Growing Movement Pairs Family Farms and Food Businesses With New Investment
Media Contact: Joan Simon
Full Plate Restaurant Consulting
San Francisco –The Slow Money movement, cited by Entrepreneur.com as “one of the top five trends in finance in 2011” is coming to San Francisco this fall; bringing with it small food business entrepreneurs from around the country and a roster of conscious investors and star speakers from the world of finance, food and the environmental movement.
The Third Annual Slow Money National Gathering (http://www.slowmoney.org/national-gathering/)
to be held October 12th through 14th at the historic Fort Mason Center on San Francisco Bay, will not only feature investment opportunities in dozens of enterprises on the cutting edge of food trends, but will also offer attendees the opportunity to participate in an emerging national conversation about how we can fix our economy from the ground up.
“In the 21st century, investing is not only about markets and sectors and asset allocation,” states Slow Money Founder and former venture capitalist Woody Tasch, “In a world that is speeding up and heating up, losing its soil and losing its sense of common purpose, investing is also about reconnecting and healing broken relationships. What could make more sense than taking a small amount of our money, turning in a new direction, and putting it to work near where we live, in things that we understand, starting with food.”
The three day event is the third for the Slow Money Alliance, an emerging network with 11 national branches that was launched in 2008 in response to Tasch’s book, Inquiries Into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as If Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered, which was immediately hailed as the beginning of a movement. More than 1000 people from 34 states and several foreign countries attended Slow Money’s first two national gatherings in Sante Fe and Vermont. At 2010’s conference over $4 million was invested and since then an additional $5 million has flowed to dozens of small food enterprises. Given that the Bay Area is in the forefront of the local foods movement, this year’s shift to a larger, West Coast venue is expected to spur enormous interest.
“Problems in the global food system parallel those in the global financial system. Investing in small food enterprises begins to fix many of the problems, quite literally, at their roots,” ” observed Slow Money Founding Member Judson Berkey of UBS. “This may be the only way to save a lot of small farms. Banks are out of the question,” continued Alexis Koefoed, a chicken farmer at Soul Food Farm in Vacaville, California. “The non-profit organizations that are supporting sustainable agriculture are great resources, and doing really important policy works, but when small farmers need cash, they need to go to private investors who are ready to lend them money.”
Among this year’s list of 100 prominent speakers and educators will be David Suzuki, the award-winning host of CBC’s “The Nature of Things;” environmentalist Vandana Shiva, named one of world’s most influential women by Forbes Magazine; Wes Jackson, founder of The Land Institute; Melissa Bradley, CEO of Tides Foundation; Leslie Christian, CEO of Portfolio 21; and scientist turned economist Chris Martenson, whose book and video series The Crash Course is an international best seller, and Thomas Steyer, Founder of Farallon Capital Management, Managing Director at San Francisco private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, and signatory to the Buffet-Gates Giving Pledge.
An “Entrepreneur Showcase” will spotlight two dozen food and farm entrepreneurs who are seeking funding. Break-out sessions led by recognized experts will cover topics ranging from farmland preservation to local investment clubs. Each day includes live music, film screenings, sustainably sourced food from local vendors, and many opportunities for networking and relationship building.
“Slow Money is about relationships, not only transactions,” said Berkeley based Ari Derfel, whose award winning restaurant Gather has been a recipient of Slow Money capital investment. “The National Gathering provides a wonderful environment that catalyzes the flow of money and creates social change.”
Part venture fair, part farm to table celebration, part forum on the future of the economy, the event brings together financiers, farmers and an unusually diverse constituency of folks who want to know where their food comes from and where their money goes.
“I left the world of global finance because it was fundamentally out of touch with the real world, the natural world,” said Marco Vangelisti, a former an emerging markets specialist for a major international investment firm. “Then I found Slow Money and realized that this could be the way back.”
About The 2011 Third Annual Slow Money National Gathering
Event dates are from Wednesday through Friday October 12-14. The program will begin at 9 am every morning and end late evening. Cost is $595 for individuals, non profits and startups and $895 for professional investors, and philanthropists. Farmer and student discounts are available and Slow Money members receive a 10% discount. Further details and registration forms can be found online at www.slowmoney.org/national-gathering.
About Slow Money
The Slow Money Alliance has 2,000 members, including many leaders in social investing, philanthropy and organics. 15,000 people have signed the Slow Money Principles, a new vision of finance that promotes soil fertility, diversity, care of the commons and nonviolence. Since mid-2010, 11 local Slow Money chapters have emerged around the country and millions of dollars of has been invested in scores of small food enterprises, prompting ACRES USA to call Slow Money a “revolution” and Rodale to call it one of the top ten trends in organics. For more information visit www.slowmoney.org, call 510.408.7645 or email email@example.com.
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