Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Slow Money October Gathering Offers Ways to Invest in Slow Food

Note that the following is a guest post by writer Julene Bair about the upcoming Slow Money national gathering in SanFrancisco.——K.M.

Food security, whether it’s on the personal or international level, is too important to be taken for granted. This is true especially now, when food systems are threatened by chemical pollution, the loss of topsoil, and the limits of aquifers and oil. The Slow Food movement offers a promising response to these perils. That we should slow down, grow some of our own food, buy locally what we can’t grow ourselves, and cook using whole foods instead of opening cans or buying fast food burgers not only makes health sense. Our future depends on it. When most of the oil is gone, and it becomes too expensive to ship food from across the world, how else will our children and grandchildren eat?

Financial security, for those of us who are accustomed to it, is no longer guaranteed either. With the European debt crisis looming, the economy threatens to tumble into another recession. Many warn that we have come to the end of the age of prosperity brought about by cheap oil and that we cannot expect continued, infinite economical growth when our resources are finite.

These two forms of insecurity, in our food and financial futures, motivate me to seek a more sound and sensible way to invest. I cannot, in good judgment, continue buying stock in companies that are contributing to the ruin. Ideally, I would put my money where my mouth is. I mean not only in terms of what I preach, but what I eat. And now that a long-awaited sibling of the Slow Food movement has appeared on the scene, I think I may be able to.

Slow Money is predicated on the idea that conscientious people will choose to invest ethically and for a viable future if given the opportunity. The concept came to the world’s attention in 2009 with Inquires into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered, a book by Woody Tasch. Tasch went on to found an NGO, which is putting investors in touch with organic producers and a whole host of other entrepreneurs whose businesses support the restoration of healthy, local food supplies.

For the third year in a row, Slow Money will hold a national gathering on October 12-14, in San Francisco. Luminaries in the international environmental movement, such as Wes Jackson of the Land Institute and Vandana Shiva, named by Forbes “one of the seven most influential women in the world,” will share their visionary solutions in keynote addresses.

The financial side of solving our future will be illuminated in keynotes by, among others, Matt Flannery, the co-founder of, and Chris Martenson, whose Crash Course video series has brought millions of viewers face to face with what the end of cheap oil will likely mean for their portfolios. Thirty entrepreneurs from around the country have been chosen to showcase their young companies. Among them are farms that produce everything from milk to fruit, budding distribution networks, a farm waste recycler, a farm-based renewable energy company, a botanical pharmaceutical company, and a developer of non-toxic insecticides.

Investors looking to explore these possibilities will have a host of break-out sessions to choose from. During these sessions, dozens of other presenters who are either innovating new ways to localize food or have been successful generating capital for small and local food-related enterprises will offer their alternatives and insights.


The full, three-day registration fee for those whose interest is primarily financial is $895. Nonprofits, social entrepreneurs, startup developers , or concerned citizens pay $595. Lunches are provided, and an opening reception will offer food and music. One-day passes range in price from $195 to $495. For further information, the website is .

Guest writer Julene Bair lives in Longmont, Colorado. Her first book is One Degree West: Reflections of a Plainsdaughter. Her recently completed second book, Ogallala: One Woman’s Story of Land, Love, Water, and Loss, is yet to be marketed.

1 comment:

  1. What an insightful synthesis of the realities of food and its production in a global context. Perhaps Julene Bair will go to the Slow Money conference and share her perspective on what occurs there?

    And I'm very glad to get to know the Big Picture Agriculture blog--wonderfully organized and substantive.