As I was perusing the web for some "good news", I ran across an article that mentioned the term "slow money". I thought how familiar it sounded to the "slow food" movement and knew I needed to read on this. Is is really about sustainability? Replenishing the soil? Supporting your local food system? Community? If so, that's some great news!
Here’s the story behind slow money and the person who is backing it.
What if the money you invested stayed within 50 miles of where you currently live and was committed to local merchants and growers who put at least 50 percent of their profits back into the community? "What if, instead of making a double-digit return on a fast-money transaction that exploited Third World villagers and pumped up corporate profits artificially, you could get a steady 2 percent to 3 percent return on money that dramatically improved the quality of life in your own neighborhood? This is where the concept of "slow money" comes in. Coined by Woody Tasch, a former venture capitalist "slow money" — gives to his philosophy that combines a passion for social enterprise with the benefits of locally grown food.
Tasch is spearheading a national campaign to persuade at least 1 million Americans to donate between $25 and $1,000 each to help create a grassroots, nonprofit seed fund to support and grow local food businesses and family farms. He wants to build and test the concept of something he calls "nurture capital" — a healthier and more sustainable alternative to venture capital for funding new businesses. It's time, he says, to shorten the distance between investors and their investments. It's also time, he says, to create new economic models that deliver a return but that also put community, soil fertility and the environment at the bottom line.
But it’s not just about providing and supplying healthier food he is traveling the country warning that money moves way too quickly. Billions and trillions of dollars zip around the globe, he says, as if disembodied from the people who invest it. "Investors don't know anymore where their money goes and more and more, they want to see an impact for what they give in their own lives and own communities," Tasch recently told a capacity crowd at New York University.
Just who is this Tasch guy?....
Woody Tasch is chairman emeritus of Investors' Circle, the nonprofit network of angel investors, venture capitalists, foundations and family offices that since 1992 has facilitated the flow of $130 million to 200 early-stage social enterprises dedicated to sustainability. Before that, he was the treasurer of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation.
Tasch's slow money movement, which was officially kicked off in September during a conference in Santa Fe, N.M., is an extension of that work. "Right now, it's hard to believe that the Whole Foods Market down the street is still able to exist, given the damage we're doing to our soils, and it's hard to believe something bad is going to happen," Tasch told NYU students. "But [our food production system] isn't sustainable. It's time to slow down and start looking up close at what we are doing not just with industrial agriculture but what we're doing to ourselves on the planet in the name of sustaining our standard of living."
With slow money, Tasch is taking a page from the slow food movement, the 20-year-old movement that calls on consumers to treat the act of eating less as a hurried distraction and more like a family ritual that celebrates community and takes time out to reflect upon the labor involved in growing the food that we eat. "Money should move the same way," says Tasch. "This isn't just about finance but the relationship of finance to culture." If investment decisions start to take into account what's best for local communities, he says — when small businesses borrow or get investment directly from their customers — communities become stronger and societies become more humane. "There is accountability in places where now there is none," Tasch says.
But the real dividend of slow money? Diversity — social, economic, and biological. In an era of industrial agriculture, when millions of acres are planted with the same variety of corn and when millions of pigs are bred for their yield, small local farms are "the ultimate hedge fund," he says.
It’s really great to know that there are people out there fighting to change our current standards not only in food production but how we do business within our own communities.
Want to know/read more, then check out these links:
Slow Money Alliance
Article from Time.com
Article from Chronogram.com