ORGANIZATION NAME: The Slow Money Institute
LOCATION: Boulder, Colorado, USA
SUMMARY: Slow Money catalyzes the flow of investment capital into local food economies and place-based enterprises in North America and Europe, seeking to “bring money back down to earth” through communications, education, convenings, investment clubs, liaison services, and shared learning networks. This integrated effort to restore fiduciary responsibility and nurture sustainable enterprises aims for a systemic transformation of food systems and local economies.
PROBLEM SPACE: “The flow of capital in support of entrepreneurial solutions to the social and environmental challenges of the 21st century is constrained by the fiduciary institutions of the 19th and 20th centuries. In food and agriculture, ask this: Where is the capital going to come from to support a widespread transition to small and mid-size organic farming? It is going to come from local investors, who perceive the innate value of having more local and organic food in their schools, more small farmers in their community, more carbon in the soil of their foodshed, and more water in their aquifers.
The systemic problems we are addressing are: outdated concepts of fiduciary responsibility, excesses of hyper-intermediation, unequal access to healthy food, erosion of the soil and erosion of social capital. What is broken in food is broken in finance.
Put more pragmatically: We are giving our money to people we don’t know very well, to invest in things they don’t understand very well, half way around the world in places most of us will never visit. Does this sound like the recipe for a healthy future? The response: Invest in things that we understand, near where we live, starting with food.”
SOLUTION: “The Slow Money Institute is building, with considerable success for a small, young NGO, the intellectual and social capital needed to support an emerging network of investors, philanthropists and “”regular folks who want to know where their food comes from and where their money goes””. At its most radical, call it a kind of Investor Spring. We are catalyzing investment flows to the small, place-based businesses of the 21st century, rather than trying to deconstruct or regulate the global institutions of the 20th century.
The Slow Money Institute is promoting systemic change by disseminating a strong, shared vision, hosting convenings, connecting investors, and incubating innovative non-profit and for profit intermediaries.
We do this via:
1. National Gatherings: Bringing multiple constituencies together in a way that catalyzes the flow of capital and the development of local Slow Money networks.
2. Network Support: Providing communications, liaison services and shared learning between dozens of local networks.
3. Investment Clubs: Assessing the replicability of this innovative model, studying deal flow, club management, returns and the need for technical assistance.
4. Thought Leadership: A sequel to Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money is in progress.”
CONTACT: [email protected]