Around the country people are talking about Slow Money, and looking for ways to connect their money with their local farming community ~ beyond just buying their products.
Here in North Carolina, Slow Money NC we have a way to put that idea into action. As of Octover 2020 over 200 loans have been made to 135 Slow Money North Carolina farmers and/or local food businesses around the state totaling about $5M. Here’s how it works.
#1. Start by signing the national Slow Money principles. Stand up and be counted as someone who wants to make a difference in this wacky world of irrational investing.
#2. Invest directly in your local foodshed. Consider making a Slow Money loan. Ask yourself: how much do I care about local food and farming? Slow Money NC members with available capital tend to make loans from $2000-$20,000 to individuals with worthwhile projects that reflect the Slow Money mission. Slow Money NC lenders usually earn a 0-3% rate of interest on those loans. Their nurture capital is lent to borrowers that they select. No fees are charged; we rely on soley on donation by inviting lenders and borrowers to “pay it forward,” if they wish, so Slow Money NC can cover administrative costs and allow us to keep facilitating these loans to increase the production of locally, sustainably-grown food.
Submitting the Lender Information Form simply lets us know you are interested so we can send you information about individuals who have projects that you might be interested in.
Lenders are welcome to become as involved as they wish in the process of recruiting and screening potential borrowers of their funds, and it is always entirely the lender’s decision as to who they loan to their money at what interest ~ and together with the borrower – over what payback period. We just help you learn about viable, exciting, local food farms/businesses that need capital to get started or to expand, and have a basic Blank Promissory Note to use if you wish.
If a loan fails, the capital is lost. Dollars put into Slow Money loans should be considered “at risk.” That said, in our experience, these types of local, direct loans perform very well.
Moreover, if we each invested just 1% of our portfolios in enhancing our local food systems the change would be extraordinary.
Our money could quickly go to work enriching our lives, instead of the lives of faraway bankers.
#3. Tell us about your local food project that needs financing. It’s easy. Just complete a Borrower Information Form. We will contact you if we have any questions. We will also forward your information to potential lenders, and let you know when we do. Interested lenders are matched directly with individual borrowers. Together the lender and borrower agree on the terms of the loan. They sign a Promissory Note detailing their agreement – the amount of the loan, the length of the payback period, and the interest rate, amortized over the agreed period of the loan. A copy of the note is given to the lender, another to the borrower, and the third is filed with Slow Money NC.
Most loans run 1-5 years ranging from $2000-$20K. Larger loans have been made, including one loan for $400K which was shared among sixteen lenders to a local food coop! To discuss your loan idea, you are welcome to contact the Director/Farm Whisperer, Carol Peppe Hewitt at Slow Money NC.
#4. Please support your local food enterprises, and certainly the ones that receive Slow Money financing. Money grows in circles, and we can all be part of promoting an ethical, sustainable local economy by spending our dollars locally and work to promote an economy that is restorative, rather than extractive, or exploitative to our communities and our planet.
“Money is like manure. It’s no good unless you spread it around!”
#5. Reconnect with a portion of the money that you entrusted to strangers in faraway places and, instead, help build a more local, durable economy from the soil up! When you make a loan to a farmer or other local food enterprises so they can expand and flourish, you can truly enjoy the fruits of their labor. If you include “meaning” in your investment metric, you will find making Slow Money loans offers insanely wonderful returns.
#7. We would be thrilled if you made a donation of any size to Slow Money NC to help us keep catalyzing these loans! Becoming a Sustainer (checking the monthly box) means we can keep doing this important work. We rely entirely on donations from fine people like you. When a committed group of people do something small it can make a very big difference.
If you are interested in getting something started in your community, please contact us. We would be happy to help.