The Third Annual Slow Money National Gathering is being held this week, October 12th through the 14th, at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco. The conference will explore a variety of topics, including the importance of investing in your own neighborhood, cooperatives and alternative monetary structures, as well as how to create more sustainable interconnected regional economies and small healthy local food systems.
Building Strong Local Economies in Maine
There are a number of regional case studies in sustainability that I am really interested in hearing more about, such as what Amber Lambke has been doing in Skowhegan, Maine. She is the Executive Director of the Maine Grain Alliance, an organization whose mission is to:
“… preserve and promote grain traditions, from earth to hearth, among farmers, bakers, and families around the table.”
Ms. Lambke has also been working with others to help transform a 19th century former jailhouse in downtown Skowhegan into a functional local gristmill for the area’s farmers.
Another intriguing scheduled speaker, also from Maine, is Leah Cook, who co-owns and operates Crown O’ Maine Organic Cooperative with her sister Marada. They both work distributing Maine-grown, produced and caught food throughout the region. Her conference speaker biography states that:
“Crown O’ Maine’s goal is to work as intelligently and as intentionally as possible with farmers, producers, and consumers to craft into existence a more connected and nuanced food system and supply.”
If you would like more information about how to attend the Slow Money Gathering, please visit their website. Here is an excerpt from the Slow Money website describing their own upcoming event:
“In the 21st century, investing is not only about markets and sectors and asset allocation,” states Slow Money Founder and former venture capitalist Woody Tasch, “In a world that is speeding up and heating up, losing its soil and losing its sense of common purpose, investing is also about reconnecting and healing broken relationships. What could make more sense than taking a small amount of our money, turning in a new direction, and putting it to work near where we live, in things that we understand, starting with food.”
Yesterday I got an email from the Slow Money folks explaining that Vandana Shiva, who had been scheduled to speak at the opening of this week’s gathering, unfortunately had to cancel due to illness. I was really disappointed to not be hearing Dr. Shiva talk. I have heard her in the past; she is both fiercely intelligent and genuinely inspiring. I scanned though the photos of the rest of the other speakers; nearly everyone else looks fairly pale and upper middle class, but looks can be deceiving.
The email also included recommendations for over a dozen San Francisco restaurants, all of which were very high end — Greens, Zuni and the like, with no reasonably priced local suggestions mentioned. None of my friends can afford to eat at expensive places like that; I hope that this conference is somewhat economically diverse. I suggest to out of town visitors to please visit the weekly downtown farmers market at United Nations Plaza for really inexpensive fresh produce, and Taqueria Cancún for an excellent, affordable vegetarian burrito.