Slow Money: Slow It WAY The Heck Down
What is Slow Food? What is Slow Money?
There used to be a popular bumper sticker that said, “It’s Your Town – Slow It Down” – presumably aimed at drivers who were going too fast through a little town–on their way to the beach or somewhere bigger.
But how can SLOW MONEY–slowing down your money–help you through a Recession or keep more money in your wallet? Maybe in the same that SLOW FOOD helps you stay centered and focused on what matters: nutrition and community. Because the way you invest matters–for the earth and for you.
Slower Food to Slower Money: Bring Money Back Down to Earth
A different kind of slowing down is happening in culinary circles all around the world, and the concept of “slow” applies not just to your palate now but to your finances as well. The first Slow Money conference was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2009.
Things have changed and evolved, and the Slow Money Institute was born. The Slow Money Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to catalyzing the flow of capital to local food systems, connecting investors to the places where they live and promoting new principles of fiduciary responsibility that “bring money back down to earth.”
Cliff Feigenbaum, who runs the Green Money Journal, has been writing about socially responsible investing, and the Green movement and more since 1992. He said, “Everyone has a relationship to money: let’s talk about it. It’s time to look closely at the ‘Oprah approach’ that promotes earning as much money as possible, then turning around and investing it responsibly. Investing in Phillip Morris [the tobacco company] by day then cancer research by night is a schizophrenic way of thinking and being.”
Raise Your Consciousness and Change Your Wallet
The Slow Money movement, like its sister movement, the Slow Food Movement, is about getting conscious: in this case about money – how you spend it and the impact you have as a consumer and investor. Beyond the economics of good food, one of the conversations at the first conference centered on “the speed of money” – that it has a velocity of sorts – and how to capture this fast-moving capital and direct it toward a world that is more human-centered.
The following book is a classic in the sustainability movement and worth a read if you are just getting started with the concept of slow investing:
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I Want To Slow My Money Down – How Do I Get Involved?
First, check out some of the many sites now available for socially responsible investors. One such site is the Social Investment Forum, and another is socialfunds.com, which covers socially responsible mutual funds. Cliff’s site, the GreenMoney Journal, also covers all aspects of socially responsible investing. Socially responsible investing has many different facets: 1—screening investments by certain criteria, like social, environmental and good corporate governance, 2—being a shareholder/advocate, and 3—investing directly in communities.
What is Beetcoin? (No, not THAT guy)
Beetcoin makes low interest loans and 0% loans to organic farms and food businesses. Here’s how it works. Since 2010, more than $80 million has flowed to over 800 small organic farms and food businesses via volunteer-led groups. Local groups are banding together across the U.S. and elsewhere to make 0% loans to farmers and food entrepreneurs. When the loans are repaid, the money recirculates locally.
Incidentally, Beetcoin is a project of the Slow Money Institute, and not associated with this guy, who runs a similar-named site:
How Do I Slow Down My Food?
The first step is to get to know your farmer (the Slow Money conference was held in the Farmer’s Market building in Santa Fe). Start to trace the route from your local farmers to the restaurants you frequent, and see how well your grocery stores are doing. Are you still eating fruit shipped from halfway around the world?
Be A Locavore
Also, visit Local Harvest for a list of local organic farmers, farmer’s markets, and food co-ops where you live. If you can, join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm and get fresh local, seasonal produce directly from the farm to your table – this is one of the best ways to support local farmers because your subscription helps their cash flow and time management – and keeps them in business.
This also helps you wallet by getting fresh, local, nutritious food for your family for less.
Go Big–Think International
Also see Slow Food International for more ideas. They have sections of Slow Food Travel, Slow Fish, Slow Cheese, Food For Change, Food Waste, and more.
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Photo by nrd and Mael BALLAND