Investing Locally

Slow Money Maine connects farmers, fishermen and food entrepreneurs to financing. It does not invest or handle due diligence, leaving these choices up to the people 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. 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. To read the legal guidelines developed by a corporate lawyer participating in our network, click here.

Maine Farm and Food Credit Union: Scott Budde and Sam May of our SMM network are currently leading an effort to investigate whether launching a statewide ag-focused credit union is feasible.  View this informative presentation from our daylong event in November 2013.

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