Slow Money

Slow Money is a national nonprofit organization that works to finance local, sustainable food and agriculture—or, to “bring money back down to earth.” Much of the action takes place through local chapters, which create local funding solutions that work for their particular community. These often take the form of investment networks or clubs. There are around twenty local Slow Money networks, from New York City to North Carolina to Northern California. Collectively, Slow Money has catalyzed more than $38 million in investments in more than 350 small food enterprises, from farms and restaurants to organic food delivery services.

 PROS:

  • As demand grows for local and sustainably produced food, the food and agriculture market presents attractive investment opportunities, particularly in high-growth, high margin segments like organics.
  • For people who are already buying locally and sustainably grown products, it is another way to support those producers and share in their growth.
  • Investment in sustainable food and ag companies offer added returns in the form of benefits to the environment, health and local communities.
  • Many investors elect to take some of their financial returns in product: fresh eggs from a farmer, cheese from a local creamery, etc. Try that with your mutual fund!

 

 CONS:

  • Many (but not all) Slow Money investment vehicles are at present available only to accredited investors, although there is a concerted effort to create opportunities for unaccredited investors as well.
  • When investing, keep in mind that sustainable food and agriculture is characterized by small, artisan producers that cannot easily take advantage of economies of scale.
  • Food and agriculture are considered highly risky, due to slim margins and the vagaries of weather and consumer whims.

 

Resources:

For more information, see https://slowmoney.org/