Slow Money Inspires NI Advisors

Financial Advisor magazine recently ran an in-depth article on Slow Money, the nationwide network that channels capital into local food systems.  We’ve featured the Slow Money movement in our newsletter and on this blog since its inception, and several Natural Investments advisors have been enthusiastic supporters of its national and regional groups, so it was no surprise to see two of our team featured in this article.

Carrie vanWinkle helped form Slow Food Kentucky, where over 80 members now meet three times a year to connect small food operations with potential investors.  After building a personal relationship, members arrange loans directly with the farmers, at interest rates of 3-5%.

“I think people sometimes come into Slow Money––or local investing more broadly––with the right intentions, but they get caught up in financial return rather than the whole return, which is financial-plus,” Carrie says. The 3% to 5% loan rate “seems to be a pretty fair rate of return in today’s environment.”

The national Slow Money network also helps those with no local group to find avenues to do “regenerative investing” (see this recent post for more on this emerging high-impact field).  NI’s Malaika Maphalala did just that for a client in Vermont who made a significant loan at 5% interest to Coyote Creek Farm, a grass-fed beef and chicken/egg operation in Texas.  As reported by Financial Advisor:

Coyote Creek would be part of the regenerative portfolio, and Maphalala took it upon herself to do due diligence on its expansion plans. “It took years to come to fruition, but I followed the process on my clients’ behalf to make sure it was investment ready,” says Maphalala, who’s been active in the Slow Money Northwest chapter in Portland. . . . “The couple is dependent on earnings from their investments,” Maphalala says. “Because they’re retirees, in the impact sector it’s very important that investments be real safe regarding reliable annual returns.”

In addition to investments in the form of direct loans, Slow Money is also creating a parallel model that leverages philanthropic donations to grow local food systems.  Woody Tasch, Slow Money founder, notes that this “would relax some of our transaction mentality and build on the idea that we’re trying to build something over 25 years. . . . Instead of thinking about this as return-agnostic investing, you can think about this as super-positive return philanthropy.”

Read the whole article here.

Jim Cummings

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