Supporting small food and farm businesses

Through volunteer work and non-profit structure, more than a fifteen small food businesses have been advised, coached and provided with peer to peer loans totaling more than $650,000. The Slow Money SLO team stays in close touch with its food entrepreneurs and strives to keep them on a sustainable pace of growth, while building the SLO County food system and economy. See our vision, mission and goals for 2016 here.

In Case you Missed it…

A Recap from Woody’s Visit to San Luis Obispo:


Woody Tasch, returned to SLO County October 6-8, 2016, after inspiring us to get a local group off the ground in 2012. It a great reunion, a great celebration of our work supporting small food enterprises and an education on the importance of Slow Money, which only Woody can really convey!

Woody was thrilled to see the fruits of our efforts and thoroughly enjoyed all the discussions he had with local entrepreneurs, lenders, donors and those involved with supporting SLO County businesses and non-profits. We have truly embraced and delivered on the Slow Money Principles and our version of implementing Nuture Capital (somewhere in between Philanthropy and Investing) will return with Woody to Boulder as further motivation for the national movement.

The national movement springs from allowing local groups to start and evolve according to the needs of the region and addressing the opportunities that best serve the local food system. Our events reflected the variety and richness of the work accomplished over the past four years.

Woody speaks to a group of ambitious college students.

Woody speaks to a group of ambitious college students.

We convened more than 125 students at Cal Poly during their Thursday UU Hour in the Chumash auditorium. Since hearing from Woody and myself, I have had numerous students reach out asking to stay connected and volunteer. One is writing a class paper on our efforts and another group is going to perform a research project to help quantify the value to some of our entrepreneurs.

Thursday night at the SLO Guild was a lot of fun. Our panel of Rob from South Bay Wild, Cecilia from Baba Small Batch and Larry from Kandarian Organic Farms were excellent. Each one told their story of effort, discovery and growth as a local food business. They were inspiring stories and Woody Tasch capped the night by providing the National view on why we are doing this work, and the importance of local, community attention to the soil, our food system and investing local. It is really at the core of building resilient communities and relationships. About 65 attended and local food was enjoyed from Vert Foods, Julia’s Juices, Root Beer from Sunshine Bottle Works and TreatSLO.

After a couple of days of meet and greet sessions, we capped the week with our Local Food Celebration at Niner Estate Wines. Local food donated by so many incredible artisan food purveyors gave the Niner kitchen a great palette to produce excellent dishes that were complemented by their wine, White, Rose and Red.

The Niner team was an incredible and generous partner in this event and we cannot thank them enough. Andy Niner has a great team, and it is easy to see why. His management and how they communicate between each other is a great example of how to run a customer focused business. In our case, we were the non-profit beneficiaries of their support for sustainability. Andy told the story about his father getting his early business off the ground with a small personal loan and he was thrilled that we are helping local small food businesses in the same way.

Woody, as always, was inspiring, painting the big picture, while making it relevant to everyone local. Woody gave those already involved a deeper perspective of why it is important, and helped those new to Slow Money to see their way to becoming more involved. Many new faces were among the 80+ attending and I feel that it has set a wonderful foundation for our work in the coming year.

Whether you saw Woody or not at the recent events you should take a moment and read his essay at the link below. It helps position why our work is so important and may encourage you to become involved or more engaged as a lender, volunteer or donor to Slow Money SLO. This essay will appear in the next issue of the Slow Money Journal. Woody has given us an advance view, in way of thanks for your efforts towards Slow Money SLO and local, small food enterprises.

The Route to Simplicity

The support and participation by friends, associates and food entrepreneurs over the three days of Woody was awesome and I didn’t want the Niner event to end. However, when it did, I felt the satisfaction that everyone had a wonderful time, but more importantly, I could see the depth of alliance with the Slow Money Principles by everyone there.

Thanks again to Hunter and Claire for their support and for wrapping these events into their first Sustainable Ag Lecture series for 2016-17. The Center for Sustainability continued the relationship which began when Woody spoke at their fundraising event in 2012, which inspired our local group to form and lend to the SLO Natural Foods Co-op.

Many thanks to all, especially the Slow Money SLO Programs team, Kylie, Danielle, Cecilia and Adam. Your commitment was fantastic and execution, even better. I look forward to bringing a few of our new volunteers to the table to help you out with our future meetings and events!

Finally, we can’t thank our food entrepreneurs (below) enough for providing the incredible local flavor to these events.

Food Donors

As always, if you have not already done so, please go to the National Slow Money website and consider signing the Principles (no cost or commitment to do this) to show your support and to receive their periodic updates of everything happening around the country.


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