I have never knew quite what to do about LinkedIn. In fact I had to resort to Google to be sure how to spell it. (turns out there are a variety of ways…)
But for months/years? I have been getting invitations from random people, many who I respect and think are quite intelligent, inviting me to Link In somehow. But why? As best I could tell this was a site for folks who are looking for work, or for professional connections – and those who are looking for potential employees.
So I pressed ‘delete.’ As an independent, small business owner for the past several decades, and a raging social activist prone to frequent and uncontrollable ranting and raving, I can only assume I am completely unemployable.
But the requests kept coming, and many were from folks I would love to do more than just ‘accept’ but who I would be delighted to spend the evening with – commiserating about the challenges we face as we try to save and nurture our lovely planet and all her species, and to also pat one another on the back for the pitiful, but real progress we make along the way. So we can keep on keepin’ on.
Tonight I decided maybe this might be a useful tool to help with all that, so I took the plunge and started accepting ancient invites, and even inviting anyone else that I thought might also be a ‘climate change/local food activist.’ I started with 8 ‘connections’ and within about an hour had taken that to 130. (Which says something about what my fellow activists are doing at 8pm on Monday night…)
And I updated my profile. Here’s what I wrote, keeping it under the 2000 character limit.
“Since learning about “Slow Money” in May of 2010, I have been meeting sustainable farmers in North Carolina who need capital (in the form of a direct peer-to-peer affordable loan) and connecting them to the generous people in their communities who understand the importance of protecting fertile topsoil, and who care about supporting local farmers/local food.
It has been a wild and busy couple of years – creating, and now riding, the Slow Money NC seesaw. First we found potential lenders who cared about soil fertility, local food, and building resilience in their foodshed. Many were also fed up with sending money off to Wall Street where it had no positive impact on their community.
Then we found hard-working, deserving farmers and innovative local food entrepreneurs (often in the same person) who just needed a few thousand dollars to start, run or expand their business – but had few, or no, places to turn to for help.
And we introduced them to one another. If they chose – a low-interest loan was the result, over a plate of gluten-free cookies, or standing in a field looking at a potential greenhouse site.
I like to believe we are making a difference. As of Feb 2013, over 70 Slow Money NC loans have been made to 30+ farmer/food entrepreneurs totaling about $640,000. (By the time you read this, that’s probably changed, as we are helping catalyze a loan or more a week these days.)
You can read about our antics at http://www.slowmoneync.org. If you got this far, I also hope you are chafing at the bit to make a Slow Money loan. There’s a place to tell us that at the website as well.
Not a lender today? No worries. Any donation helps ‘pay it forward’ and you can help make next week’s loan happen.
Either way, it’s a wonderful prospect that we just might get a trillion dollars or more out of Wall Street and into local farms. It would transform our grocery stores, our collective health, our planet’s ability to sustain us as a species, and it would be so much fun.
I hope you will join us.”
There you have it. Now it is time to get back to reading Borrower Information Forms, and potential Lender Pledge Forms and seeing who might want to meet and talk to whom. And making those powerful connections.
Here at Slow Money NC we have our own little private link-in to the small farm/local food movement. And we have work to do getting them the community capital they need to start-up, to survive, and to thrive.
That’s the real work on this seesaw. Thanks to all of you.