Urgent Evoke

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While researching, I found an article by Nell Edgington on social capital in Austin. She focuses on slow money - "a national movement aimed at increasing the availability of risk capital to sustainable food-related social entrepreneurs." Austin has it's own affiliate: Slow Money Austin. Slow Money Austin just launched within the past few weeks and is led by Scott Collier. It makes sense. Austin is one of the only cities truly pursuing locally grown food and sustainable gardening. While this article didn't directly pertain to social capital, I had never even heard of slow money, or knew there was an organization within my city focusing on sustainable food entrepreneurs. Of course, with my husband being a chef, this excited me. Having the social capital within your town to support you if you decide to branch out and create your own business is encouraging.

Now, with resiliency, I can see how having social capital - whether through actual business ventures or social entrepreneurship - would benefit a city. In order to truly be resilient, you need the essentials to "bounce back" from whatever happens. For Austin, the focus on sustainable food has only increased within the past few years. This increases our resiliency by decreasing our risk of food-related illnesses or food shortages. And with continued support, it provides partnerships and employment opportunities for those lacking jobs. Scott Collier said, "Slow Money investors will mostly be investors that are seeking a financial return as well as a social impact. This raises the potential for the sustainable food sector to be a major target for philanthropists and private foundations as they launch Program Related or Mission Related Investment practices deploying funds to generate not only a financial return but also a positive impact to human health, environmental and animal well-being, and employment opportunities. A dramatic example of such fresh investment thinking is the Gates Foundation’s recent move to deploy $400 million into such impact investments. While this represents just 1% of Gates Foundation corpus, imagine the impact that could result if the other $500 billion or so of foundation capital in America invested with similar expectations. We would see the deployment of $5 billion of investment capital seeking positive social impact and a financial return of capital, thus creating a sustainable, perpetual virtuous cycle."

As far as community knowledge of this organization, I asked a few of our neighbors if they knew about this and they said no. Of course, this only fueled the curiosity and sparked a conversation about slow food/sustainable practices. Most people who know us know our obsession with organic/local food and know my husband's dream of owning a completely sustainable restaurant. So being able to share with them something else Austin is leading the way in with social capital was exciting.

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