Succotashed Sneak Preview – Thursday, March 14

As a native of Siler City, Nichol Price is especially invested in the future of her hometown.  Like everyone else who calls Chatham County home she wants to see her community grow and prosper.  During her training in the culinary arts program at Central Carolina Community College she began to notice the abundance of small farms producing high quality vegetables and grass fed meats in her area.  When she saw an opportunity to open a restaurant in the old Sidewalk Café location in historic downtown Siler City she realized it was not only as a chance for herself but for the community on a whole to increase their support of their local food system. Price’s goal at Succotashed, her new café, is to bring the products grown nearby directly to restaurant go-ers right there in Chatham County.

Succotashed will be the first “Farm-to-Fork” cafe in Siler City.  This environmentally-friendly model has worked extremely well in the nearby Triad and Triangle areas, but has yet to be introduced in this small Chatham County town.  As a chef, Price is thrilled at the opportunity to showcase what she learned in CCCC’s Green & Sustainable Foods program and hopes that Succotashed will have a positive impact on Siler City’s local economy.

In order to raise the capital she needs to purchase equipment and get Succotashed off the ground, Price started a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. She hopes to raise $9,500, which will be used to purchase equipment to outfit her kitchen – such as a convection oven and energy-efficient commercial refrigerator. With 12 days left, her Indiegogo campaign is currently one-fifth of the way to reaching her goal, but Price hopes to get as close as possible before time runs out.

Price also reached out to Carol Peppe Hewitt, director of Slow Money NC, for help. Slow Money NC specializes in helping local farmers and food entrepreneurs around the state to connect with potential investors in their communities. Hewitt and Price are teaming up to present a Sneak Preview of Succotashed on Thursday, March 14 from 5:30-7:00 pm at 113 Raleigh Street in Siler City. This event is free and open to the public and will allow interested community members and potential investors to see the café, meet the owner, and talk about the importance of supporting Siler City’s local foodshed.

Slow Money was moving FAST tonight in Charlotte

I just returned home from Charlotte, and though that’s over a two hour drive, it was easy to stay awake. I just kept thinking back to all the good news and great company of the evening.

Tonight’s Slow Money NC Charlotte Gathering brought together about a dozen Slow Money enthusiasts from Charlotte, Indian Trail, MonroeIMG_3369, and even Cabarrus County.

We got an update on the progress at Windcrest Farm from Mary Roberts.  She received Slow Money loans from two lenders a few months back, and was able to dig a new well for use by the farm.

Now they can take a shower and water their organic produce at the same time!

Here’s Mary with Donna, one of her lenders and long time customer and friend.

We heard from Lucy, a Certified Master Composter, about composting projects she is working on throughout the city, and from David, an emerging farmer who is farming at the Elma C. Lomax Farm Incubator in Concord, NC. We swapped stories, gave advice, shared resources and ideas – and schemed about to get even more Slow Money moving in the greater Charlotte area.

Earlier, in a conversation with Lynn Caldwell, from the Atherton Market, we confirmed that Charlotte will get the next Funds to Farms event! The date is set for the evening of May 12th. Check back as the location will be announced soon. The first Funds to Farms event in Durham at Fullsteam Brewery in January sold out, and raised over $2000 that was given back to the presenting farmers. Check out the website for the details, then come join us on May 12th!

Then we finisheIMG_3371d off the evening with another Slow Money loan!

This one went to Dennis Berry of Berry Apiary for more equipment to increase his honey business.

Here’s Dennis and Charlie, his lender, smiling as a check passes across the table.

Slow Money NC Charlotte is going strong. You can join their group on Facebook, or send an email to be added to their mailing list.

Thanks to Healthy Home Market for the use of their conference room.

Way to go Slow Money NC Charlotte!

Slow Money NC gets LinkedIn

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…)

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Carol on her LinkedIn profile, Smile!

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.

All good,
Carol

Slow Money NC likesTreehugger

Sami Glover’s article about us was also published by Treehugger, which is pretty darn awesome!

Meanwhile we are working on several loans this week – like the one to Bella Donna in Pittsboro, NC and a couple to Cocoa Cinnamon in Durham, NC.

And we sent out a fundraising letter, as we are down on our knees hoping to raise enough in just a very few weeks to meet a matching grant that will allow us to keep this project going.

 

Slow Money NC Featured By NC Sustainability Center

Slow Money NC was featured in a recent article published on the NC Sustainability Center’s website, entitled “FINANCING THE FOOD SYSTEM: How Slow Money Grows Local Food.” 

“While the movement undoubtedly has ideological and ecological underpinnings – its focus remains on the real world needs of small food related businesses. From encouraging sustained, predictable and long-term loans to ensuring that rates remain affordable (the typical loan rate is between 2-5%), Slow Money advocates argue that it has to be about more than just securing alternative sources of money – but rather rethinking the entire process and terms of how it is leant…”

As Mark Scharaga…founder and owner of Tamashii Sushi and Spoons Restaurant in Wilmington said, “The lenders are driven by a belief and a trust in the people they are supporting. It’s not about your credit rating, but about the mission and vision of your business. What you are trying to achieve.”

Thanks to Sami Grover for this fantastic profile of our organization! Read more here.