Slow Money

The September/October 2007 number of the British magazine Resurgence reports that a new scheme has been launched in England’s West Country to channel local money into local community projects and to help ‘investment’ become a clean word not a dirty one.

The newly formed Wessex Reinvestment Society (WRS) will not only offer small community enterprises with simpler ways of accessing funds but will also give locals the opportunity to invest in closer-to-home, more ethically sound projects.

One of the local businesses involved in the scheme is Local Food Links, a firm set up to make good food affordable and accessible to all, and to reintroduce hot school meals to primary schools in the county of Dorset after 25 years without them. Another is High Street Organics, a cooperative that sells organic fresh and whole foods from local producers.

‘Our research backs up the theory of “Slow Money”,’ Tim Crabtree, director of WRS, told Resurgence. ‘It shows that as much as investors want to gain financial return, so do they value seeing the local social benefits of their investment. I hope that people will view this new means of investment as a refreshing and more personal way to go about using their money and that it brings a sense of ownership to local projects.’

The concept of Slow Money, a term inspired by the Slow Food Movement, was devised and developed by Woody Tasch, chairman of Investors’ Circle, a US network of sustainability-minded investors who have invested over $110 million into 170 early-stage companies, including more than $19 million into 32 food companies.

Tasch is currently working on a book of essays about money, nature, bees, earthworms, venture capital, imagination and the emergence of The Restorative Economy.

An essay of his, ‘The Pursuit Of Zero’, consisting of ‘notes toward an investment fund dedicated to early-stage, smaller scale, organic, sustainable, slow food companies and other enterprises that realign money and natural systems’, appeared in Slow magazine no. 57.

Resurgence describes itself as ‘the leading international forum for ecological and spiritual thinking, where you can explore the ideas of the great writers and thinkers of our time, both in print and on-line’.

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