Slow Money, an offshoot of the popular Slow Food movement, announced the launch of Gatheround, a next-generation crowdfunding platform, at its national gathering in April. Gatheround will allow individuals to make small, tax-deductable donations to the fund, which will then support ground-breaking local food producers in their work.
Gatheround works by allowing everyday people, not just big time accredited investors, to contribute small, tax-deductible donations to the Gatheround nonprofit fund. Their money is then invested as a zero-percent interest loan into selected emerging businesses. As each business pays back the principle amount of the loan, that money is put back into Gatheround to be redistributed to other businesses in need.
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“A ‘good financier’ says no most of the time,” says Woody Tasch, founder and chairman of Slow Money. “Gatheround is a way for many individuals to say yes to small food enterprises around the country. Money is compost. We want to nurture entrepreneurs from the ground up.”
Slow Money encourages investing in local food enterprises as a way to repair our fragile economy and food system. In the Slow Money vision, food production is the nexus between people, places and finance, and is therefore the path to a more grounded, stable economy. Potential businesses funded through Gatheround are innovative private enterprises that are building the local, organic food systems of the future. These enterprises might include: local farms, restaurants, grain mills, vegetable processors, local distributors, compost companies, grass fed beef operations, fruit producers, hog farmers, non-antibiotic therapies for dairy cattle, inner city food markets and others.
Gatheround’s success is rooted in the extensive groundwork already laid by a network of Slow Money chapters through the U.S. These chapters have invested $25 million into local food-related business ventures to date. So, Gatheround is more than just a funding mechanism; it also includes community gatherings, outreach, and capacity building. Gatheround utilizes the ease and popularity of online crowdfunding, the knowledge of Slow Money’s established investor network, and the power of in-person gatherings to create a new source of growth for small food enterprises.
Slow Money unveiled Gatheround during its successful fourth Slow Money National Gathering that attracted investors, farmers, food entrepreneurs and luminaries. The fourth Slow Money National Gathering was held in April in Boulder, CO. Gatheround’s first donation was made to Revision International, a non profit food enterprise based in Denver, the winner of the Mamma Chia Entrepreneur of the Year award. Mamma Chia, a company that only three years ago was nurtured with a Slow Money investment, donated $25,000. This capital was matched by Gatheround, creating a total prize of $50,000. Mamma Chia also matched $4,100 donated to Gatheround for a People’s Choice award which totalled $8,200, given to Hayden Flour Mills, a company based in Phoeniz, AZ.