Last night I headed to Raleigh to yet another Slow Money gathering.
It was remarkable. There were a hundred people there. Chad, the owner of Market Restaurant, combined with the folks from Green Planet Catering, have a vision of creating a grocery store/food commissary/restaurant venue right next to Raleigh City Farm.
Market has been a long time Partner in Sustainability with Piedmont. Our banana trees line their patio. The place was packed with people who want a grocery store in that part of town.
These gatherings are led by Carol Hewitt. She puts the word out that she is up for doing some “matchmaking,” and people gather around. Typically there are some folks with money, who get to meet those who are in need of money. And generally, loans occur.
Last night the beer was flowing, and the sweet potato fries and hush puppies were making their rounds. I was astonished by the number of people who came on foot. And on bike. People merely showing up to Market, one of their local hangouts, to discuss how they could make a grander vision come to life.
At one point during the evening, when Carol was introducing former lenders and borrowers, Eric Henry from T.S. Designs arrived. He walked in late to a round of applause, and gave a two minute pitch about his “Cotton of the Carolinas” story. Eric shepherded the first NC organic cotton to market after everyone said it could not be done, and he financed the crop with a series of Slow Money loans.
I find Slow Money NC remarkable. With over 50 loans transacted, and a dollar amount north of 600K, it seems we are getting a handle on how to finance ourselves as we re-engineer our foodshed. It was an inspiring night on the town…