Some of the best, locally produced hummus and Mediterranean salads you will find anywhere! Farmers markets and local grocers carry their products. Slow Money SLO recently provided coaching, financial analysis and peer to peer lending to help Baba Small Batch purchase a packaging machine. This increases their production capacity and eliminated the need to outsource to a co-packer outside SLO County! For more details on their products and company story go to


Elemental Herbs is planning some new products, expanding their staff and has recently opened a new facility in Morro Bay, allowing them to bring their warehousing and distribution back to SLO County! Slow Money SLO provided assistance in early 2015. Find out more about their All Good Organic products at


These entrepreneurs are a recent local food and drink businesses funded with Slow Money SLO peer to peer loans. Reef Points makes a great dry, hard cider and has a second product coming out soon. Check out their mention in Wine Enthusiast magazine, links below!  This is not your typical cider, definitely worth a try if you are dining at Sidecar, or you can find it at many other restaurants and groceries across SLO County.


Black Diamond Vermicompost provided us with a great education on vermicompost and how her business has grown over the past few years, by business owner Cristy Christie. Also, Stefanie from Farm Fuel spoke about their natural pesticide and fertilizers from organic materials, for small and large farms. Nicki Anderson updated us on the happenings and upcoming events at the SLO City Farm, including their children’s garden!


We live within an abundant farm and ranch community, but accessing grass-fed meats from local sources is currently out of reach of the general population. There is a gap between our farms and ranches and the dinner tables in our neighborhoods, and Greener Pastures will bridge the gap. For many years, researchers, producers and agricultural officials have sought a solution to the dilemma a small producer faces in trying to reach markets adequately. There is hard-earned money left on the table every time a producer takes animals from the ranch to the livestock sale, and healthfulness degrades as each animal makes its way through the conventional production process. Until now, there was no way to bridge the producer-to-consumer gap directly and reliably while remaining profitable. Greener Pastures is the solution.

Greener pastures will pay ranchers a higher price for their pastured, healthy livestock than they would otherwise receive at the livestock auction. We will pick up the animals, process them at a USDA-inspected facility, and bring them to the butcher shop for cutting and wrapping to order, all at a price the average family and business can afford. We accomplish this by coordinating a year-round harvest schedule with ranchers, who will be happy to work with us for the higher return on their livestock and pick-up service, and by building our sales volume within one year to a level that will sustain a lower price for our customers. The volume we will need to attain will be supported wide delivery to businesses at prices that are competitive with conventional (factory-farmed and feedlot) meats, which combined with our reliable quality through knowledgeable harvesting and old-world style cutting techniques will take us to the front of the competition.


Starting this November, Farmgram will open our digital doors to San Luis Obispo’s first ever Online Farmers’ Market! Our mission is to make sustainably sourced and locally produced goods accessible and convenient.
Our website will allow you to fill your baskets with any combination and quantity of seasonal produce, freshly made artisan goods and all the ingredients you need to stock your kitchen. Then we deliver it right to your doorstep. We will also offer our DIY meal kits and themed boxes for convenient cooking at home.

Right now we are developing our online store and connecting with the countless number of local food producers and growers in the San Luis Obispo community in order to offer a comprehensive grocery shopping experience.

The three of us –Tyler Thomas, Adrian Godby and Tessa Salzman– have been working for almost a year on what started as a senior project. We got connected to the resources at the HotHouse in January and have been testing and developing our ideas surrounding growing the market for local farmers ever since.

Farmgram is just one piece to the larger vision of a strong, self sustaining and localized food system on the Central Coast. Our vision extends beyond Farmgram towards building a community deeply connected to the story of our local resources and food value chains. We see Farmgram as a way to begin cultivating the necessary relationships and fostering a culture where food can be grown, stored, processed, aggregated, distributed and consumed close to home. We are enthused about the potential for collaboration in the San Luis Obispo community, being surrounded by so many other great local food businesses already working to strengthen relationships.


Supporting Small Farm and Food Entrepreneurs
in San Luis Obispo County

Slow Money SLO progress after one year

by Jeff Wade, Slow Money Local Leader

With strawberries and wine grapes representing almost half of the total San Luis Obispo County crop revenues in 2012, over $400M out of $861M, there is certainly a need to assist and support the small farmer who struggles to access expensive land and bring product to market with some profit; even with 22 farmer’s markets and 15 CSA offerings in the County. Slow Money SLO has brought together investors and funded six entrepreneurs over the past 12 months to the tune of approximately $200,000. Read on to hear about our first recipient, SLO Natural Foods.

After almost a year of hard work by the staff and Board as well as amazing volunteer work, the 30 year young SLO Natural Foods has completed a major remodel of a vacant building and has moved into this larger, brighter space around the corner from the old store. They can now offer many more items desired by the community and compete with the larger stores. The Grand Opening celebration was July 13th with food samples, prizes and music. It was an especially great opportunity for Slow Money SLO since they also have a mission to support local food suppliers. See the new store in this SLO Natural Foods video.

It was exciting to see three other Slow Money SLO entrepreneurs participating in the Grand Opening. These businesses are sourcing ingredients from SLO Natural Foods or selling product through the store, in some cases, both!

  • Benefit Foods has created an incredible vegan, organic, gluten free bar that is wrapped in biodegradable packaging. They are working to create a Lunchbox program to help address child hunger and promote healthy food in SLO County.
  • Mama Ganache sources Fair Trade chocolate for their artisan, organic truffles and bars. When Dr. Tom Neuhaus isn’t instructing chocolate production at Cal Poly, running the Fair Trade club, or producing chocolate, he operates the NGO he founded called Project Hope and Fairness, to help West African cocoa farmers become more economically sustainable.
  • Vert Foods provided samples of their tasty, nutritionally dense prepared foods, which are available for weekly delivery and soon on a daily basis at SLO Natural Foods.

We are online at, or send email if you would like to chat about our efforts or discuss local leader topics. We have formed a Steering Team to help guide the progress and growth of our group over the next 12-18 months. Local partnerships, education and on-going support for Slow Money recipients are among the major goals for the coming year.


CLICK on the picture …

Photo participants

Mama Ganache – Tom Neuhaus, Lani Bidwell and Eve Neuhaus

Vert Foods – Virginia Marum

Benefit Foods – Michael Bishop and Amanda Gerard

SLO Natural Foods – Alexis de Falla and Zoe Sanchez



As a past customer of Mama Ganache Artisan Chocolates, you may be interested to know what my company and I are doing to help West African cocoa farmers.  In 2006, Ernie Roide and I established the non-profit Project Hope and Fairness to find ways to help the very farmers who produce 75% of the world’s cocoa beans.  We focus our efforts in three countries–Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Cameroon.  PH&F has three missions:  1, to distribute tools to villages in order to enhance economic sustainability;  2, to expose university students and others to the realities of the cocoa business;  and 3, to establish cocoa study centers where students and cocoa farmers can work on issues such as appropriate technology, permaculture, and establishment of cottage industry, especially the production, packaging and merchandising of chocolate locally.

Right now, I am working on two projects:  1,  to finish building a rice hulling/chocolate production center in Depa, Cote d’Ivoire and 2, to raise money for students to attend our cocoa study center in Ekona, Cameroon.

We are holding a wine and food pairing fundraiser on Saturday, July 20.  If you live too far away or cannot come. perhaps you would consider donating to our general fund. This is easily done by visiting and clicking on the Donate button.

In any case, please find below a description of the rice hulling/cocoa processing center, a description of the fundraiser, and a link to an article about one of my students who is bicycling with his brother across the U.S. to raise money for scholarships to the center.

Incidentally, Mama Ganache sells Cocoa Study Center bars, each of which contributes $1 to student scholarships.


Hope On a Bike:  Two Brothers Cross America for Project Hope and Fairness:



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SLO Natural Foods

      Local – Sustainable – Health

SLO Natural Foods – New Name, New Place and More Space!
July 13th, 2013 Grand Opening

SAN LUIS OBISPO: The Natural Foods Co-op of San Luis Obispo now has a new name, SLO Natural Foods and a new location which includes nearly twice the retail, produce and freezer space and a separate room full of natural supplements and health products as well as off-street parking spaces.

Everyone is invited to join the Grand Opening Event on July 13th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Join the staff, volunteers and Member Owners at the Grand Opening for great food, entertainment and giveaways. Music will feature local favorites: Bob and Wendy, Matt Frakes and Kevin “Tex” Bennet.  Vert Foods will have samples of the delicious food customers can expect from the deli cases for quick items on the go, and an ever greater variety later when the in-store cafe opens.  Many other local food vendors will also be there throughout the day.  These will include: Airen’s Confections, Coastal Peak Coffee, Mama Ganache Chocolates, Joebella Coffee, SLO Fresh Catch, Central Coast Grown, Benefit Foods, makers of the locally produced V-Bar, Crucial Chocolates, and Manzanita Manor Organics growers of organic dry farmed walnuts from Paso Robles.

SLO Natural Foods is still the same Member Owned Cooperative that San Luis Obispo County residents have counted on for over 30 years to provide value and useful information that empowers community health and well-being by promoting local small farmers, organic products and non-GMO standards. See the new store in our video.

Hours are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday hours are expected to begin on a trial basis later in the month. Annual memberships are $25 and member/owners receive additional offers and discounts. See more at or stop by the new store for good food and information.

Our new location is 2494 Victoria Av, one block off Broad Street at the east end of Caudill where it meets Victoria, and just two blocks away from the former location on Francis Street.

Company Contact:

Gwen Schmidt, General Manager



Here is an update from Virginia that I received in March. Vert Foods launched in October 2012 with a vision to provide nourishing foods to individuals and families in SLO County. Our image was similar to a farm box but instead of being filled with veggies and fruits, it would be packed with ready to eat prepared meals using nutrient dense cooking foundations.

With the help of SLOW Money SLO, Vert Foods was able to establish our company and get a kitchen in cooperation with the SLO Grange Hall. We are now 60 days into our official start and are serving over 25 families and hosting events throughout SLO County. Vert Foods looks forward to furthering our vision by expanding into teaching classes, a cooperative kitchen and space, where the mission of providing nourishment and joy will thrive.

Stay up to date on Vert Foods events at and check out this recent press! Vert Foods in Santa Maria Times