OR based company dedicated to providing wholesome dairy alternatives using sustainably sourced organic ingredients processed at minimal temperatures. BussellSprouts’ s goal is to provide the Pacific Northwest with an all organic cashew spread made from local and sustainably sourced ingredients. Bussel Sprouts products can be found at many natural foods stores in the Eugene Area as as well as the Sprout! Farmers Market.
Bussell Sprouts got a Slow Money SWV loan for designing and making compostable plastic containers to replace the current jars they’re using. These containers will allow them to ship more easily, as the product will be lighter and hold up better in transit, with less breakage.
Loans to non-profit
The Willamette Farm and Food Coalitions’ origins go back as far as 30 years. They are a stalwart organization in facilitating and supporting the development of a secure and sustainable food system in the Lane Country area. With Executive Director Lynne Fessenden at the helm the WFFC has several programs supporting education and information about local foods. The WFFC has four very visible and energetic programs including (but not limited to):
- Farm to School Program (increasing kids knowledge about where their food comes from),
- Bean and Grain Project (working to stimulate the cultivation and local marketing of organically grown grains, dry beans, and edible seeds to provide year-round food resources in the Willamette Valley)
- Dollars and Sense (working toward 20% of or collective food budget spent right here in the Willamette Valley)
- Local Farms First Campaign (annually publishes the Locally Grown guide helping consumers find where to purchase their food locally)
In June of 2013, the WFFC gained ownership of a local food distribution company called Eugene Local Foods, an online farmers’ market which was created by a small Eugene start up company Local Food Marketplace.
With a rapidly growing market and demand for local foods, the WFFC realized they would need more capital to take over and grow the Eugene Local Foods project. WFFC received a Slow Money SWV loan to develop and expand the reach of Eugene Local Foods.
***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.