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Supporting Your Local Farmer Just Got Easier

A new local organic farming initiative pools contributions from locavores like you.

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For some, supporting local farmers means going out for a day of apple picking. If you’re a member of SOIL—Slow Opportunities for Investing Locally—it means going in on a new tractor. The Boulder initiative, which launches October 16, pools charitable contributions from investors (like you!) and loans the money to small farms and food entrepreneurs. These citizen-driven advances might help a Front Range pumpkin grower buy new equipment or assist a budding kimchi maker with her startup costs. The program is an outgrowth of Slow Money Institute, a Boulder nonprofit that already gives low-interest loans to members of the agricultural industry working to localize our food system. Unlike some of Slow Money’s other initiatives, though, SOIL loans are interest-free, and instead of money flowing directly back into the hands of investors, it’s recycled into new loans. The final result (besides a warm and fuzzy feeling)? More locally grown produce at farmers’ markets, which, according to the USDA, grew from 4,385 operations nationally in 2006 to 8,669 in 2016. In other words, it’s a way for locavores to put their money where their mouths are.

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