January 14, 2010

book review: slow money

I recently finished reading Slow Money: investing as if food, farms, and fertility mattered, which I added to my list after seeing the author, Woody Tasch, speak last October. The book is a collection of essays that describe his ideas for a new way of investing in local economies and food systems--an alternative to the irony that is often found in typical philanthropy: investing in destructive corporations in order to give money to organizations working to fix the problems caused by the destructive corporations. These ideas led to the creation of a new nonprofit organization: the Slow Money Alliance. Inspired by the Slow Food Movement, as well as Wendell Berry's work in sustainable agriculture and E.F. Schumacher's meta-economics, its mission is:
"To steer significant new sources of capital to small food enterprises, appropriate-scale organic farming and local food systems; and to catalyze the emergence of the nurture capital industry— entrepreneurial finance supporting soil fertility, carrying capacity, sense of place, cultural and ecological diversity, and nonviolence."
If this sounds like something you might support, I encourage you to read and sign the Slow Money Principles. There's a national campaign underway to get one million signatures.

Here is an interesting quote from the book that relates to the DIY ethic:
" . . . I don't think one can attribute the orientation of the market to the greed of most individuals. More, it is a result of fear, uncertainty, and insecurity. In a world in which producer has been divorced from consumer, in which most of us produce virtually nothing or actually nothing that we consume, . . . we have little to fall back on for our immediate, day-to-day material security but purchasing power."

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