Slow Money Movement Spreads North
Slow Money Movement Spreads North, The founders hope to rebuild the economy from the ground up by focusing on the way food and finance function. Slow Money movement spreads north to Canada, When Mary Ellen and Andreas Grueneberg started their small artisanal farm in Leduc, Alberta, over a decade ago, they knew they were heading into a field that requires hard work. The keen growers of organic produce and poultry knew a lot of their time and energy would be spent trying to secure funding to operate from year to year — money that has proven to be as hard to source as the most exotic edible flowers.
“We’re on 10 acres and are considered an acreage,” Mary Ellen Grueneberg says on the line from her farm, called Greens, Eggs and Ham. “Financing for agricultural use on 10 acres is practically impossible. You can’t get $10,000 to raise a flock of ducks that will be sold in two months. Every year, there are four to five [small farms] in Alberta that go under or give up … You can’t exist without capital.”
The Gruenebergs are trying a new tack to grow their business. And in doing so, the founders of Slow Money Alberta are not only rethinking the way the food and finance sectors function but they have also joined a movement that’s gaining momentum around the globe.
Slow Money, which was founded by former entrepreneur Woody Tasch in 2008, is aimed at rebuilding the economy from the ground up – literally — by having people invest small amounts of money into farms and local food systems. It’s not about the get-rich-quick schemes we’ve become so motivated (and disillusioned) by but rather about accepting smaller returns in exchange for sustainability.
Just as the Slow Food movement has taken off, Slow Money is attracting those who want to know exactly where their investment dollars are going and how they’re being used at a time when mass-produced food systems have left small farms struggling to survive and preservative- and pesticide-laden items have become the norm.
At Greens, Eggs and Ham, investors get a credit, including a modest interest rate, all calculated in food. On other farms, returns might be in cash with an interest rate of around 3 per cent or higher, but regulations vary from province to province and state to state.