By Roxanne Crittenden, courtesy of Capay Valley Farm Shop
If oven-roasted new potatoes are the antidote to fast food French-fries, what is the antidote to our global (and local) economic woes? On Sunday June 12th, twelve businesses and non-profits gathered at Fort Mason with the hope that there may be a simple solution: invest in local companies and organizations that represent the kind of growth and change we want to see. The event was the Slow Money Northern California Showcase, the brain child of Slow Money founder and president Woody Tasch.
Capay Valley Farm Shop was lucky enough to be selected from a pool of over 80 applicants to present about the Capay Valley community, our company, and our investment opportunities. As FarmShares gains momentum, we are growing out of our current facility and are looking for new shareholders to grow equity so we can build a larger facility in Esparto. This isn’t an investment you would read about in the Wall Street Journal. To the people at the Slow Money Showcase, opportunities like this one are a commitment to a stronger, healthier and more vibrant community, as well as a business opportunity. As Tasch’s book title so aptly puts it, this is “investing as if food, farms and fertility mattered.”
Among the other presenters at the conference were Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood, Pt Reyes Compost Company (“Purveyors of Premium Poop”), Veritable Vegetable, and Marin Sun Farms. Farmland LP, a recently formed for-profit, is purchasing conventional farmland and transitioning it into organic meat and vegetable production. Using permaculture methods including cover-cropping, crop-rotation and grazing rotation, the founders are proving that organic agriculture is a worthwhile business venture.
Mandela Food Cooperative executive director Dana Harvey is working to expand their programs, where their store is a much needed source of healthy food and fresh produce in the “food desert” of West Oakland. Organizations like Mandela are working with community members to provide jobs, nutrition and cooking classes, and healthy choices in a neighborhood where few other businesses have dared to venture. People like Dana and People’s Grocery co-founder Brahm Amadi, who is now working to open a community market in West Oakland, see business as well as social opportunity in communities like this one.
The presentations culminated in a fantastic meal featuring local products, including from several Capay Valley farms. The food was prepared by the chefs of Grubly and included delicious, tender pork and lamb from Wind Dancer Ranch and English walnuts from Haag Farm. Potential investors and presenters (many of whom were also friends and neighbors) mingled, talked business and shared inspiration.
Before we left the event, we all sang Happy Birthday to one of the hard-working Slow Money Showcase organizers. As she blew out the candles on her cake, she shared her birthday wish: “that every one of these worthy presenters get all the investments they need.” Having listened carefully about these 12 thoughtful, entrepreneurial and inspiring projects, I shared her wish entirely. I am so excited to see the changes businesses and organizations like these will make in our communities in the coming years.
For more information about how join the Capay Valley Farm Shop shareholder community, or for other opportunities to get involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Slow Money, visit www.slowmoney.org and check out Woody Tasch’s book: Inquiring into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Farms, Family and Fertility Mattered.