What would the world be like if we invested 50% of our assets within 50 miles of where we live?
This intriguing contemplation is one of three questions asked in Slow Money's statement of principles. The other two (what if there were a new generation of companies that gave away 50% of their profits and what if there were 50% more organic matter in our soil 50 years from now?) are equally compelling. What is Slow Money and what does it have to do with your food?
The Slow Money Alliance is a group of investors and donors that are interested in creating and supporting local food systems through capitalizing small food businesses and organic farms. It is inspired by, and takes its name from, the Slow Food movement but it seeks to take things one step further in order to address, among other things, the ways that slow food is out of reach for some populations due to accessibility and costs.
The movement was spurred on by the book Inquiries Into the Nature of Slow Money -- Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered by Woody Tasch. The basic premise is that people with money to invest will put some of it into building their local food economies. The Alliance has created chapters in several US communities (as well as Switzerland) which have already begun to fund projects and invest capitol in local dairies, farms, and other food businesses. Slow Money's long-term objective is to have one million investors to commit 1% of their assets to local food systems.
But what does it look like in a real, everyday application? Here's one example: An investor in Soul Food Farm ( Vacaville, CA) invested $5000 in the farm which raises pastured chickens for eggs and meat. Each month he receives a check from the farm to pay down the principal on the loan, and two dozen pasture raised organic eggs to cover the interest.
At its core, Slow Money is about building relationships and slowing down the investing process enough to see and manage its influence. Money is one of the most powerful forces in our lives and finding wise and compassionate ways to work with it is an excellent way to bring about changes and care for the future.
For more information, visit the Slow Money website.