Thursday, November 6, 2008

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I just finished an article that changed my life. It is in this month's issue of Ode Magazine- a publication about positive news, about the people and ideas that are changing our world for the better.

The article is called: Slow and Steady Wins the Race. It reminds me of the theme of the book: Living at Natures Pace by Gene Logdson. I recommend reading this, and think of how we can contribute in this big picture idea. I hope you find it as engaging as I. This section is off the website, but I recommend picking up this month's issue called Eat, drink and be healthy with an article from Frances Moore Lappe on Courage. Good stuff for 'intelligent optimists.' All for now.

Slow and steady wins the race
Carleen Hawn | November 2008 issue

The need for speedy profits has brought the world's financial system to its knees. Financial high-flier Woody Tasch believes his Slow Money movement, which invests in sustainable agriculture, can put the economy back on its feet.

Woody Tasch: "The Earth isn't expanding indefinitely. We only have so much soil, water and air."
What if you were told that one solution to crises such as global warming and the worldwide financial meltdown could be unearthed in the simple act of growing your own food? Nothing drastic; nothing revolutionary. Just a window box for a tomato plant in your kitchen.

"It's remarkable, but people who grow their own food, who reconnect with the soil, can immediately appreciate the implications of an economy that doesn't respect the power of ecology," says Woody Tasch, somewhat quixotically. But Tasch is no quack. He's chairman of the Investors' Circle, a national group focused on funding socially responsible companies. Since 1992, Investors' Circle has placed $130 million into 200 such businesses and venture funds. Today, sitting in the bar of a San Francisco hotel, Tasch orders a local Syrah and a fresh batch of the bar's potato chips. "I like them because they make them here," he explains.

"Reconnecting with the soil" may sound like a bohemian throwback. But despite the progress the environmental and sustainability movements have enjoyed in recent years, Tasch believes one aspect of social responsibility has been left out that can no longer be neglected: a more personal connection to our food. Already imposing for his height (6'2'', some 1.9 meters), Tasch gets more and more excited as he talks. He leans into the table and gesticulates as he tosses names about—Thomas Malthus, Google, Wal-Mart, American farmer and man of letters Gene Logsdon. But it all comes down to Earth and back to sustainable agriculture.

For years, Tasch, 57, has promoted a philosophy of socially responsible investment, prioritizing the social good over the urge to make a quick buck under an ethos known as "patient capital." Today, Tasch believes, if we have any hope of curing society's greatest ills—much less fixing the reliance on rapid growth and rising debt that created the current crisis in the global financial markets—being "patient" with our capital is no longer enough. We need to be slow. To explain what he means, this month Tasch unveils his latest investment treatise in the form of a book entitled Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered (Chelsea Green Publishing). Slow Money, Tasch writes, is "a new vision for investing that looks above the top line and below the bottom line [by] put[ting] soil fertility back into the calculus of investing."


Ron Robins said...

Sounds like a fascinating book. He brings up the whole question of socially responsible investing.

For anyone looking at that area more generally, they might want to visit my popular website on socially responsible investing. It also, covers the latest global news and research on the subject. It's at

Best wishes, Ron Robins

Anonymous said...

Social responsibility is an important issue, and so many companies are involved in giving back to communities, but the public isn't always aware of their campaigns.

A great campaign you should check out is It's a partnership between Unicef and Volvic bottled water, in which Volvic is donating proceeds from their sales to build wells in Africa to provide clean drinking water for children.