Slow Money Maine connects farmers, fishermen and food entrepreneurs to financing and technical assistance opportunities. As an entity, we do not invest directly or handle due diligence. Instead, we leave that up to the individuals or organizations making the investments.
Peer-to-peer Lending, where individuals make loans directly to food producers, can be an appealing way to participate in Slow Money Maine. Our network Coordinator typically serves as the point person to connect investors with food system businesses. Loans may range from $1500 to $40,000 or more with varied terms, often in the 3-5% interest range with 1-3 years for repayment, using a simple promissory note for these transactions. (Sample Promissory Note) Lenders often develop satisfying relationships with borrowers through conversations and site visits, learning more about food system needs and the activities of SMM in the process.
Contact Bonnie Rukin
Investment clubs are part of our SMM network. No Small Potatoes (NSP) and Maine Organic Lenders (MOL) have distinct forms and strategies, but both bring community participants together to use funds for the purpose of lending money to Maine farmers and producers in a timely way at favorable rates of interest. There are currently about 35 members in both of these groups.
Equity investments, loan guarantees, bridge loans and creative financing are additional ways that people can invest and are handled on a case-by-case basis as needs suggest. (Guidelines-For-Investors)(Tax Credit Information)
Contact Bonnie Rukin 207.236.4703
Grantmaking is another way to strengthen food businesses and reduce the amount of money that they need to borrow. Individuals and Foundations can make grants to local economic development groups that act as fiscal sponsors. We are currently partnering with more than seven economic development groups throughout Maine on collaborative grant making opportunities. For a list of Economic Development Groups that can serve as our fiscal intermediaries for these gifts, see our partner list. To read the legal guidelines developed by a corporate lawyer participating in our network, click here.
Maine Harvest Credit Project: With the support of several Slow Money Maine members, Maine Harvest Credit Project is actively working on creating a credit union focused on Maine’s new food economy. The project has completed significant primary research into the nature and extent of the financing gaps facing this sector and a how a specialized credit union can be created to fill them. The project operates with significant SMM involvement and with an oversight board composed of MOFGA and Maine Farmland Trust representatives. More information about the project and the credit union concept are available at www.maineharvestcp.org