All posts by Peter Ruddock

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Join us the fourth Sunday of most months.

Sunday, April 23, 2017, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Los Altos Hills Town Council Chambers
26379 W Fremont Rd, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022. [map]

  • 6:00 — Socializing.  Bring snacks if you feel inspired.
  • 6:15 — Start:  Introductions; What is Slow Money? and What is a LION? for new members.
  • 6:30 — Louise Derrick, Founder and CEO will introduce us to Love A Bee

Love a Bee has set itself the mission of securing the American food supply one hive at a time. Love a Bee began life as a MBA Design Project. It became a collaboration between the founders, beekeepers, and its customers – those who care deeply about where their food comes from and how it’s made. They have big dreams of a land of plenty, where healthy bees pollinate the natural world, and where farmers who love and care for their bees. Love a Bee supports beekeepers the best way they know, by curating their honey and making it available to the public.

  • 6:55 — George Hubert, Architect, Manager, will introduce us to Community Farm Development Service

    The Community Farm Development Service (CFDS) facilitates affordable ownership of small farms (<100 ac.) by resident farmers. First, CFDS options agricultural land near the urban edge in those communities with a strong interest in local food and support for farmers’ markets. Next, CFDS establishes agricultural cooperatives which are owned by farmers who qualify for the USDA Farm Service Agency Guaranteed Loan Program. CFDS maintains a client relationship to the cooperatives it has organized. CFDS services include farm planning and design; construction management of farm infrastructure, including self-help housing for the resident farm families; and, oversight of the FSA financing process. CFDS projects may offset the cost of land and improvements with the construction and sale of two market rate homes. Eligibility for agricultural conservation easements (ACE) and low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC) offer additional opportunities for cost offsets. CFDS projects are entitled by-right throughout the state of California under the Employee Housing Act and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CFDS intends to incorporate as a benefit corporation (B-type) with agricultural land conservation, sustainable agriculture, affordable housing, and fair trade as the core social benefits of the mission.

  • 7:20– Conversation – topic TBD
  • 7:45– Slow Announcements – what other kind would we have?
  • 7:55 — clean-up and networking

Occasionally we discuss the particulars of investment opportunities in the last part of the meeting To participate in this you must have signed the LION agreement.  If you have not signed yet, you can do so in the first part of the meeting and stay for the rest. Have you signed the Slow Money Principles yet?  Make sure you’re name is down as supporting our values.  The bigger the list of supporters, the bigger our reach.

November Slow News from the South Bay and Beyond

  • Slow Money held its 5th National Gathering in Louisville November 10-12. Approximately 800 people convened for 2 1/2 days of inspiring talks, entrepreneur presentations and great networking. If you would like to watch for yourself, the entire event is available on You Tube: Day 1 included a keynote by Joel Salatin; Day 2 included a panel with Wendell Berry and Louisville mayor Greg Fisher, that told us in part why Louisville is such a great farm-to-table city, and a keynote by Vandana Shiva; Day 3 included the Entrepreneur Showcases. Watch and be inspired yourself.
  • Rajnish Khanna of Global Food Scholar (October 2014) told us that one of the three legs of the company he is building will work on supporting the soil micro-biome. You can read more about the soil micro-biome in the article,Is This Fungus the Future of Farming? at Mother Jones.
  • Herb Moore, who with his band Elm Street entertained us at Farm Fest at Pie Ranch (2012) and at Farm Fest at Full Circle Farm (2014), is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of his new album, “River Time”. Support Herb and you can make sure that you’ll get your copy of the album.

January meeting

We had a great January meeting, hearing about Mercey Hot Springs and CropMobster. And talking with Full Circle Farm about a spring Farm Fest – we’re working toward verifying a date for this and will certainly announce something by next month.

We’re going to try something different in February: a themed meeting built around AB 551, the Urban Incentives Zone Act. We’ll hear from an urban agriculture business that has been involved in implementing the act in San Jose and wants to farm more land designated in new incentive zones. And we’ll talk about getting zones implemented in other South Bay jurisdictions. Should be interesting.

Starting 2014

Lots of good things happened in 2013 in the world of Slow Money. We met many great companies and organizations and started to build a local sustainable network. Some of our members made personal loans to some local businesses. We are no longer just a talk shop. We’re getting things done.

We’re looking forward to an exciting 2014 – and we’re starting to see a new path forward. I’ve talked about creating a “Sustainable Food (and Green Energy) Rotary Club”, whereby our members get to know each other, make connections and partnerships, find customers, suppliers, contractors, venues, supplies and more – including occasionally investing in each other. This is mostly a change of focus, where the possibility of an investment is just one of many outcomes. This is in part a response to the reality that there are only so many loans our members can make, but there are other things that they can do with their energy to foster more sustainable businesses. I wonder what people think of such a change. We hope that you’ll join us and tell us what you think – and help us evolve.