Posts Tagged ‘farming’

Transforming Systemic Inequity

2020 will go down in history as a year of profound disruption. One crisis after another exposed the mortal consequences of racial inequities––beginning with a pandemic in which people of color were far more likely to die than white Americans and a series of brutal police killings of unarmed Black civilians. These painful events spurred a national uprising, led by the Movement for Black Lives and supported by thousands of allied groups across the country, that has since been characterized by scholars as the largest mass movement in US history.

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A Visit with Vitality Farms

I recently made a visit to Oregon and took the opportunity to tour some of the farm properties held by Farmland LP, an organic farmland fund in which we have a number of clients invested. Farmland LP acquires conventional farmland and converts it to certified organic, sustainable farmland, and its partner, Vitality Farms, manages the farming and livestock operations on their properties. Recently named one of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company, Farmland LP owns about 7000 acres of farmland in Northern California and Oregon.  Nearly 1500 of those acres are in Oregon just outside of Corvallis, an hour and a half from Portland. I drove out to spend the afternoon with Jason Bradford, Managing Partner at Farmland LP and Owner/Manager of Vitality Farms. It was the highlight of my trip! We toured multiple properties so I could see firsthand the wide variety of organic production currently underway after five years of infrastructure development and farming operations.

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Slow Money steps it up with 3rd national gathering

By Jim Cummings

Got Slow Money?

Here at Natural Investing, we’ve been mighty inspired by the Slow Money movement from the moment Woody Tasch began sharing his earliest ponderings.  So we’re especially excited to be one of several sponsors of the 3rd Slow Money National Gathering, taking place in San Francisco this fall.

Here’s how they describe themselves:
Is Slow Money an investment strategy or a movement? Yes! It’s a new kind of social investing for the 21st century. Slow Money national gatherings are quickly emerging as a significant new venue for networking, investing and social change. More than 1000 people from 34 states and several foreign countries attended our first two national gatherings, and more than $4.25 million has been invested in 16 of the small food enterprises that have presented. Since last year’s event at Shelburne Farms, Vermont, 11 local Slow Money chapters have begun investing in their regions.

Join this emerging network of thought leaders, investors, donors, entrepreneurs, farmers, and activists for our Third National Gathering this October in San Francisco, and collaborate with folks from around the country who are finding new ways to connect money, culture and the soil.

Hal loved the first national gathering, which he wrote about here. We encourage our clients and readers to join Natural Investing’s Christopher Peck in San Francisco for this year’s event! Click on through here for more details.  And, check this link for a collection of Natural Investing Blog posts that have featured Slow Money on both the national and local levels.

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Slow Money takes root in Maine, NY, California

This is exciting: the vision behind Slow Money, which aims to provide ways for people to invest in local agriculture and economies, is quickly finding real-world expressions from coast to coast!

Here’s an inspiring article about the No Small Potatoes “investment club” in Maine, which provides low-interest loans to farmers, a project of Slow Money Maine.  Similar regional Slow Money chapters in New York and San Francisco are holding “showcases” this spring to highlight efforts to bring together investors, entrepreneurs, and food activists: here’s an article on the recent New York event, and a preview of the upcoming San Francisco one.

See this earlier NI post on Slow Money, and a more recent one on NI’s Michael Kramer’s role in helping catalyze municipal bonds to support local agricultural initiatives.

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Slow Money to Speed Change

By Hal Brill

In spite of all today’s economic challenges, this is an exciting time for values-based investors. The range of investments has grown from just a handful of SRI funds when we started in the 80’s to hundreds of values-based options. SRI has become a global movement, corporate responsibility is a mainstream issue, and the opportunity to create a low-carbon economy is the major thrust of the current administration.

But despite these achievements, the challenges have grown even faster. The earth is groaning under the strain of supporting consumption-based lifestyles, while debt-based economies demand even more consumption to keep the whole game going. In an ideal world, we would have a coordinated global approach with sufficient wisdom and clout to address global challenges while keeping local economies vibrant. But Wall Street and a handful of mega-banks are designed to funnel capital into globalization, while the local realm has been almost ignored by the investment world. In response, many people are finding that the local level is the most appropriate place to direct their energies, for it is in our neighborhoods and communities that we can have the most meaningful impact.

Slow money250

So I was elated when I picked up a new book called Slow Money written by Woody Tasch. Just the title gets your attention…who talks about the speed of money? But money has gotten fast, whizzing around the world as blips of data, seeking the highest return no matter what the consequences for the planet. Slowing money down fits right in with “natural” investing – our term for investing in ways that are aligned with the planet’s patterns at a deeper level. In September I attended the first national Slow Money conference in Santa Fe. I felt right at home, as the 400+ attendees were a blend of activists from the financial, farming, and nonprofit worlds.

Tasch’s focus is on local food, also known as the Slow Food movement. We all know the splendid taste of vine- ripened tomatoes and fresh-picked corn.

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