Slow Money Brings Money Back Down to Earth With Its 3rd National Gathering
Today marks the beginning of the 3rd National Gathering of Slow Money. Slow what? Think slow food first. Now think of the farmer that needed the loan to fix the barn where he milked the goats. Can you picture the farmer explaining artisanal goat cheese at the local Bank of America with Blossom and Buttercup in the lobby? Yeeeeah. Not so much? I didn't think so. You are beginning to glean a concept. Eating like Alice Waters requires no demands, a certain kind of producer and, like all businesses, they need capital. All businesses period. And Slow Money is about financing for the good food movement.
But it doesn't stop there. The "slow" part is something you foodies grasp; the money part has a lot to do with what Wall Street does and doesn't do. It seems the capital markets have been chasing high risk, high profit derivatives and "leveraged thingies," causing foreclosures in the burbs, and a few folks have gotten a little upset about it. Occupy Wall Street. Yeah, occupy whatever, but what are are the Slow Money folks' solutions? From Slow Money's Principles:
The 20th Century was the era of Buy Low/Sell High and Wealth Now/Philanthropy Later - what one venture capitalist called "the largest legal accumulation of wealth in history." The 21st Century will be the era of nurture capital, built around principles of carrying capacity, care of the commons, sense of place and nonviolence.
Enter Woody Tasch, founder and author of "Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered." Alrighty then, I think that means he's serious, and I shot him a few questions before the "slow monies" (help me here with what to call 'em folks) gather.
What do you hope to accomplish after three days of well-fed money folks gathering in Ft. Mason? And why San Francisco?
The national gathering offers critical opportunities for inter-regional sharing between our emerging chapters. Lots to learn from one another. We've moved each national gathering: First, Santa Fe. Second, Vermont. Third, San Francisco. We will most likely move back east for the next one.
How did you talk Dr. Vandana Shiva into speaking? What does the U.S. investment community have to do with saving seeds in India?
Vandana is more than just an "Indian seed activist." She is a global thought leader in matters of biodiversity, sustainable agriculture and corporate social responsibility, or lack thereof.
What's the biggest challenge redirecting the investment community towards "slow" investments? Positives.
It is like any new idea. Takes awhile to take root.
Who's the coolest farmer or producer that you've been able to fund through Slow Money?
No such thing. All cool. From the chicken farmer in CA to the chicken farmer in NC.
Why does the pancetta, fig and arugula pizza at Gather in Berkeley taste so damn good?
I thinks it's called salt.
What should I be asking you?
You should be asking me: How many earthworms there are in a fertile acre of soil?
900 pounds! Rad!