Financing our Foodshed: A Slow Money Investment Club & Peer-to-Peer Model

Sponsored by Alberta Eco Trust

Speaker: Carol Peppe Hewiit, cofounder of Slow Money North Carolina

About the topic: Many communities are looking for mechanisms for connecting multiple investors with deserving local businesses in need of capitalization. Slow Money North Carolina pioneered a new approach in 2011 when they helped a well-regarded community business -- Chatham Marketplace, the local cooperative grocery store -- refinance their loan through 16 individual investors.

Here's how it went: When the local food co-op was facing a balloon loan it wasn't sure it could refinance, Slow Money North Carolina decided to help the co-op refinance their loan through individuals in the community. They found 16 people willing to loan $25k each at a 4.5% interest rate, and each lender received monthly payments over 8-years, when the loan will be retired. Slow Money NC helped them aggregate their funds into one pool that could be managed centrally, and they founded Bringing It Home Chatham LLC, to facilitate this.

It didn’t take all that long to line up 16 lenders. The folks who had helped start the Marketplace met and suggested names. It was a community effort and one-by-one people agreed to participate.

The loan was attractive to investors who wanted to make their money work in their home community. Many of them had already made micro-loans through Slow Money NC and they felt confident their funds would be repaid. And, they would be getting a better return on the Marketplace loan than they would from a savings account or CD.

The loan was also a very good deal for Chatham Marketplace. It locked in a much lower interest rate, reducing the grocery’s monthly payment by 1/3. That means a savings of about $2500 a month – no small change for any food enterprise in these times.

Join us to experience Slow Money North Carolina's passion for facilitating peer-to-peer local investments, including more details on how they made the Chatham Marketplace loan work, and additional loans that have connected local investors with local businesses.

About the speaker: Carol Peppe Hewitt is a business owner, social entrepreneur and life-long activist. She cofounded Slow Money NC, and guides affordable capital to small farmers and food businesses in North Carolina. Carol matches ordinary people who care about soil fertility, local food, and local community with sustainable farmers and food entrepreneurs in their foodshed who have viable needs for capital. Over 50 loans have helped start, sustain, or expand twenty-some sustainable farms and local food businesses in North Carolina in the last two years, and the number increases every week.

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  • Shannon L.

    Great venue, the connections and hearing what people are up to was very inspiring!

    April 11, 2012

  • Will C.

    This was a good meetup. The idea behind local lending for local business and local food was a hit. I really liked the idea of keeping the money in the community, it makes a lot of sense and I think we will only see business lending models like this grow in the future.
    And a personal thanks to Alberta Eco-trust for lunch!

    April 10, 2012

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