Investing in a Resilient Future

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<font face=”Arial”>Slow Money founder Woody Tasch talks about investing in the future and Slow Money’s new offshoot, Gatheround.</font>
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<p>A word to keep in mind as we enter an uncertain future:<em> resilient</em>. The planet’s climate is changing,
the global economy is struggling, and people are beginning to gather whatever
threads they can find with intent to fashion a safety net. The most promising
of these threads are community, biodiversity, and thoughtful investment.</p>
<p>As global finance traders <a href=”https://www.utne.com/politics/bet-the-farm-zm0z13jfzlin.aspx”>buy and sell
food derivatives by the millisecond</a>, another international network invests
in real food at a pace far less frenzied. That group goes by the name of Slow
Money, investing in small farms, local restaurants, and distributors that
connect them. In short, “everything in the local food system needed to make the
food system healthier, more resilient,” says the organization’s founder and
chairman, Woody Tasch.</p>
<p>The idea is to create social, rather than purely economic,
dividends. “There’s a lot of embedded arithmetic [in the way we think about
investment] that’s hard to wean yourself from. So it feels risky when you first
start doing this, that’s for sure,” says Tasch. “But then you have to ask
yourself, ‘Risky compared to what?’ Personally I feel like the whole system is
so shaky and there’s so much embedded risk, everything from derivatives to
excesses–environmental and social excesses. There’s just so many different
things that are likely to be dysfunctional at various points in the near future
that I don’t think it’s that risky to take a little of our money and spend time
putting it to work in things that have tangible and immediate value, like
food.”</p>
<p>In the last three years, Slow Money has invested over $30
million in more than 220 small food businesses around the country. That number is
expected to grow through Gatheround (formerly dubbed “Soil Trust”), a way for
smaller donors to collectively amplify Slow Money’s effect. At the 2013 Mother
Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Washington, I spoke with Tasch about Gatheround
and why he thinks Slow Money is a radical venture.</p>
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