Our future depends on strong financial support for our local food supply. we call it nurture capital. It is vital to the resiliency of our health, our environment, and our economy.
To that end, we've joined the nationwide grassroots Slow Money movement to build a financial backbone for the Virginia foodshed. By providing farms equitable, nimble, and transparent access to capital we're improving farm businesses and strengthening our local communities. After launching in Central Virginia in 2018, we’re now beginning to spread statewide.
Through the amazing generosity of all our supporters, we were able to begin making 0% loans through our SOIL fund in early 2019. To date we have made six loans totaling nearly $45,000. Here is a snapshot of the borrowers:
River Oak Farm
River Oak Farm is a diversified livestock farm located in Nelson County. The farm was started in 2014 and is run by husband-and-wife team Adam Aucoin and Cassy Kelly. They raise pastured chicken and turkey, grass-fed beef and forest-fed heritage breed pork. Poultry is their specialty and the foundation of their business. The farm received a 0% loan from Slow Money in June 2019 to help outfit an 8x20 walk-in freezer/refrigeration combo box for outdoor use, which will greatly improve efficiency on the farm and allow them a better opportunity to boost poultry production and sales. Read more about River Oak Farm and their Slow Money loan.
Little hat creek farm
Little Hat Creek Farm is a diversified ecological vegetable farm with on on-farm wood-fired bakery. The farm is located in Nelson County and is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Ben Stowe and Heather Coiner. Ben oversees the dozens of varieties of seasonal vegetables, herbs and berries, while Heather keeps the bakery pumping out delicious breads and pastries. The farm received a 0% loan from Slow Money in April 2019 to purchase a new commercial bakery dough sheeter, which will not only reduce labor hours, it will greatly increase production to meet the demand for their pastries. Read more about Little Hat Creek Farm and their Slow Money loan.
Twenty Paces is a farmstead sheep dairy and creamery located near Charlottesville. The farm produces fresh ricotta along with four raw milk Pecorino-style aged cheeses. The business is run by Kyle Kilduff, Tom Pyne, Melanie Pyne, and Bridge Cox. Utilizing management intensive grazing methods, their grass-fed sheep herd has grown each year since they officially launched in 2015. The farm received a 0% loan from Slow Money in March 2019 to purchase additional ewe lambs to help them increase production and grow revenue more quickly. Read more about Twenty Paces and their Slow Money loan.
Free Union Grass Farm
Free Union Grass Farm is a diversified livestock farm run by Erica Hellen and Joel Slezak and is located near the Free Union community in Albemarle County. Using rotational grazing practices, the farm, which started in 2010, produces pastured chicken and duck, free-range eggs, 100% grass-fed beef, and forest-fed pork. The farm received a 0% loan from Slow Money in February 2019 to help them make several investments that will strengthen their business for many more years to come. This included roll-out nest boxes for their laying hens, which make it easier to collect, clean, and package chicken eggs. Read more about Free Union Grass Farm and their Slow Money loan.
Vanguard Ranch is located in Louisa County and is owned by Renard and Chinette Turner. For about the past ten years they have been raising pastured goats and growing organic heirloom vegetables. The farm received a 0% loan from Slow Money in January 2019 to help purchase supplies to build a squabbery. Squab is meat pigeon, a delicacy not being produced on any other small-scale farms in the region. The Turners intend to sell their squab to local restaurants. Read more about Vanguard Ranch and their Slow Money loan.
Sharondale Farm is a certified organic mushroom farm located in the community of Cismont in Albemarle County. Owner Mark Jones started the farm in 2004 and now produces more than 20 varieties of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms including oyster, lion’s mane, bear’s tooth, chestnut, pioppino, reishi, portobello, and shiitake. The farm received a 0% loan from Slow Money in January 2019 to help purchase new equipment that will improve efficiency and help free up time to develop new business opportunities. Read more about Sharondale Farm and their Slow Money loan.
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