With Your Fork and Wallet Support Slow Money KY
Growing up on a small dairy farm, my father suggested I go into banking. Why? I asked. With a smirk on his face he said, “It would be a whole lot easier to get a farming loan.” Financing is a key issue, as farming successfully requires simple access to financing, small and large scale. The same applies to small local food businesses. Expanding with new projects often only requires small loan amounts, but growing on a local, small scale is challenging when the entire system is geared towards industrialized operations. Banks do not usually engage in small loan lending and often require full collateral. This limits growth options for smaller businesses. That is where Slow Money KY comes in.
Slow Money is a grassroots/community-based investing method. As part of a national organization, the local chapter based in Louisville was founded in 2013. To date, Slow Money KY has facilitated loans to sustainable food businesses across the Bluegrass Region totaling over $200,000. These loans are usually on a peer-to-peer basis. Slow Money KY facilitates by providing an introduction between investors and business owners. The loan terms, conditions and exchange of money is handled directly by the investor and the business. Loans can start at $1,000, and are often filled by multiple private investors. Facilitating an investment is the primary goal of Slow Money, but with it comes the additional benefit of developing and supporting a healthy community network. The organization facilitates space for food businesses to connect with a community of like-minded people, share ideas and dreams, with the hope of making those dreams a reality – like these:
Amy Green, Naked Hummus Naked Hummus received the first Slow Money KY loan in 2016, and was able to expand its operations and product line to include both a market-ready falafel product and a new falafel sandwich booth at the Douglass Loop Farmers’ Market. According to Green, “I knew that we were meant to be a big part of saving our land by supporting small family farms who are sustaining the earth. Slow Money KY has enabled our business to grow and we’re currently planning our next step, which we’ll be excited to share with the Slow Money community in the upcoming months.”
Ivor Chodkowski, Grasshoppers & Field Day Family Farm With a small loan from Slow Money KY by two investors, Chodkowski invested in hoop houses for his farm to extend the fall growing season. He then launched a winter CSA, which gives over 30 families access to fresh locally grown veggies through the winter. With the Grasshoppers business, Chodkowski and his business partner Eddie Vetter are expanding into frozen and ready-made foods, such as Cilantro Pesto and handcrafted Black Bean Jalapeno Mashup. A small loan from Slow Money helps provide working capital for marketing and packaging. Investors also become avid customers. “My investors often stop by the market. Slow Money becomes a great way to get people more involved in the process,” said Chodkowski.
Joining Slow Money KY is an excellent way to invest and become vested in our community. Join the next meeting where future projects are presented on September 24 at 3pm at Farm to Fork Catering, 2425 Portland Ave., Louisville, KY 40212. Contact Larry Snyder (firstname.lastname@example.org) to RSVP or visit www.smky.org for more information