October 17th Gathering

On Wednesday, October 17th, the Charlotte Chapter of Slow Money NC held our second gathering at the Seventh Street Public Market in Uptown Charlotte, which will be our regular meeting place from now on.  We sat around a couple of tables in the middle of the market and talked about ways to make the Charlotte chapter a success, and heard from three local projects that have completed Borrower Information forms through Slow Money NC.

Mary Roberts of Windcrest Farm Organics talked about needing a loan to pay for the upfront costs of a new well that will help her expand her business.  She has already received approval for an USDA cost-share grant that will reimburse her the majority of the costs for the well, but first she has to come up with the funds to pay for it.

Melissa Myer of the Food to Die For catering company talked about her dream to start a not-for-profit, community-supported commercial kitchen that will allow start-up food businesses like caterers, food truck operators and home bakers to have affordable access to an inspected kitchen.  There are commercial kitchens for rent in the Charlotte area, but the costs are still beyond the means of many start-ups, and a community-supported kitchen could also serve as an incubator and provide business coaching for these would-be food entrepreneurs.

Finally, John Lee of Sea Lavender Farm Aquaponics gave the group an update to his need for a new hoop house cover and some type of water heating system to keep his tilapia alive through the winter.  Since John first presented his project at the August Gathering, some of the August attendees have contributed consulting assistance that will let John substantially lower the funds he needs to complete his project, and he has also gained potential customers for his fish through the exposure.

Slow Money Gatherings are beneficial for the project presenters even if they are not immediately successful at raising the funds they need, and they are great networking opportunities for all attendees, whether potential borrowers or lenders.  Stay tuned for more updates about these Charlotte area projects, and make plans to attend the November Gathering on the 14th.

Welcome to our newest local chapter!

On Thursday, August 30, 2012, from  5:30-7pm, Slow Money NC had an inaugural public gathering at Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte. A diverse group that included local food producers, a state extension agent, Charlotte School of Law professors working on food policy, the founder of Slow Foods Charlotte and others who just care about the Slow Money mission met to listen to Carol Peppe Hewitt talk about the founding and work of Slow Money in North Carolina.

The small group pulled up chairs in a circle and introduced their background and interests, and John Lee of Sea Lavender Farm presented his aquaponics project taking shape just outside of Charlotte.

Sea Lavender Farm Aquaponics Project
Sea Lavender Farm Aquaponics Project

We are working on getting Sea Lavender Farm the first Slow Money Charlotte loan, and we’re also looking for pledges and more projects from the Charlotte area.  Several attendees from the August gathering are working on having gatherings at the 7th Street Public Market on a bi-monthly basis starting with October of 2012.


Ten new loans this summer!

Ten new Slow Money NC to seven local farmers and food enterprises  brings our total to $572,800 in local money that’s now helping make our local food enterprises stronger and happier!

With 78% of our country in a drought, it makes even more sense to support a wide variety of small, sustainable farmers and food businesses, right here in NC. Ten Slow Money NC lenders stepped up to do just that.

Which meant that Tucker at Lilly Den Farm in Goldston found the perfect used skidsteer, and Alfred in Cedar Grove now has a brand new tiller. Angelina, of our much loved Angelina’s Kitchen in Pittsboro, replaced her dying coolers, and Zuma’s Cookies in Marshall got help with their expansion. David and Robyn Heeks, who started Heeks Farm in Rougemont were able to buy a mobile walk-in cooler and a precision seeder, and Calee’s Coops in Rosman can now build a much-needed additional chicken coop. Lastly Mark opened Tamashii in Wilmington just a few days ago, the first sustainable sushi restaurant in the Southeast, and even in his first week his customer base is growing rapidly.

We will be hosting Slow Money NC gatherings around the state in August and September, meeting folks who want to make a difference by supporting local food businesses – and hearing about the exciting projects we might help finance.

See you there!

Ninth Street Bakery Gathering is Big News

We had a full house at Ninth Street Bakery last Wednesday night!  In addition to the twenty or so people from Durham, folks came from Alamance, Orange, Chatham, Wake, Cabarrus, Franklin and Mecklenburg counties! We even pulled in a guest speaker from Washington, DC.  The excitement about Slow Money NC really is growing as Andrea said so well in Mouthful, her News & Observer food blog. The piece is titled “Slow Money Showing Growth” and well worth a read!

“Slow Money NC”, Andrea writes,  “reminds me why I love the Triangle’s vibrant local food scene. The demand for local food is so high that we add farmers markets every year. Farm-to-table restaurants thrive as well as farm-to-table food trucks, and you can sign up for weekly deliveries of local vegetables, meat, cheese, seafood and even soup. People aren’t just supporting the scene with their appetites; they are opening their wallets even further.”

Andrea is such an asset to the local food movement in the Triangle. And she’s right. People are supporting their local food scene.  And it’s making a difference.

Frank Ferrell, owner and baker extraordinaire, talked about the deck he plans to build, his new locally made kombucha, and plans for more events and extended hours.  It sounded like a great idea and he rustled up support from several new Slow Money lenders.

The Durham Herald ran a story about our gathering as well.  Frank isn’t smiling in their picture, but after the meeting he certainly was.

Marc Dreyfors also had an idea to showcase at the same event. He plans to covert a couple of used Duke transit buses to help promote local food. He got a Slow Money loan to purchase one that he plans to use for farm tours, and he may get another to convert into a mobile farmers’ market.

A story about his Greenway Transit business ran in the Durham paper yesterday.

We’re getting attention, we’re making loans almost every week, and we’re happy.  Little by little, one local farm and food business at a time, we digging a deeper, healthier local foodshed.

Bakery, Booch, and Sustainable Business Showcase Event!

Wednesday, March 7th, 6 – 8PM
Come join us at Ninth Street Bakery
to hear about three great new Slow Money NC projects that are happening in Durham!

Bull City Booch Glass

 6PM  Slow Money NC Entrepreneur Showcase
Ninth Street Bakery is expanding! They want to add a deck to hold events, serve beer, hard cider and ‘Bull City Booch,’ their delicious NEW locally made Kombucha!  We are looking for several people to make affordable, short-term loans that total $30,000 to make this happen.  Owner, Frank Ferrell has worked for decades to make Durham a better place. This is our chance to give back, investing locally where it really matters. 
The second project is with Greenway Transit in Durham. They just received a Slow Money NC loan to purchase a used transit bus to be used to run local farm tours. They hope to purchase a second bus and convert it to a mobile farmers’ market. They need $5000 to make this happen. Homegrown City Farms just received a Slow Money NC loan to build an urban farm on 1/4 acre in E. Durham and is now signing up CSA members. Come learn how to get more Slow Money moving fast in Durham!

Then enjoy a supper of local food and drink and meet Bryan.

7PM Guest Speaker – Bryan McGannon, Campaign Coordinator for the American Sustainable Business Council in Washington, DC

During a light supper of local food and drink, (including local cheeses from nearby Reliable Cheese Company) Bryan will inform attendees as to how North Carolina sustainable businesses and organizations can collaborate to build a more vibrant, just, and sustainable local and national economy. Like Slow Money NC the ASBC supports innovative financing solutions to transform our economy while working to shape public policy in that direction.

7:30 Networking and ‘Bull City Booch’ tasting
Enjoy this chance to network with like-minded farmers, foodies, fellow sustainable business owners and try the Booch! Beer, cider, juices and desserts available as well.

Frank serves up some Bull City Booch
Frank discusses his new expansion plans with Carol over a glass of Booch!

 We are excited to get these more Slow Money moving in Durham!    

Get engaged in moving our minds and our money from faraway investments to our local food economy.  Start right here, right now!   
.   Sign the  Slow Money Principles today.
2.   Become a member of  Slow Money.  Your dues help up expand our reach deeper in the soil, throughout NC and beyond. (please note the drop down menu that allows you to designate half your dues to Slow Money NC!)
3.  Sign up to make a Slow Money loan to a local food business in your area. Enter a pledge amount and we will contact you if we have projects in your area requesting a loan.
4.  Let us know if have a viable local food business idea that’s needs capital.

Come join us on March 7th at Ninth Street Bakery, and help us raise the loan money we need for these exciting Durham local food projects!

Thanks for your support and caring of our local foodshed and the people it feeds.

Highlights from 2011

Our friends from f4dc make a site visit to the Abundance Foundation and join us for Local Friday Lunch at the Plant. Alex, Lyle, Carol, Shawny, and Ed

December 2011
In the fall of 2011, the Fund 4 Democratic Communities took notice of the great work we are doing to finance our foodshed and put up $5000.00 in the form of a match to help fund our efforts to keep building Slow Money NC. To claim the match we needed to raise the same, in donations of no more than $100.00 per donor, before December 31st. Less was fine too, but they set a limit of no more than $100 per person to encourage building a grassroots following. Which we applaud. The response to our request was enormously heartening and validating. We made our match and will be growing Slow Money NC  fast and furious in 2012.  Thanks so much to all of you who helped us reach our goal!

November 2011
Bringing It Home Chatham, LLC 
closed on a 398k loan refinance on November 1st, 2011 for Chatham Marketplace, the coop grocery store in Pittsboro, NC. It was a historic day.

October, 2011
At the 3rd Slow Money National Gathering in San Francisco Carol Peppe Hewitt served on a Break-Out Session panel “Investing in Small Food Enterprises: How-To for Everyone. The following day she was one of the regional leaders on the Main Stage for Town Hall Meeting: Slow Money in Action. Slow Money leaders from the U.S. and Europe share their experiences organizing investment at the local level.

She shared the stories of our lenders and borrowers, the simple way we are working to build resilience in our foodshed, and she inspired folks to do the same in their communities.

The last week of October Carol spoke to Transition Towns groups in Hendersonville and Asheville, and at Green Drinks Asheville. As a result folks made substantial pledges and a loan was made for $10K.

September, 2011
A well-attended Wilmington gathering brought in several loan applications and a strong team of interested folks who are planning another meeting in early 2012.

June, 2011
Outreach to Tarboro resulted in a loan made to a local butcher, then a farm store, and a pending application for a restaurant.

to be continued…..
We will gradually add in the meetings and events we have held since we got started in May, 2010 so you can see our history.  Because this is about making history, shaping the world of money and food in a profound way for the betterment of our soils, our communities and our lives.