Slow Money Gathering Looks to Continue Investment Momentum in Sustainable Agriculture Enterprises
October 17, 2011 | Robert Puro
Last week Seedstock had the pleasure of attending the 3rd annual Slow Money National Gathering held in San Francisco, CA. The event, designed to drive investment in sustainable agriculture and small food enterprises as well as promote the principles of Slow Money, brought together investors, entrepreneurs, activists and farmers from all over the world.
The conference sought to build upon the momentum and increased investment in small food enterprises generated by the previous year’s national gathering held at Shelburne Farms in Vermont.
In his opening remarks to the conference attendees, Slow Money Founder and President Woody Tasch said, “$4 Million dollars was invested in 12 of the small food enterprises that presented” at last year’s event. Further emphasizing the growing interest among investors in Slow Money sustainable agriculture enterprise he noted that “since that meeting last year, 11 local Slow Money chapters have emerged around the country and more than $5 million dollars has flown through those chapters.”
From an institutional investment perspective, $9 million does not sound like a lot of money, but Tasch exclaimed, “from the standpoint of individuals rolling their sleeves up and beginning to do what needs doing, from the standpoint of something as portentous as awakening biophilia in the heart and mind of the 21st century investor, $9 million dollars is beautiful.”
And that ‘beautiful’ trickle of slow money investment was exactly what the approximately 30 companies that presented in the conference’s Entrepreneur Showcase were looking to get their hands on.
The presenting companies ran the gamut from sustainable and organic farming operations to online local food system platforms to organic composters. Select presenters included: Growing Spaces, a producer of energy-efficient geodesic greenhouse kits; Grass Run Farms, a producer of 100% grass fed beef; VermiVision, a company looking to revolutionize the field of vermicompost, or worm compost; LFS Enterprises, a venture that seeks to establish a network of local food distribution hubs in Colorado; Foodtree, a company that has developed an iPhone app that displays a real-time feed of food photos near you, showing consumers what’s fresh and available at their local market; Farmland LP, a private equity fund that acquires conventional farmland and converts it into certified organic, sustainable farmland; Frog Hollow Farm, a 133 acre organic farm located in Brentwood, CA that produces 25 varieties of peaches, plums, nectarines, pluots, cherries, Asian and European pears, table grapes and apricots; and Veritable Vegetable, a distributor of certified organic produce that has been operating since 1974.
Over the next few weeks, Seedstock will take a closer look at a number of the entrepreneurial companies that presented at the conference. So stay tuned.
The following is the complete list of companies that participated in the Slow Money Entrepreneurial Showcase:
Bledsoe Pork, Woodland, CA
Bovinity Health, Narvon, PA
Capay Valley Farm Shop, Esparto, CA
Farm Power Northwest LLC, Mount Vernon, WA
Farmer D Organics, Atlanta, GA
Farmhand Foods, Raleigh-Durham, NC
Farmland LP, San Francisco, CA
Foodtree, Vancouver, BC
Frog Hollow Farm, Brentwood, CA
Gourmet Gorilla Inc, Chicago, IL
Grass Run Farms 100% Grass Fed Beef, Dorchester, IA
Greenling, Austin, TX
Growing Spaces LLC, Pagosa Springs, CO
Indigenous, Santa Rosa, CA
Just Local Foods, Viroqua, WI
LFS Enterprises, Boulder, CO
Lotus Foods Inc., Richmond, CA
Maine Grains at the Somerset Grist Mill, Skowhegan, ME
Marin Sun Farms Inc. / Rancho Slaughterhouse Project, Point Reyes Station, CA
Miles Smith Farm, Loudon, NH
Northern Girl, Vasssalboro, ME
People’s Community Market, Oakland, CA
Point Reyes Compost Company, Point Reyes, CA
Stockbox Grocers, Seattle, WA
Sustainable Settings Raw Dairy Initiative, Carbondale, CO
Veritable Vegetable, San Francisco, CA
VermiVision Inc., San Diego, CA
Vestaron, Kalamazoo, MI
If you are interested in investing in any of these companies, you can begin a dialogue with them by clicking on this link: http://www.slowmoney.org/national-gathering/investorshowcase.php