Slow Money Conference BillboardSlow Money, a national movement to transform the landscape of funding our food system, convened their fourth National Gathering earlier this week. In pursuit of goals such as to “accelerate the transition from an economy based on extraction and consumption to an economy based on preservation and restoration,” the organization has attracted some of the greatest minds on the forefront of finance and food to a common cause.

With shared agreement on preeminent principles, attendees descended upon Boulder, Colorado, Slow Money’s new home, to continue the conversation, among them 13 BGI students, one faculty member, and numerous alumni. A sunny first day begin with a welcome by Slow Money founder Woody Tasch and a compelling conclusion by Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food. Highlights flew through the twitterverse, captured at #slowmoney

  • Amanda Thomas ‏@emeraldedible
    @SlowMoney founder, Woody Tasch: let’s move #capital, near our neighbors, in places we understand, small business enterprise #slowmoney
  • Slow Food USA ‏@SlowFoodUSA
    RT@emeraldedible:”We live in a society where we spend more on losing weight than to eat. We’ve lost common sense”#CarloPetrini @ #slowmoney

Esteemed BGI Change Agents in Resident (CAIR) were in attendance, inspiring ongoing connections and dialogue about important systems change starting with our food system:

  • Marjorie Kelly ‏@marjorie_kelly
    @TellusInstitute: Facing urgency – pinwheel, one arm moving big change, another creating #generative alternatives #slowmoney
  • Bryan Welch @ranchocapp, @MotherEarthNews: With capability comes responsibility #slowmoney
  • Joel Solomon ‏@joelsolomon
    The #SlowMoney impressive 25 generative values laden entrepreneurs who did 5 minute pitches on stage. Courage + Love pic.twitter.com/TXwa8MRzYy

Slow Money BGIAn important premise of Slow Money’s work has been to change the ecosystem of investing: “It starts with the soil. Entrepreneurs are the seeds. Investors are the water.” This was evidenced in the rapid fire entrepreneur showcase, which featured one BGI current student’s business Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies. Awards were given to two outstanding participants:

  • @Revision_Intl On fire with #cooperative #grocery, #generative #change making, fantastic! #slowmoney entrepreneur showcase #inspire #neweconomy
  • @HaydenFlourMill, the people voted, bravo! #slowmoney

Current student Diane Freaney caught up with Emma from Hayden Flour Mills, who’s honoring was celebrated soon after. Another Slow Money startup success story added to the week’s experience: Credibles, crowd-funding for small, sustainable food-related businesses, was a great platform for conference goers to support and enjoy local restaurants.

  • Arno Hesse @ahesse, @ediblecredits: Where our food comes from – they eat before we do. Pay it forward! Feed the system that feeds you #slowmoney

Speakers spanned a spectrum of investors, practitioners and thought leaders from NGOs such as FarmAid and SlowFoodUSA and many others doing good work across sectors:

  • Daniela Ibarra-Howell, @SavoryInstitute: Everything ties back to carbon: water, food, etc. Let’s put carbon back where it belongs #slowmoney
  • judy wicks @jwicks333, @bealocalist: 1st step of #neweconomy, choose a place, take responsibility & create a place you want to live & work #slowmoney
  • Mary Berry, The Berry Center: We are in a cultural, agricultural & environmental free fall #slowmoney
  • Mary Berry, The Berry Center: Educate our youth for #homecoming rather than #upwardmobility #slowmoney
  • @marjorie_kelly, @TellusInstitute: What kind of economy is suited for living inside a living being? #slowmoney

The depth, curiosity and intent of the participants and organizers was palpable. This created a courageous environment of vibrant possibility for the future of food and finance.

  • Amanda Thomas ‏@emeraldedible
    A listening recap: A deep hunger for healing & restoration and a deep gratitude that we can see it beginning to happen here #slowmoney #hope

Current BGI student Beth Robinette summarized the concluding sentiment with these poignant words in the closing circle, spurring us on to continue with hope and clarity:

“I’m struck by the urgency of this work. I hope you all feel energized and inspired by what you have learned these last two days.
Lets continue to conversation with everyone we come across.
But let’s not stake our success on swaying others or converting them to our cause.
Let us build the new system and attract others to our cause with our success.
We do not have time to ring out hands and fret because people call us dreamers.
We are dreamers.
Nay-Sayers be damned.
Politicians be damned.
Extractive corporations and abusive economic systems be damned.
Let us actualize our dreams with urgency and prove to those who would doubt us, or who cling to a dying system, that they are the ones who are asleep.”

Blog originally featured by Bainbridge Graduate Institute: http://www.bgi.edu/changing-business/slowmoney/