Friday, July 05, 2013

Financing our Foodshed

 It was the 4th of July here.  I suppose it was in Canada too but it just had no meaning there. 

But being Canadian, I prefer to celebrate Victoria Day so some pictures of my granddaughter, Victoria.  And one with Josh kissing his sister.



I was recently in North Carolina visiting my brother, Lyle.  He travels in an eclectic eco crowd.  While there, I met a friend who stopped by his house - Carol Peppe Hewitt who had just written a book - Financing Our Foodshed - Growing Local Food with Slow Money.

Slow money is a bit of a takeoff on slow food.  In this case, the idea is to loan money and get a small return (which means it grows slowly).

It is similar to Lyle's books (same publisher too) in that it is a story of local people.  In this case, it is the story of people who loan small amounts of money to people to allow them to start businesses.  The businesses mostly revolve around food - mostly the preparation of it.  For example, one food entrepreneur wanted a loan to winterize a building so food production (Jams, Jelly and winter produc like kale and sweet potatoes etc) could be sold year around.  

There are the lenders who are paid a modest (like 2%) interest.  Their motivation is to give something back and to help their community.  And the borrower who want to start or expand a small business.  What makes this work is the volunteerism in vetting the deals combined with the community that supports the companies (as customers and more).

This program reminds me of Kiva but more local.  In the case of North Carolina slow money, it is  less automated and more personal.  With Kiva, the lenders make no interest but the organizations that do the lending, collecting and accounting make fees and interest and unfortunately, in many cases, those are too high and make the money expensive.

There is lots more information on the North Carolina program at http://slowmoneync.org/.  

Good book.  I liked the stories.  Probably partly of interest to me since I know some of the people involved including my brother who has a prominent part.

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Sort of related but not...

One interest I have in general is vegetable gardening (even though my garden has a lot of weeds now so you would think I had little interest and for that matter, I have less interest in it when it has weeds).  

I have long thought that more people should grow their own food.  I think it builds an appreciation of food.  And the freshness cannot be beat so I think it is healthier.  Most people who garden can do it organically since they are not trying to get 110% yield and can accept a few blemishes.

I think being outside and the minor amount of exercise involved is also good for people.  As is the connection with the land.

I think it would be great to start a movement where people are encouraged to garden and more people did garden. 

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