- Associated Press - Sunday, June 29, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - There’s a new option for loans for some small-scale farmers looking to increase their production.

The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/Uh15Vz) reports it’s called Slow Money Kentucky, and it’s the latest of 10 investment clubs and 19 local Slow Money chapters that have formed across the nation.

Slow Money matches local investors with famers and small food producers. Loans are typically between $1,000 and $10,000 and require no collateral. A sustainable local food economy is the goal.

The formation of the chapter in Kentucky came as Louisville prepares to hold an international gathering in November of people associated with the Slow Money movement.

“If you have this little sneaky feeling that things are a little too fast and crazy on Wall Street, meaning that money is zooming around the planet and all kinds of crazy stuff, that is fast money,” Slow Money founder and author Woody Tasch told the newspaper in a recent interview. “Slow Money is the opposite of that. Instead of just being a customer of a slow food establishment, it is being an investor.”

Those who invest rely upon the borrower’s social capital, knowing they will see them regularly around town and at farmer’s markets.

“It’s the way people used to do it. It is old-time community,” said Larry Snyder, a co-founder of Slow Money Kentucky. “We are not doing any due diligence. There are no financials, no PowerPoints.”

The chapter helped Ivor Chodkowski when he wanted about $7,000 to build greenhouses to increase production at his Louisville farm during the winter months.

“I worry about investing that kind of money, because that’s the money I have to get me through the winter,” he said. “Winter time production is risky. With a loan, I’ll be able to hire extra help to pay more attention to those crops, make sure greenhouse doors are closed and frost blankets are in place.”

Sarah Fritschner, coordinator of the Louisville Metro Farm to Table program, said such cash flow issues are a rising concern to food producers.

“If a farmer doesn’t have cash flow, he could go broke trying to meet the market,” Fritschner said. “That is what Slow Money could do. We need those people” to help farmers.

A recent study commissioned by Louisville Farm to Table found there demand outstrips the supply of locally grown food.

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

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