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Carbondale Event Aims to Bring More Local Food from Farm to Table

Local farmers, food entrepreneurs and investors are gathering in Carbondale this weekend to "bring money back down to earth." Credit: Deyan Georgiev/iStockphoto.
Local farmers, food entrepreneurs and investors are gathering in Carbondale this weekend to "bring money back down to earth." Credit: Deyan Georgiev/iStockphoto.
September 17, 2015

DENVER – Slow Money, a grassroots effort to help bring more local food from farm to table, is holding its first Colorado conference this weekend in Carbondale.

Slow Money founder Woody Tasche cites the "slow food" movement as inspiration, which began in Italy after the first McDonald's outlet opened in Rome in 1989, and is now in almost 100 countries. Tasche says the idea is to bring the investor side of the equation to the table.

"People are voting with their consumer dollars in favor of fresher, local food," he says. "But if we really want this to happen at scale, we also have to bring our investor dollars. So we have to take some of our dollars out of Wall Street and put it to work supporting local farmers in our communities."

Tasche says the Carbondale event will show small investors how they can help increase the flow of capital to organic farms and ranches, processors, distributors and restaurants – the full range of small businesses Tasche says are vital to a healthy local economy and food system.

Don Lareau with Zephyros Farm and Garden grows organic flowers with his wife outside of Paonia. When their small business ended up with more product than they could deliver, he says they applied for loans to buy a refrigerated truck – but banks weren't interested. They turned to 2Forks, a local Slow Money group in Aspen.

Lareau admits the zero-percent loan that helped get their new truck on the road might seem like a bad investment in strictly financial terms.

"What you're investing in is going to reap returns in other ways," he says. "What they get out of it is being able to feel like they've really helped a small family farm take it to the next level."

This weekend's event will help connect local farmers, food entrepreneurs, investors and residents – and includes a public on-farm harvest festival at Sustainable Settings ranch. Tasche says anyone interested in learning how they can help "bring money back down to earth" is welcome.

More information is available at the Slow Money website at slowmoney.org.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO