CHAPTER 10

Slow Money

Finance for Foodsheds

Hi. My name is Terry, and I work for Morgan Stanley.

The introduction, made in the confessional tone usually reserved for alcoholics and overeaters, sent a murmur rippling through the small room. But this was no Alcoholics Anonymous meeting or Jenny Craig weigh-in. Terry was one of a couple of dozen New Yorkers who had gathered in a dimly lit East Village bar one evening in the fall of 2010 to launch the New York chapter of Slow Money. It was a diverse group—lawyers, entrepreneurs, a chef, artists, students, and corporate journeymen—few with any particular financial or investment expertise. But what they all shared was a desire to create an alternative to Wall Street, right here in its very shadow.

Slow Money is the brainchild of Woody Tasch, a former venture capitalist and foundation money guy turned financial revolutionary. Inspired in equal parts by Fritz Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful and Carlo Petrini’s Slow Food movement, Tasch, from his New Mexico base, is on a mission to change the way we think about investing. Through Slow Money, a nonprofit organization, he aims to create new pathways for investing in local, sustainable food and agriculture enterprises, the kinds of businesses that are passed over by conventional finance. To bring finance back down to earth. Slow Money is the pragmatic cousin of Slow Food, which celebrates food diversity, taste, and tradition and from which Tasch liberally (and literally) borrows. Petrini ...

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