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!

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.