October 14, 2011

Slow Money in San Francisco: A Conference in Photos.

We must bring money back down to earth.”

We’ve talked about earthworms, dirt, Occupy Wall Street, food deserts, ecological stability, biomimicry, grass-fed organic beef, happy pigs, microloans, an igloo and then some (money). And we’ve learned that believing in the wonderful power of money doesn’t have to make us huge a**holes.

We’ve talked about voting with our dollar and keeping money local.

We’ve interviewed Melissa Bradley, Leslie Christian, Wes Jackson, Mister Bledsoe, Woody Tasch (Mr. Slow Money himself!), Asher Miller, Rob Thomas and dozens of others. We’ve gotten lost, stubbed some toes, awed at the city, done some almost-inappropriate flirting (Wes…), some very acceptable schmoozing…and hopefully captured the magic of this magical conference.

And it’s been inspiring all along the way.

The Slow Money Principles:

In order to enhance food security, food safety and food access; improve nutrition and health; promote cultural, ecological and economic diversity; and accelerate the transition from an economy based on extraction and consumption to an economy based on preservation and restoration, we do hereby affirm the following Slow Money Principles:

I. We must bring money back down to earth.

II. There is such a thing as money that is too fast, companies that are too big, finance that is too complex. Therefore, we must slow our money down — not all of it, of course, but enough to matter.

III. The 20th Century was the era of Buy Low/Sell High and Wealth Now/Philanthropy Later—what one venture capitalist called “the largest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” The 21st Century will be the era of nurture capital, built around principles of carrying capacity, care of the commons, sense of place and non-violence.

IV. We must learn to invest as if food, farms and fertility mattered. We must connect investors to the places where they live, creating vital relationships and new sources of capital for small food enterprises.

V. Let us celebrate the new generation of entrepreneurs, consumers and investors who are showing the way from Making A Killing to Making a Living.

VI. Paul Newman said, “I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer who puts back into the soil what he takes out.” Recognizing the wisdom of these words, let us begin rebuilding our economy from the ground up, asking:

* What would the world be like if we invested 50% of our assets within 50 miles of where we live?

* What if there were a new generation of companies that gave away 50% of their profits?

* What if there were 50% more organic matter in our soil 50 years from now?

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Lindsey Block

Lindsey Block spends her weekdays as part of the Elephant Journal crew and her weekends hiking or picnicking by the river with a book. A vegetarian for most of her adult life, she delights in cooking up a new recipe (even though she really just wants to make tacos). She currently lives in Montana.