Nonprofit brings farmers and lenders together to nurture local food production

Mar 29, 2022

A recent $25,000 grant provided through the Ulupono Fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation will bolster local efforts to secure additional funding for local agricultural producers.

The funds were provided to nonprofit North Shore Economic Vitality Partnership (EVP), which will disperse the monies to Slow Money Hawaii to facilitate its own efforts to secure at least $75,000 in low-interest loans for producers by the end of 2022.

“These funds will help increase the availability of capital to agricultural businesses in Hawaii,” said Kevin Kelly, executive director of North Shore EVP. “In doing so, we will also support the increase in local food production.”

Slow Money Hawaii operates under the guiding principles of the Slow Money Network, which catalyzes relationships that result in the flow of capital between farmers and their communities. The Hawaii organization brings farmers and lenders together to nurture small Hawaii farmers and food entrepreneurs committed to increasing the local food supply using practices that are good for people and the earth. It offers opportunities for farmers and prospective lenders to get to know one another, resulting in the facilitation of short-term, low-interest loans to help these businesses expand.

Presently, Slow Money Hawaii facilitates person-to-person lending using promissory notes, loans of $15,000 or less via Kiva (a global peer-to-peer lending platform that enables crowdfunding for underserved communities), or a combination of the two. The organization also serves as a trustee on the Kiva online lending platform, where it also collaborates with The Hawaii Food Producers Fund at The Kohala Center, and operates the ‘ĀINA Fund, which is funded by general donations and may be used as supplemental or matching funds to those provided by individual lenders.