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Slow Money Pioneer Valley Call for Entrepreneurs

Slow Money Pioneer Valley: Farm and Food Businesses invited to Submit Proposals to Participate in Upcoming Entrepreneur Showcases

Slow Money Pioneer Valley is part of the national Slow Money movement, and is coordinated with other initiatives in support of the local food system and investing, like PV Grows and Invest Here Now.  It also works closely with other Slow Money Networks in the region, including Boston, Maine, and Vermont.  The mission of our Slow Money Network is to catalyze community-based investment in the local food system by connecting investors, farmers and entrepreneurs in order to strengthen our local and regional food economy.   SMPV organized its first “Entrepreneurs’ Showcase” in January 2014 where farm and food businesses presented their business plans to potential investors, and has sponsored workshops on different options for food entrepreneurs seeking financing.

On May 21st, there will be a gathering of the Slow Money Networks from the region in Boston.  An important part of the program will be an Entrepreneurs’ Showcase.  Each regional Network will nominate 2-3 entrepreneurs to participate from which one will be chosen to provide a balanced group representing different business stages, products and strategies from the region.  Slow Money Pioneer Valley will follow up with its own Entrepreneurs’ Showcase in the Fall.

These Showcases will give entrepreneurs an opportunity to get feedback from private investors on their business plans, and make contacts and forge relationships that will be useful as their businesses grow and need support, including financing.

If you are a Pioneer Valley food entrepreneur currently seeking private investors or thinking seriously about how to meet your future financing needs, you may be a good candidate to participate in one of these two upcoming Showcases.  SMPV can help you determine if this would be a good fit at this time and, if so, help you prepare the following:

·      A well executed 5 minutes presentation at the event

·      A slidedeck of 5 to 6 slides for your presentation

·      You will need to make time to receive feedback about your slidedeck and presentation from a Slow Money representative prior to     the event

The Opportunity for Entrepreneurs:

·      Connect with community members who are consumers, activists, and potential investors.

·      Potential investors may be interested in your project and want to discuss investment options in greater detail.

Slow Money Pioneer Valley invites you to submit a brief 4-5 sentence description of your business and its current and anticipated needs.  The submission will be reviewed by SMPV and you will be informed whether you are a candidate for either of the upcoming showcases.  If so, SMPV will work with you to finalize your presentation.  In the case of the Regional Showcase in May, the organizers from Slow Money Boston will also work with you to ensure a consistent format among all the regional entrepreneurs.

During each event, each entrepreneur will have 5 minutes to make their presentation about their business, and their financing needs.  Local investors and food system supporters will then have 5 minutes to ask questions about each business. Following the presentations, entrepreneurs, investors, and community members have the opportunity to meet for more in-depth, one-on-one discussions.


If you are interested in presenting at the Boston showcase, please send in your 4-5 sentence description of your business by April 17th to  For questions, please email Paul DiLeo ( or Dan Rosenberg (

For the SMPV Showcase in the fall, we will send out a reminder and specify a deadline for submissions once the date has been set.

Thanks for your interest and we look forward to working together with Pioneer Valley food businesses!

Jeff Rosen and Paul DiLeo on behalf of the Slow Money Pioneer Valley Steering Committee


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MA Food Plan Listening Session

MA Food Plan Listening Session

Wednesday, April 15th from 2-4pm, Mill 1 in Open Square, 4 Open Square Way, Holyoke, MA 

Massachusetts has a rich and diverse food system – from varied agriculture, to innovative food processing facilities, to initiatives that improve the health and affordability of food in our communities. The Massachusetts Food Policy Council has initiated a process to craft a statewide Food System Plan build a strong, robust food system where there is less hunger, more access to local and healthy foods, where there are improved job and business opportunities, and where food system development is ecologically sustainable.

We want to hear from you! Join us after lunch and weigh in on what’s happening on farms, in food processing, with community food organizations, and in fisheries.

  • What are you doing really well?
  • What are the major challenges in your area?
  • What do you see as the most important ways to improve our food system?

Your input is important for us to better understand the major strengths and obstacles in this region and to develop a well-informed plan for the Massachusetts food system.

Visit our website for more information on the planning process:


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2015 Spring Forum – LAND: the foundation of a healthy food system

Preserve FarmlandLAND: the foundation of a healthy food system 

Wednesday, April 15th from 9:00-1:30pm, Mill 1 in Open Square, 4 Open Square Way, Holyoke, MA 

Sliding Scale Registration: $0-50. Space is limited to 130. Register NOW!

Catered by Beets & Barley and Holyoke Hummus Company.

There will be a MA Food Plan Listening Session following the Forum.

View Program Details & Full List of Presenters

Just as a house needs a strong foundation to support it over time, farmers need secure access to land to produce food. Land is the foundation of our food system. 

  • How does access to farmland fit into a vision of creating a healthy, resilient, and equitable food system?
  • How can we ensure that farmland is available and protected for future generations?
  • What is the connection between food access and farmland access?
  • What can urban and rural communities learn from one another about accessing land for food production?

We all have a stake in supporting working farms by expanding secure access to land. Farmers with secure access can afford to purchase farmland or can obtain long-term leases that allow them to feel confident investing in the soil or other infrastructure. They live in communities that prioritize food production among other land uses. In our region, as elsewhere, food security – ensuring adequate, healthy food for all – is of great concern. Our region’s food security depends on farmers’ land security.

Join us for PVGrows’ 2015 Spring Forum to learn about the important role that secure access to land plays in our food system – and how we can all work to strengthen this foundation.

At the Forum we will explore topics related to land access including land affordability, land transfer and succession planning, land conservation, farm financing, farm viability, and food access. 

We will:

  • Learn why secure access to farmland is vital to creating a healthy, resilient, and equitable food system in the Pioneer Valley.
  • Understand the barriers facing producers who are trying to gain secure access to rural and urban farmland.
  • Get introduced to the diverse approaches available for overcoming these barriers including conservation easements, shared ownership, and creative leasing.
  • Hear stories of innovative approaches to land access and partnerships in rural and urban settings and meet with local people working on these issues.

Community support is critical to help farmers access, hold, and transfer land – and to keep working farms viable for future generations. Join us to learn more.

Like past Forums, the 2015 Spring Forum will include interactive sessions, structured networking, opportunities for collaboration, and a locally grown lunch. This event is open to anyone interested in and working for a healthy food system in the Pioneer Valley.

For More Background Information & Resource

Register for the PVGrows 2015 Spring Forum.

Read more here about the PVGrows Forum.

Video from previous PVGrows Forums are available on the PVGrows YouTube Channel.

Thanks to our sponsors

Real Pickles CISA
Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment Partners for a Healthier Community

 Daisa enterprises  Westfield State University
 Common Capital
  Franklin County Community Development Corporation
 Farm Credit East  Land For Good
Lydia B. Stokes Foundation Solidago Foundation
Mass Food System Plan Conway School
 Franklin Regional Council of Governments  Grow Food Northampton
Franklin Land Trust
Mount Grace Land Trust
 Hilltown Land Trust  the trustees of reservations
 Simple Diaper & Linen
 New England Farmers Union
Just Roots  the frances fund
 Miller Worley Center for The Environment  Equity Trust
 Greenfield Community College  CD_Hospital_RGB (1)

 Thanks to our caterers:
 Beets and Barley
 Holyoke Hummus Company

Join our sponsors on the 15th and register now!

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Food Justice: past, present and futre

The PVGrows Racial Equity in the Food System presents

Food Justice: past, present and future

Wednesday, March 11th

 4:00 – 6:00 PM at  the Holyoke Senior Center

291 Pine Street, Holyoke, MA 1st Floor Conference Room

RSVP here:

Light refreshments will be served.

Who can buy healthy fresh vegetables in our region and who can’t? Why and why not? How has institutional racism shaped access to healthy food in our region and beyond? What is needed to build a resilient food system that provides for all?

The PV Grows Racial Equity in the Food System Working Group invites you to a conversation in which we will trace the practices of modern agriculture and food production back to plantation agriculture, examine some of the policies that have shaped food chain worker conditions, and together build tools for action in this region and beyond.

Then, we’ll imagine a Massachusetts where everyone has access to enough healthy, fresh, locally produced, safe, affordable, culturally appropriate food and where those that grow, harvest, distribute, and sell food make a living wage in a safe environment.

The Massachusetts Food Policy Council is leading a process to craft a statewide Food Systems Plan that ties together the many elements of the food system. The ideas generated at this event will inform the creation of an actionable plan to make our food system better serve our needs.

The PVGrows Racial Equity in the Food System Working Group gatherings provide a space for us to deepen our shared understanding of racism, how it shows up in the food system; and why food justice & racial equity are at the core of creating a healthy food system.

Events are open to anyone dedicated to creating a just and healthy food system in the Pioneer Valley.

Background Reading: 
How well are you representing a vibrant a food movement for the 21st century? by Kamilah Weeks
Reflections on Diversity and Inclusion in Western Mass by Andrew Morehouse
Why is PVGrows inviting our members to an Undoing Racism Training? by Liz O’Gilvie

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