Loans So Far: $56,000
From community members of Local Loans for Local Foods, a network of Cincinnati Slow Money
Our network members are making loans to local, sustainable, healthy food growers and businesses. Read more about the wonderful entrepreneurs whose work is being supported:
Waterfields is a social enterprise connecting demand for local foods and jobs in the urban core through the implementation of innovative agricultural techniques. By building profitable, sustainable hydroponic and aquaponic facilities in disadvantaged neighborhoods, they hope to produce year-round high quality vegetables and fish for a variety of markets. Currently, they are growing microgreens and selling them in flats to restaurants so that the chefs can refrigerate and harvest at their convenience.
Finn Meadows Farm, Indian Hill, OH
Marc and Claire got their start in sustainable agriculture working on farms in Tennessee, Indiana, and Ohio before joining forces to form Finn Meadows Farm. With the generous help of many members of the Cincinnati and greater Ohio communities, they have launched their gardens very close to downtown Montgomery, Greater Cincinnati. New in 2014: Marc and Claire developed a hybrid farm loan share model to finance the purchase of a new piece of equipment for their farm. An example of this loan share is available in our Resource Library.
Shagbark Seed & Mill, Athens, OH
Shagbark partners with farmers to grow the most nutritious grain and bean varieties for the local region, in partnership with local food access programs, retailers, and restaurants in an enterprise solution for food security that includes working with school districts, regional youth detention centers, summer feeding sites, and food access programs to offer whole grain bread, beans, cereals, and chips to K-12 students and their families.
Owners Brandon Jaeger and Michelle Ajamian are also founding members of a small but strong national network of businesses working on the re-establishment of regional-scale staple food production and processing around the country.
In 2012 they employed about 70 acres of dry beans (three non-soy varieties), 20 acres of corn, 10 acres of spelt, and 6 acres of heirloom popcorn, all chemical-free or Certified Organic and from seven small-and mid-sized family farms in Ohio, most within 150 miles of Athens, where Shagbark is located.
Their customers across the state include restaurants, bakeries, movie theatres, grocery stores small and large, four distributors, schools and hundreds of families that shop at the nine Ohio farmers markets they attend.
Shagbark has doubled in the last two years and seeks to continue their growth. Funds were lent to pay farmers for grains and beans over the 2012-13 winter for planting, harvest and sales in 2013, as Shagbark expands their business and their impact on healthy, local food availability
Urban Greens was founded in 2010 by 15 families in the Cincinnati area. The model is to farm co-operatively with the help of the community on small plots of land. Trained Garden Managers hand out the food on CSA pickup day, sell the food at farmer’s markets and to restaurants and educate the community during group work sessions.
In 2012 they managed a 25 member CSA, sold at 1 farmer’s market and to a few restaurants on 1 acre with 1 paid Garden Manager. Over this past winter they were given 2 plots of land totaling 10 acres, which also includes a greenhouse. To develop this land and meet the rising demand for their food, they will be hiring 2-3 more Garden Managers, selling 65 CSA/FMA shares, selling at 4 farmer’s markets and will be selling more to our restaurant customers.
To get through the beginning of the season, which will be very labor intensive with little revenue until early summer, they needed an investment from the community. Most of the borrowed funds will go directly to hiring as the business model has very little in overhead expenses, and most of the equipment and infrastructure needs of the company (tillers, tools, soil amendments and fencing) have already been met through the owners of the company. Thank you Slow Money for supporting Urban Greens!
Our Harvest Cooperative
Our Harvest Cooperative is a locally-based, worker-owned agricultural cooperative in the Cincinnati area designed to grow and distribute quality produce and value-added food products, expand local food production, serve local farmers, help train a new generation of skilled farmers and food-sector workers, and provide family-sustaining jobs in the agricultural sector.
Our Harvest has the following current activities:
- Growing produce on 5+ acres within the Cincinnati city limits
- Training new farmers
- In the process of developing a food hub
The food hub will be an aggregation/distribution facility that will allow local farmers and value-added producers to pool their products, thereby reaching larger local markets. These efforts will not only increase the production of local food and help preserve local farmland, but will also increase the ability of all members of the community to access healthy, local foods.
Storehouse Tea, Chagrin Falls, OH
Storehouse Tea introduces tea drinkers to some of the highest- quality Certified Organic, Fair Trade loose-leaf teas available. Paula Hershman, founder and Certified Organic Tea Blender, healthfully hand crafts her collection of 40 plus delicious, fresh, Organic and Fair Trade loose tea blends. According to scientific research, high quality, fresh, whole-leaf teas may be up to 300% healthier and more flavorful than low-grade teabags.
“The money we received from SLOW MONEY was a miracle,” said Paula. “It allowed us to get the additional inventory, display racks, and technology to run our expanding company. We acquired a new laptop, and we’re exploring changing our packaging to make it all biodegradable to further our sustainability initiatives.”