Local food. Local fuel. Local finance. All these popular ideas can help us build a more resilient local economy, and that means an even better community to live in.
On March 20, 2014, authors and locavists from North Carolina, Carol Peppe Hewitt (author of Financing Our Foodshed: Growing Local Food with Slow Money, and Lyle Estill (author of numerous books on alternative energy and local activism) are bringing “Running On Local” to Brooklyn for the evening.
When: Thursday, March 20, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM Where: Egg Restaurant
109A North 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY (edit map)
Restaurant Closed for This Private Event. Please Knock Gently on Door.
Ticket: $15.00/per person RSVP by joining Slow Money NYC Meetup and visiting the event page: http://www.meetup.com/Slow-Money-NYC/events/168066452/
“I heard an inspiring idea, in 2010,” Hewitt explains, “of moving money into the hands of farmers and the local food businesses that support local, sustainable farming. It was called Slow Money, and I tried it and it worked.”
If that’s not inspiration enough, Hewitt has teamed up with Lyle Estill, who is well known in alternative energy circles.
“In a world of global doom and gloom,” remarks Estill, “there are ways to localize all aspects of your life.” He should know. He runs one of the few surviving community-scale biofuel operations in the Southeast, turning waste cooking oil into about one million gallons of B100 biofuel each year.
Together they host a powerful conversation they call “Running On Local” and are taking their message and expertise from Miami, to Orlando, to Beaufort and Charleston, SC before heading up to Washington DC, NYC and Western MA.
Don’t miss this rare chance to meet and talk with these pioneers in local food, local fuel, and local finance while they are in our area as they travel the East Coast on their Speaking Tour.
On my Birthday, Alley Watch, the newspaper dedicated to the tech financing in NYC, ran a portrait piece about Slow Money NYC Chair, Derek Denckla. The coverage got a few things wrong (I am not on the Board of Food Book Fair) but it was a nice profile and yielded some interesting contacts. Nice birthday present, Alley Watch! Read it for yourself here: http://www.alleywatch.com/2014/02/an-angel-in-new-york-derek-denckla/
The angel investor network formed in association with Slow Money NYC is changing its name to “Foodshed Investors NY” (formerly known as “NYC LION”).
We make this name change to better express the specific focus of our investment interests and the type of food companies that we would like to attract to work with us.
We are investing in the Foodshed. So now: form follows function.
Our INVESTMENT CRITERIA remains the same. We are interested in funding food and farm businesses that are SUSTAINABLE, SMALL and LOCAL.
What is a “foodshed”?
Though it may be unfamiliar, the term “foodshed” was used almost 80 years ago in a book entitled How Great Cities Are Fed (Hedden, 1929) to describe the flow of food from producer to consumer.
Seven decades later, the term was used to describe a food system that connected local producers with local consumers (Kloppenburg et al., 1996).
In this project, the general definition of a foodshed is a geographic area that supplies a population center, like NYC, with food. – (Local Food Mapping Project, Cornell University).
NYC receives food from all over the world. So, NYC’s “foodshed” is, in a sense, global. However, NYC has only three days of non-perishable food per person on hand at any given time. (Red Cross Preparedness Report 2013). And we seek to make investments that increase local capacity to produce more food, improving the resilience of the region that includes NYC as its largest marketplace for the sale of food.
With this goal in mind, we face the challenge of defining “local.” For us, a “local” food business is able to travel to NYC markets within a business day and sells its goods or services there.
Slow Money NYC gives so much to you.
Now, we ask you to give to Slow Money NYC.
Slow Money NYC has been catalyzing investment in local, sustainable food business since 2011. Disseminating information. Producing events. Creating investment pipelines. Building our Network. Thanks to all of you for making Slow Money NYC such a success.
Give to Slow Money NYC today — so we can give to you year round! Donate now Write Checks to: “Slow Money” with memo: “Slow Money NYC” and send to:
PO Box 333
York Harbor, ME 03911
Help realize our plans for the New Year.
6 Meetups — one every other month — starting on February 18, 2014
Collaborate with GrowNYC, NRDC and other good food organizations to plan “Catalyzing NY Foodshed Finance” in early 2015.
Collaborate with Food Book Fair: Pitch Competition
Improve deal pipeline with newly-renamed Foodshed Investors NY (formerly NYC LION).
As usual, these ambitious plans will be coordinated by Derek Denckla and Brian Kaminer with generous help from the Board. However, this year, we’re looking to raise sufficient funds to rent desk space and pay our Network Coordinators a small stipend. This modest but necessary step will help maintain our small organization.
Year in Review
2013 was an amazing year for growth.
Slow Money NYC brought on a new board of directors in 2013, helping catalyze investment through an amazing number and variety of impactful activities:
10 Meetups attended by 388 SMNYC Networkers
Co-hosted 4 events with other organizations
Produced Food Book Fair: Resource Fair + Pitch Competition, 260 attended.
Hosted Regional Food Finance Work Group attended by 60 good food organizations.
Grant of $2,000 from Sustainable Agriculture Food System Funders
Activist in Community Food Funders, NESAWG Regional Food Funders, NYC Food Policy Forum
Launched Indiegogo Campaign for Cayuga Pure Organics, helping raise $85,000
Coordinated 5 Meetings of NYC LION, reviewing presentation by 13 local food entrepreneurs
Held Educational Webinar on Royalty Financing attended by 25 Networkers.
Help us continue to build on this amazing track record — achieved on a shoe string budget with all volunteer effort!!!
Testimonial from Slow Money NYC Community:
I was introduced to Slow Money NYC just a few months ago and as a Brooklyn entrepreneur with a locally-minded start-up, I found both Meetups I attended to be incredibly insightful. . . . I am inspired to re-invest in my community as my own business grows and flourishes. Having the opportunity to speak to the Slow Money NYC group was a great chance to practice my pitch, expand my audience and share a small taste of what I make with other like-minded individuals.
Kimberly M. Wetherell
Hope to see you in the New Year!
Our next event is February 18, 2014 — rumored to be a chocolate-theme for Valentine’s Day. Location: Purpose, 115 5th Ave, New York, NY 10011. Check Meetup for more details.
Please let us know if you have any wishes for the New Year! Thanks for your interest in slow money and your support of Slow Money NYC.
And, if you have some additional charitable dollars left after you have made your donation to Slow Money NYC, please consider making a tax-deductible gift via Indiegogo to non-profit, CARI Organic Farm, located in Lisbon, NY, which lost its greenhouse in windstorm on November 16, 2013.
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year,
The Board of Slow Money NYC
Claude Arpels, Amy Cortese
Erica Dorn, Derek Denckla
Lindsay Greene, Jennifer Grossman
Kerry Gendron, Brian Kaminer
and Job Zeltsman
Celebrate a year of good, slowwww work (and network) with us! Event Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 from 6:00-9:00 PM
(+ Gatheround Viewing Party: 9:00-10:30 PM) Location: Parish Hall Restaurant
109A North 3rd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211 RSVP & Buy Tickets
View Larger Map
We’ll serve local food and drink at an eatery funded by slow money investors (through NYC LION)!
Parish Hall will serve its now-classic small plates: beef fat beignets, smoked trout toast, squash and goat cheese toast, and house-made pickles. Included with ticket price.
Parish Hall Chef Evan Hanczor
Guests may also purchase specially-paired drinks selected by the chef: cocktails, wines and beers.
Stay for dinner, enjoying “a seasonal menu that’s free-ranging and inventive,” according to NY Mag.
Or, keep the party vibe humming and join us for the Gatheround Viewing Party. . . .
What is Gatheround? It’s a new online event platform being tested by Slow Money to create opportunities to engage with cutting edge thought leaders and small food entrepreneurs.
How does it work? Each Gatheround calls for a minimum $25 donation to Slow Money that will be loaned (interest-free) to the entrepreneur of your choice during a voting round at the end of the event or thereafter.
How do I donate? Click this registration link or the “register” button in the upper right corner of the Gatheround site.
Event Location: The Moderns, 900 Broadway, NYC Date: November 19, 2013, 6:00-9:00 pm Get Tickets Drinks and snacks will be served.
Summary: The 2012 JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups), has created myriad options to raise money from many.
But which Crowdfunding Platform is right for your business?
To answer that question, Amy Cortese, author of Locavesting, will guide us through presentations from representatives of a variety of Crowdfunding platforms. Hot off the press! This article helps explain the impact new SEC rules on raising equity through Crowdfunding, prepared for Slow Money Northern California by Attorney Jenny Kassen. Presenters include:
• IOBY - Micro-donations for local environmental projects – Co-Founder Erin Barnes – More
• Smallknot - Donations for local companies – Founder Jay Lee – More
• KivaZip - Zero Interest Loans for local businesses - Liezl Van Riper, Dir. of Development. More
• Credibles - Prepay for farm and store credits – Founder Arno Hesse – More
• Mission Markets (Beta) – Customizable platform for impact capital raising – Dawn Edwards, Sr. Managing Director – More
• Return on Change - Investment platform for high-impact startups – Founder Sang Lee – More
For some additional background info, check out this recent article by Andrew Hanks, due diligence expert and founder of Crowdcheck. Pictured above: Erin Barnes, Jay Lee, Liezl Van Riper, Arno Hesse and Dawn Edwards.
Entrepreneur Presentations: Entrepreneurs will present their story of sustainable business for 10 minutes each. Invited enterprises include: • Blue Marble Ice Cream - Jennie Dundas, Founder – Organic Ice Cream Made in NYC. • Iroquois Valley Farms - Kevin Egolf – Fund for Purchase and Preservation of Small Farms • The Splendid Spoon - Nicole Chaszar, Founder – Ready to eat vegan soups made with local ingredients
Pictured Above: Jennie Dundas, K. Egolf, Nicole Chaszar, Sheila Akbar & Angela Fout.
Lightning Round of Elevator Pitches from concept-stage business:
• Bed Stuy Fresh and Local - Sheila Akbar, Founder – Community Grocery Store stocking Locally-Sourced Foods
Our Pitch Competitors: Where Are They Now? We invited participants in our Pitch Competition from the Food Book Fair held on May 5, 2013 Status Update:
• Sohha Savory Yoghurt - Winning Pitch – Angela Fout, Founder – Savory yogurt made with NY milk
• Rooftops Reds - Devin Shoemaker – Rooftop wine grapes for urban vintages
• Global Kitchen - Leah Selim, Founder – Cooking Classes celebrating Chef Instructor’s authentic culture and traditional recipes.
• Switchel LLC - Ely & Garrett, Founders – Hydrating beverage with all-natural local ingredients
• Farm to People - Michael & David Robinov, Founders – Online store featuring independent, small-batch producers and small farms from the Northeast region. • Invited: Borough Mushrooms, Local Bee, and Browder’s Birds.
More on ioby
ioby is a digital crowd-resourcing platform that supports citizen-led, neighbor-funded initiatives that make neighborhoods stronger and more sustainable. On ioby, anyone can raise tax-deductible donations, recruit local volunteers and share ideas.
Erin Barnes, Founder: The Rockefeller Foundation awarded Erin Barnes and her co-founders at ioby the 2012 Jane Jacobs Medal for New Technology and Innovation. Before ioby, Erin Barnes was a freelance environmental writer and a community organizer. She has a B.A. from the University of Virginia and an M.E.M from Yale University. Erin lives in Brooklyn and serves on the Board of EcoDistricts, and as an advisor to ArtBridge and the Social Innovators Collective.
More on Smallknot
Smallknot is a community crowdfunding platform for small businesses. Smallknot connects local people with local businesses to fund improvements and projects by facilitating a funding campaign through pre-sale financing — a “loan” repaid in products, services and experiences. We also partner with lenders to combine crowdfunding with a small business loan. Smallknot has helped raise over $300K to date in approximately 100 campaigns.
Success Story: Franklin Hill Vineyards is a small family-owned vineyard in Bangor, Pennsylvania. They planted an experimental vine in 1976 at a time and place where no one thought that wine grapes or even wine was possible. They began producing wine in 1981 and have used those same vines ever since for almost four decades. They ran a Smallknot campaign in June of 2013 and quickly raised almost $5500 to replant 2000 young vines to keep the family business going. 12 people even had the opportunity to have a row of new vines named in commemoration for someone they loved — which disappeared in a matter of hours.
Jay Lee is the Founder and CEO of Smallknot. Prior to Smallknot, he worked as a corporate and securities lawyer at in New York City. In addition to Smallknot, he currently manages special projects for Farmigo, an online people powered farmers market.
More on KivaZip – In 2014, Liezl will spearhead the launch of Kiva City New York, which will extend micro-finance to entrepreneurs across the region. Kiva Zip is a website where individual lenders from around the world can crowdfund small business loans to entrepreneurs, artisans or farmers in $25 increments, at 0% interest. Over time, as loans are paid back, the individual lenders get their $25 back, and can relend it to another entrepreneur.
Success Story: An example of how KivaZip helped fund a sustainable food enterprise is River Hill farm: https://zip.kiva.org/loans/1353 Alan is the proud owner of Riverhill Farm in Nevada City, CA. Alan raised $17,000 from 220 individual lenders on Kiva Zip, in less than a month. Alan was “endorsed” for a Kiva Zip loan by an organization called California Farmlink, who had known Alan for several years, and so deeply trusted his character, and commitment to repay the loan.
Together, Alan and California Farmlink invited 38 new Kiva Zip lenders to fund Alan’s loan, but that was supplemented by 182 lenders from the wider Kiva Zip community. The dialogue between Alan, his trustee, and his 220 lenders was incredibly encouraging and positive. Funds Moved: $2.1M in 2 years. Liezl is responsible for creating and expanding Kiva’s fundraising, loan-raising and program-related investment (PRI) partnerships with foundations, corporations and philanthropists.
More on Credibles
Credibles is a service offered by Slow Money, and powered by Clearbon, for crowd-funding small, sustainable food-related businesses. On Credibles.org, customers crowdfund their favorite food business by prepaying their purchases in advance, in exchange for “edible credits”.Instead of having to pay a bank loan back in cash, the businesses repay their funders with products they can grow or cook themselves. The outstanding Credibles can be tracked and transacted with mobile apps.
Success Story: Business in all stages of the food chain raise funds with Credibles: farmers, dairies, producers, co-ops, stores, restaurants. (“If you eat, you’re an investor.”) A single business can raise thousands of dollars, – repeatedly. While originally launched as a fundraising platform, the business find that prepaying customers come by significantly more often (2x-3x). The service is not restricted to limited, one time campaigns with fixed money goals.
Arno Hesse, Co-Founder – Before Credibles/Clearbon, Arno was Executive Vice President for Retail Products and Marketing at Union Bank (over $80 billion in assets) where he led Product Management, Customer Experience Management, and Marketing. Over the past 20 years, he has executed market strategies with a special focus on changing organizational cultures, as culture tends to eat strategy for breakfast.
As a founding member of Slow Money, Arno works on directing investments into local food systems.
More on Mission Markets
Mission Markets is unlocking the full potential of capital markets by integrating community and shared values to create a sustainable economy. We provide the technology and expertise to connect investors to mission-focused organizations. Our market supports a broad range of financial products from donations to debt and equity investments.
Dawn Edwards – Senior Managing Director, Institutional Investor Services
Dawn brings over 20 years of institutional capital markets experience and manages Mission Markets large institutional investor and issuer relationships. In 2006, Dawn co-founded and became the President of AltruShare Securities, LLC, is the first institutional brokerage firm specializing in community investment, and the only nonprofit owned brokerage firm based in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
More on Return on Change
Return on Change is an investment platform connecting high-impact startups with investors. We work
with socially innovative startups in the Tech, CleanTech, Life Sciences, EdTech, and Social Enterprise sectors. Democratizing startup finance through crowdinvesting, investors come together to help fund startups in exchange for a share of the company.
Success Story: Over $30 million of current startup deal pipeline, approx $45 million of interested wealth, $1 million of investment reservations
Sang Lee is the CEO and founder of Return on Change <http://www.returnonchange.com/> and the Executive Director of CF50, a global crowdfunding think tank. He is a recovering investment banker who strives to use his background in financefor good. He was awarded the Under30CEO of NY in 2012.
We locavores talk about ‘local’ all the time – it’s a term we take almost for granted. But what exactly does it mean to be local? That was the question posed recently at a panel discussion and entrepreneur showcase hosted by Slow Money NYC – fittingly, at Brooklyn’s 61 Local. The event, which included presentations by local entrepreneurs, attracted a diverse group of foodies, businesses and investors.
It turns out, there’s more to ‘local’ than meets the eye. The concept encompasses a value system and spirit of community that transcends geographic footprints and rigid square-mile formulas, according to the panel, which included some of New York City’s leading localists.
For Keith Cohen, the owner of 61 Local and a panelist, it’s a matter of craft and the care and pride that goes into making a product. That viewpoint is communicated in the impeccably sourced menu at 61 Local, which ranges from locally-made craft beers and charcuterie to Sahadi’s hummus. “When I make a decision about who to deal with on the vendor side, I don’t make decisions about miles and radii – I make it based on craft and relationships,” he said. That vision was shared by Keith Cohen, who owns the historic Orwasher’s bakery on the Upper East Side. Building on the bakery’s nearly century long legacy of providing pumperknickel, rye, challah and other varieties of bread, Cohen tries to source his grains locally—in the process nudging along a resurgence in locally grown grain.
But is local always the best choice?, asked moderator Erica Dorn of Accion. For example, is a local but large scale farm that uses industrial farming techniques better than a more distant family-owned farm that practices sustainability?
Jon Zeltsman, president of Down to Earth Markets, which manages about 20 farmers markets in the NYC region and Westchester, argued that a product from a more distant farmer with whom the market has a trusted relationship is often the better choice. When Zeltsman and his wife started Down To Earth Markets 22 years ago, they were looking to fill a gap for ‘clean’ food and community in their Westchester town. As Down To Earth has grown over the years, its selection criteria has evolved as well, he said. Sustainability, quality, community scale and a trusted relationship are equally as important to Zeltsman as proximity. He summed up this pragmatic view of local by invoking a humorous bumper sticker that reads: My karma ran over my dogma.
As businesses and consumers, we grapple with these questions every day. But increasingly they confront us in our role as investors as well, as more people look to looking to align their money with their values. Locally-owned enterprises help keep money in the community and build strong local economies. But it’s not black and white. For example, Wall Street—for better or for worse—is a hometown industry, she noted, and one that injects a lot of money into the local economy and helps keep farmers markets and local artisans afloat. On the other hand, Wall Street firms may engage in behavior that has harmful effects on society and the environment (remember the financial crisis?). So the discussion has to be about more than location, she said. Still, if Americans shifted even a tiny portion of the $30 trillion they have in long terms investments and pension funds—mostly tied up in the stocks and bonds of large publicly traded corporations— to locally owned enterprises, it would be a huge boon to the Main Street economy.
The bottom line is that local, while a geographically rooted concept, entails value judgements—whether your are an entrepreneur, foodie or investor.
“Due Diligence” is a term that can strike fear into the hearts of both Investors and Entrepreneurs. Yet, it’s an important process.
Given that the food industry is so extensively regulated with so many specialized rules, even sophisticated investors and entrepreneurs can overlook important regulatory requirements.
Jason Foscolo and Lauren Holden of The Food Law Firm present a training workshop that will identify the areas of regulatory risk seen in their legal practice, including:
* Food and nutrition labeling requirements
* Liability, indemnification, and insurance.
* Food safety regulations such as the Food Safety Modernization Act.
* Labeling and Marketing Claims
* Agricultural lending, the Uniform Commercial Code, and secured transactions.
* Chapter 12, Agricultural Bankruptcy.
* Special laws pertaining only to agriculture, such as the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, the Agricultural Fair Practices Act, and Packers and Stockyards Act.
* Environmental liability and compliance.
After the Workshop, Slow Money NYC will feature 10-Minute Entrepreneur Presentations:
• Fig Food Co. - CEO Joel Henry – Mission-based producer of packaged local beans, soups and purees.
• Revolution Rickshaws - CEO Gregg Zuman – Operator of temperature-controlled freight tricycles designed to provide safe, green option for transport of local foods.
• Northeast Farm Access - Founder Bob Bernstein – Developer of small farm preservation projects in the American Northeast.
Lightning Round: Concept Stage Businesses
2-minute Elevator Pitches from Entrepreneurs whose business ideas are just been hatched:
• Spirited - Kimberley Wetherell – Bakery & dessert bar featuring sweets infused with local spirits and ingredients.
• Farmrz Market - Travis Pagel – Onine farmers market.
• Terre a Terre - Lisa Meyer – Multi-faceted food business focused on local food education, distribution, matchmaking, and marketing.
• BYOB - Jamie Saurman – Bar restaurant with special emphasis on teaching patrons how to brew their own beers.
Upcoming Meetup: Crowdfunding Workshop
November 19, 2013 - CROWDFUNDING WORKSHOP – Everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask. Details TBA. Location: The Moderns! 900 Broadway, NYC.
Joel Henry – Fig Food | Bob Bernstein – NE Farm Access | Gregg Zuman – Revolution Rickhaws
Reviving a historic Champlain-Hudson River freight route, The Vermont Sail Freight Project, a new sail-powered transportation company is poised to deliver its first sustainably farmed products to families along the Hudson River in October 2013.
This project is attempting to create a transportation system that reflects the ethos of the farms where the agricultural goods are being produced. The goal is to revitalize our regional food economy through ongoing relationships with family farms and the sailing community, and to share the spoils of this integrated model with citizens all the way along the Champlain-Hudson supply chain creating a carbon-neutral transportation system.
Conceived of and constructed by Vermont rice farmer Erik Andrus, the newly built, crowd-funded sailing barge, Ceres, ferries up to 15 tons of shelf-stable foods. Sailing from the Champlain Valley, Vermont and the Adirondack region to New York City and ports in-between, the boat maximizes windpower over costly and polluting fossil fuels. The forty-foot-long vessel will depart Shoreham, VT on Lake Champlain on October 6 and make landing at several ports along the Hudson River during the three-week, 300-mile journey to New York City.
Carrying forward an honorable history of sail-powered commerce throughout Northeast waterways, Ceres will deliver a cargo of naturally durable and preserved agricultural products that do not require rapid transit down the interstate. This is the abundant niche of staples like potatoes, carrots, garlic, apples and other storage crops, dry beans, flour and rice, herbs, maple syrup, and honey — as well as value-added products such as jams, jellies, pickles and condiments prepared by rurally based, farmer-led co-packer businesses.
Individuals can pre-order 90 different handcrafted, organic and heirloom pantry items from more than 25 small- and medium-scale producers through Good Eggs and follow Ceres’ GPS-tracked progress live on the project’s homepage. New York-based restaurants, retailers and co-ops can place wholesaleorders delivered with a bike-powered “last mile” push provided by project partners Revolution Rickshaws.
Public markets in Manhattan (New Amsterdam Market, October 27) will round out the sales campaign with the participation of thousands of food-loving New Yorkers. Public school youth and college students in Vermont and New York will board Ceres to learn about local agriculture, sail transport, and the project’s carbon-neutral mission through educational outreach led by the Willowell Foundation and Greenhorns.
Every day or so during its voyage southward, Ceres will dock at different Cities and Towns along the Hudson, such as Troy, Albany, Hudson, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Newburgh, Becon, Peeksill, Nyack, and Yonkers. A complete docking schedule is available on the project homepage. For more detailed information, check out the project’s brochure.
NYC Dockside Events include:
Party at the Brooklyn Navy Yard – October 26
New Amsterdam Market at South St. Seaport – October 27
Contributions are tax-deductible thanks to fiscal sponsorship from the Willowell Foundation. Please consider making a donation as the Project has encountered some unforeseen last minute expenses with which it could use your assistance.
Finding financing to grow a small business is a common challenge for food entrepreneurs, traditional bank financing can be hard to get and funding programs are often confusing. To help shed some light on the process, we have teamed up with our friends at theSouthwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation to host a financing workshop and networking event. We’re moving our show to the Gowanus this month, where Brooklyn Brine has generously offered up space for our workshop.
Our presenters from New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC) will provide information on the NYC Food Manufacturers Growth Fund and other opportunities available for financing the growth of your business. In addition to information on NYBDC’s suite of financial products NYBDC staff will also provide guidance on what lenders are looking for and advise on how to craft a competitive application. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn more about the Fund and speak with lenders about your specific situation.