Local Farms Fund Announces Its First Farm Acquisition in Saratoga County, NY


Memorial Day, while a day of remembrance honoring fallen veterans, is often associated with the start of summer. For Local Farms Fund it will be associated with the Fund’s first farm purchase. On Friday last week, Local Farms Fund closed on its first property, a 63 acre farm located in Saratoga County, NY. The farm is being leased to Jamielynn and Timothy Biello and has a working title of “Saratoga Draft Power Farm.” Following the Local Farms Fund investment model of farmer driven acquisitions, the farm property was initially found by Jamielynn and Tim and highlighted as one that suited the needs of their long-term business plans. The property, located 20 minutes from Saratoga Springs, has a beautiful 1800s colonial house, two spring fed ponds and several barns, perfect for the Biello’s farm business plan of developing a free-choice on-farm vegetable Community Support Agriculture (CSA) operation powered by draft horses. After reviewing the farm property, the Biellos and Local Farms Fund worked together to acquire the farm at an economic price from the sellers that met the needs of both the Fund and future farm tenants. Now the Biellos have a 20-year lease with purchase options rights from Local Farms Fund allowing them to focus capital on a successful business but still providing the necessary land security.

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During the first couple of years the Biellos will focus on building soil fertility and infrastructure development necessary to support the CSA. The long-term farm plan includes eggs and meat, wholesale to local restaurants and grocers, as well as the potential for on-farm education and agritourism. Tim and Jamielynn will be moving to the homestead over the course of the next few days learning the ins and outs of their new home.

This purchase represents the first of several farms that Local Farms Fund intends to acquire over the next couple of years. The Fund has a very simple investment model. Find sustainable farmers looking for land access in the NY Foodshed. Buy farmland that meets the needs of the farmer’s business. Provide the farmer with a lease-to-own arrangement. The farm purchase in Saratoga County is a perfect example of the Fund’s investment strategy at work.

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Local Farms Fund is extremely excited to have Jamielynn and Tim as the first farm tenants and know they will have great success with the Saratoga Draft Power Farm.

Jamielynn and Tim standing in the field closest to the house and barns. This field is approximately 10 acres. Directly behind wooded area in the photo there is another large open field of around 15 acres. In total the property is 63 acres and about 35 of those are wooded, providing a natural habitat for native wildlife.

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Goodwin Procter Hosts Event For Start-up Entrepreneurs

Law firm Goodwin Procter will host a networking and Q&A session with founder of KIND, Inc. Daniel Lubetzky, as well as a speed coaching session with pros from Accion, Goodwin Procter, KIND and Sam Adams. Coaches will cover a range of topics including digital branding, communications, marketing, writing a business plan, creative design, raising capital, growing your business and much, much more.

In addition, there will be information about Goodwin Procter’s Neighborhood Business Initiative, which offers pro bono legal services to low income and inner city entrepreneurs. Other resources available to take advantage of include: Sam Adams’ Brewing the American Dream and Accion.

Date: June 10, 2015
Time: 5:30PM
Location: Goodwin Procter
620 Eighth Avenue; Manhattan, NY


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The First Edible Business Conference Will Convene From June 5th-7th


The NYC area Edible Magazine collective (Edible Brooklyn, Edible Manhattan and Edible East End) is producing a conference from June 5-7 at Stony Brook Southhampton to discuss all things about the business of food and drink. The conference will be hosted by The Food Lab, a center for food education, media and enterprise, and will bring together farmers, chefs, drink makers, food investors and many more folks to promote a healthier regional food system.

The weekend-long conference will include:

A cocktail and shellfish reception curated by Edible East End (The EIC of which is SMNYC board member Brian Halweil).

Discussions on the business of booze, the convergence of food and technology, and social enterprise in the North Eastern Foodshed.

A keynote conversation with Food 52’s Amanda Hesser and food novelist Jessica Soffer

Tastings of a wide array of products from brewers, yogurt makers, ice cream scoopers, poultry-women, baristas and more

And, what’s especially exciting, is that SMNYC’s Derek Denckla will be a panelist on Sunday June 7th. He’ll discuss the social purpose of the food business with Mary Cleaver (Cleaver Company), Tanya Steel (Kid’s State Dinner at the Whitehouse), Kathleen Masters (AFI), Ron Tanner (NASFT), Kevin Elgoff (Local Farms Fund) and Liz Neumark (Great Performances).

Grab your tickets to this event filled with amazing food, drink and conversation here: Grab your ticket 

See you there!

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The Fresh Connection Kickstarter Launch

FC_letterheadWe’re excited to announce that on the heels of our successful KivaZip fundraising campaign, The Fresh Connection has launched a new campaign on Kickstarter (http://kck.st/1cxHeu1)

unnamed-2The Fresh Connection is the only trucking and logistics company in New York City that specializes in supporting the local food system. Since 2012 we have made it our mission to get food from local farms and producers to the restaurants, businesses, and CSA customers they serve.

The goal of this Kickstarter is to purchase a refrigerated Sprinter Van. We currently lease our trucks, and this will be the first vehicle owned outright by The Fresh Connection. It will be branded with our logo, and will increase our capacity and flexibility, enabling us to grow and serve an even wider range of local farmers and food producers.

For your contribution you can receive The Fresh Connection swag as well as rewards generously contributed by other food businesses in our network such as Regal Vegan, Splendid Spoon, Good Eggs, Great Performances, Natural Gourmet Institute, City Saucery, Culture Yogurt, Heritage Radio Network, Brooklyn Grange, and Quinciple.

Thank you so much for your support!! http://kck.st/1cxHeu1


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Food + Enterprise Feedback & Funding

FE2015__021We can’t believe it’s been an entire month since Food + Enterprise.

The Wall Street Journal gave us their feedback on Food + Enterprise + Pitch: http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-sort-of-shark-tank-for-food-artisans-1425667828.

“Last weekend, a crowd of investors, entrepreneurs and consultants packed a modish Brooklyn warehouse to hear funding pitches from some of the city’s buzziest startups….”

Now, we’d love your feedback, so fill out this Survey.

Since the Summit, we’ve been busily promoting the funding of those “buzziest startups” — Pitch Finalists from both 2015  AND 2014 on Barnraiser and Kiva Zip, respectively.

FE2015__048Our “slow” community set a new speed record  on Kiva Zip– funding a $10,000 loan to The Fresh Connection in less than 4 days! Thanks to all who participated.

Barnraiser and Kiva Zip represent a new initiative by Slow Money NYC to develop relationships with funding platforms for local sustainable food and farm businesses at various stages of development. For a full range of financing options, check out the “Get Funded” page on the Food + Enterprise website.

FE2015__034We’ve also had the chance to review some of the feedback we’ve received from F+E event-goers. Here are some of the nice things folks had to say about Food + Enterprise:

“It was particularly great to see people from so many stakeholder groups in the room – we’re so often stuck in our own little silos.” 

“Great people! I made so many great connections and learned so much.”

“I attend a lot of food industry related events and I’ll be the first to say — not all of these events are created equal…This event is definitely one that will be remembered… There is nothing more motivating than being in a community with folks who love what they do!” 

We’d love to hear from anyone who attended Food + Enterprise.  Help us make the event serve to build our “slow” community by filling out this Survey.  Thanks!

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Slow Money NYC Endorses Fresh Connection on Kiva Zip

Fresh Connection

Mark Jaffe of Fresh Connection NYC

Slow Money NYC has endorsed Mark Jaffe and his business, The Fresh Connection, for a $10,000 loan on Kiva Zip.

UPDATE 03/24/15: The Fresh Connection Loan has been fully funded — in less than one week!

Kiva Zip is an online portal that allows you to support small businesses with 0% interest loans and enable them to access up to $10,000 to grow their businesses. It only takes $5 to make an impact and anyone can lend.

KivaZipKiva Zip is about human connections. Kiva Zip uses an entrepreneur’s network as a measure of creditworthiness, obtaining loan endorsements from Trustees in their communities.

Kiva Zip Trustees source entrepreneurs they believe in and publicly endorse them as borrowers on the Kiva Zip website.  Trustees have no financial liability for loans, but their reputation is tied to the repayment rate of the borrowers they endorse. Trustees can be individuals or organizations.

Slow Money NYC recently became a “Trustee” on Kiva Zip.  Fresh Connection is the first endorsement of a Borrower made by Slow Money NYC as a Kiva Zip Trustee. And, we are excited to share this loan with all of you.  As of this writing, The Fresh Connection has raised almost 90% of his loan amount in just five days!

Mariana Cotlear gives Honorarium to Winner

Mariana Cotlear gives Honorarium to Winner Mark Jaffe

You probably remember Mark Jaffe and The Fresh Connection as the winner of Food+Enterprise + Pitch in 2014. By participating as a lender in this campaign, you can directly invest in building the infrastructure that farms and small food producers need to get their products to wholesale customers, CSA drop-off locations and even directly to consumers.

Please join us by making a loan to The Fresh Connection on Kiva Zip: https://zip.kiva.org/loans/12748

Derek Denckla, founder of Slow Money NYC –and an early lender to The Fresh Connection on Kiva Zip — puts it this way:

“You should fund Mark Jaffe for the same reason that he won Food + Enterprise + Pitch last year. Anyone who studies how to restore our local food and farm economies knows — like our Pitch judges knew — that diverse distribution options for farms are key business resources required to rebuild missing infrastructure. Now you can be part of the change you want to see and increase access to local food by lending to Fresh Connection.”

As the first loan endorsed by Slow Money NYC, Deutsche Bank is doubling all loans to The Fresh Connection; so if you loan $100, its worth $200 to The Fresh Connection.


Mark Jaffe featured in NY Times

For more about The Fresh Connection and why we think it’s an excellent company to back, read this New York Times profile of Mark Jaffe and other entrepreneurs that participated in the Fair Food Fund Network Bootcamp.  Or, watch Mark Jaffe’s winning pitch at Food+Enterprise 2014: https://vimeo.com/98965189

your name hereYour business could have the next loan endorsed by Slow Money NYC on Kiva Zip! Any business may apply to Slow Money NYC for its endorsement of a loan on Kiva Zip by letting us know how you fit most or all of the Investment Criteria laid out in this link in an email to info [a] slowmoneynyc.org.

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My Favorite Social Innovation Projects From Food + Enterprise

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.05.06 AMThe below is a reprint of Foodshed Investor Ryan Gaines’ social innovation newsletter:

This week’s letter is focused on interesting projects that I came across at the Food + Enterprise Conference this past weekend in Brooklyn. There are many more on their website and several also launched Barnraiser campaigns during the pitch competition on the last day. I hope you enjoy.

Brewing the American Dream: Samuel Adams co-founder, Jim Koch, started Brewing the American Dream to help small food, beverage, craft brewing, and hospitality businesses across the country by offering access to coaching and mentoring sessions with industry experts and working capital loans through Accion.

Lexicon of Sustainability (LOS): LOS uses photos, books, videos, pop-shows and speaking events to help people live more sustainably by educating them on the meaning of the key words used to describe sustainability. As part of Project Localize, they partnered with a high school gastronomy class (why didn’t my high school have this?) to create visually-stunning photos and narratives of local sustainability stories.

Food Oasis Project: Students for Service / Teens for Food Justice created a hydroponic farm in a Bed-Stuy classroom that teaches students about farming & healthy eating and distributes the produce to the local community.  They are now looking to build commercial-scale farms on rooftops throughout New York City to help meet the nutrition needs of those most at-risk.  Find out more and support their project on Barnraiser here.

Bernoulli Finance: Anjali Oberoi left her job in traditional finance to pursue her passion for chocolate and mission-driven organizations. She now leads Bernoulli Finance, a consulting firm for mission-driven food companies and organizations. At the conference, she gave an interesting talk on cash flow management for early stage companies. Let me know if this is something you need help with.

I’d love to hear more about your reactions to Food + Enterprise.  If you would like to share your impressions at Food + Enterprise, please email me and I will gather some best for posting. ​


​Have a great week!


Ryan Gaines

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Slow Money’s Major Regional Event of 2015—Food + Enterprise—is Less Than Two Weeks Away!

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Food + Enterprise is Slow Money’s major regional event of 2015, attracting the most active leaders from our Slow Money network, including Executive Director and Founder Woody Tasch, the entire Board of Slow Money NYC and 20 members of Foodshed Investors NY. And…it’s less than two weeks away!

Entrepreneurs can connect with active angel investors, funders and consultants.  Consultants can make connections with potential clients and funders.  And Investors can build relationships with entrepreneurs, other funders and consultants.  Visit our Who Should Attend for more reasons on why you should attend and our Program page for more details about the event.

We would also like to take this opportunity to introduce a group of exciting new speakers who will share their knowledge with us at F+E: Douglas Gayeton of Lexicon of Sustainability, Jordyn Lexton of Drive Change, Dennis Derryck of Corbin Hill, Dorothy Suput of The Carrot Project, and Ryan Fibiger of FleishersTickets to F+E are going fast, so make sure to purchase them before they’re gone.

On a related note, join F+E summit-goers on Saturday Night for Jeffersonian-style Dinners at local restaurants GOOD FORKTALDE, and THISTLE HILL, all of which are sourcing from NYC Greenmarkets! These small group dinners are curated by Food Maker Media and students of Farm School NYC, and are designed to enhance the learning of the Food + Enterprise Summit. We hope these meals are another opportunity to bring F+E attendees together to share new ideas and form alliances to finance a better food system. Limited tickets available.

Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you February 27th-March 1st!

Slow Money members use Discount Code “Slow50” to take $50 of all ticket levels: Startup $149, Emerging $249 and Established $399.  Tickets going fast.  REGISTER HERE.

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Slow Money NYC Welcomes New Board Members

Slow Money NYC is excited to announce that it has recently added six new board members to our (already amazing) Board of Advisors. They hail from diverse areas within the sustainable, local food industry: Editor of publications, founder of a CSA, urban farmer, investor in sustainable food start-ups and strategist for business and community development. Without further ado, Slow Money NYC is thrilled to introduce them to our Network:

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 3.31.07 PMBrian Halweil is the editor-in-chief of Edible Brooklyn, Edible East End, Edible Long Island and Edible Manhattan magazines. His writing has focused on organic farming, biotechnology, hunger, and rural communities. He is hte author of Eat Here: Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket, and he lives in Sag Harbor, New York, where he and his family keep a home garden and raise oysters.

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 3.38.27 PMGuillaume Gauthereau is a business leader, serial entrepreneur, and a social conscious activist. Guillaume was the CEO and co-founder of Totsy, where he successfully raised over $45M in financing, built a team of over 100 people, and became the 2nd largest US private sale website dedicated to moms and kids. Prior to Totsy, Guillaume worked in several executive roles for luxury and retail brands (LVMH, Nestle, Colgate), including the distinction of being the youngest CEO for an international luxury retail company (Lalique). Guillaume is a partner in Jacqueline & Jerome, a line of super fresh vinaigrette, the founder of New York Bee Sanctuary and the Chairman of Sequoia Lab, where he advises companies with sustainable and socially responsible interests on growth and brand strategies. He also serves on numerous boards including Grameen Bank America, Friends of UNFPA, Slow Money NYC, Foodstand, NRDC NY Council, e2 Environmental Entrepreneurs, BrickHouse Security, GustOrganics, and Ayoka Productions. Guillaume has received extensive recognition in the global media for his achievements, as well as numerous awards, including being named NYC Venture Fellow and a finalist for the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2012. He teaches Meditation & Mindfulness to individuals and corporations. He has a PhD from the Ecole Nationale Veterinaire de Maisons-Alfort, Paris.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.36.20 AMChristopher Washington, Managing Director of Radicle Farm Company, has co-founded three urban agriculture farms totaling over 140,000 sq.ft. across traditional and hydroponic grow space, and has managed both large and small teams. Christopher speaks across the nation and had a chance to address the Clinton Global Initiative focused on “Market Based Innovations,” and is featured in the book “The Coming Prosperity: How Entrepreneurs Are Transforming The Global Economy.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 11.27.25 AMCaitlin Dourmashkin has spent the last eight years focused on supporting local manufacturing and small businesses development as the Director of Planning and Community Development for EVERGREEN, an industrial development non-profit organization in North Brooklyn. In 2011, Caitlin founded the Small Food Producers Network as a monthly meet-up for emerging food manufacturers. Over the past three years, The Network has grown to over 300 businesses, and services now include regular business development workshops and direct one-on-one consulting around finance and strategic planning. Caitlin holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 6.19.00 PMWen-Jay Ying is the Program Director and Founder of Local Roots NYC, a mission driven organization that creates a local food culture through an alternative CSA model and various events such as pop up supper clubs and an annual music and food festival. The Local Roots CSA has 15 locations throughout NYC, supports over 10 local farmers, and feeds approximately 450 families with sustainably grown produce and small-batch value added products. In 2014, Wen-Jay received the Entrepreneur of the Year award from former Mayor Bloomberg. Previously, she worked at Red Jacket Orchards where she set up the first fruit-only CSA in NYC and was an Americorps VISTA at Just Food as their CSA Resource Associate. Wen-Jay attended Boston University for her undergraduate with a major in psychology. In her free time, she also books concerts, plays music, and hangs out with her corgi.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 9.22.48 AMChristine Rico is a social entrepreneur, growth strategist and financial consultant to growth phase businesses with a social impact mission.  Her company, Waste to Wealth Ventures, serves businesses across sectors. But Christine’s love of good healthy food and commitment to building a sustainable food systems has led her to a concentration of work with food producers and other food-related enterprises.  Christine is a bike-commuting, fruit and vegetable grower who lives in Brooklyn.

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Slow Money NYC Turns 1,000 (on Meetup…)

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Slow Money NYC is thrilled to report that last week we officially obtained our 1,000th member on Meetup.com.

A big thanks to John Wiseman for being our 1000th member (and alerting us to this momentous occasion!). John is a marketing and partnerships maven, who invests in local bars and restaurants and advises on the marketing council for the Food Bank for NYC. Thanks again, John!

John Wiseman

Mr. John Wiseman, 1000th Member!

This milestone is a moment of pride, excitement, and reflection as we look back at the hard, fun work that got us to this point. It’s a moment to look around from the top of this significant numeric peak and think about what’s next for us. New leadership. New organizational rigor. New ideas. New blood. New Year.

Some questions that will help us form our agenda for the new year:

  • How do we want to honor these 1000 members and continue to earn their loyalty?
  • How do we want to call upon these 1000 members to help us build the network to 10,000?
  • How will we articulate the importance of this work that requires us to grow this movement?
  • What programs will we devise to deliver value to ourselves and our members that makes this network worth maintaining?

What do you think?  Please let us know your reaction to these pivotal questions.

Our challenge is to become activists and to embrace this Network as our own — worthy of our nurture, our admiration and our ongoing commitment.

Building a network (and a movement) requires all of us — its members — to be actively engaged and connected, making opportunities to meet and to discuss what’s important.

To that end, please make sure that you join us at our next Meetup on February 10th, 2015 about crowd-funding strategies from the pros.

And, do not miss your opportunity to register for the Food + Enterprise Summit 2015. This gathering defines our community and makes our ties stronger every year. Register here and do so soon! We sold out two weeks early last year.

Thank you so much for all of your commitment to building Slow Money NYC as a home for us all to dream about a better food system and its financing.

This network is ours. This network is us. Let’s keep it fresh and relevant together.

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