CAROL PEPPE HEWITT is an author, business owner, social entrepreneur, pioneer in the community finance movement, and a champion of small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Since founding Slow Money NC in 2010, she has catalyzed over 125 peer-to-peer, low-interest loans to 60 small farmers and local food businesses in North Carolina.
In 2011 Carol found 16 people and together they formed a Limited Liability Corporation to refinance Chatham Marketplace, her local coop grocery store, to the tune of $400k. When the 75-acre farm site of the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance in Silk Hope, was at risk of being sold to real estate developers in the winter of 2013, Carol found 27 local investors to finance the purchase of the property. They now carry the “mortgage” so that the two non-profits that run the 12 year old, twice annual festival, and the year-round Shakori Hills Cultural Arts Center, can flourish and grow, delighting festival goers of all ages, shapes, sizes, and musical persuasions for decades to come. To date that totals over 2 million dollars moved into local investing in her home state of North Carolina.
Carol’s book, Financing Our Foodshed: Growing Local Food With Slow Money, (New Society Publishers, April 2013) tells the compelling, real life stories of twenty-two of those local food entrepreneurs – folks who grow, process, distribute, and sell local food – and the motivations behind the ordinary people in their communities who become their lenders. It is a blueprint for any community that wants to get moving from Wall Street to Main Street.
A successful business owner herself, Carol understands the challenge of raising capital to start-up, run or expand a small business. Growing up in rural NW Connecticut, she watched as one by one the working farms disappeared. Now she works to change that trend, guiding patient capital to small-scale farmers and the businesses that support them in North Carolina, where she and her husband, Mark, have lived for the past 30 years.
Using the tools of peer-to-peer lending, investment clubs, and crowd-funding – enter her new collaboration with Community Sourced Capital. and yet another resource for small businesses to raise capital from within their own community.
Carol received the 2013 Leadership Triangle “Goodmon Award” in Economic Development, and is sought after as a speaker in the area of Local Investing and Community Finance. She has spoken at Mother Earth News Fairs across the country, keynoted the 201 3 Sustainable Communities Conference in Sarasota, FL, and the upcoming Economic Vitality Summit in LaGrande, OR, and engaged in over 20 Running On Local events from Florida to Boston, and beyond.
Carol’s goal is to spread the message of the power and the pleasure of local investing, and to help build resilience in local foodsheds and local economies throughout the USA.
Check out Carol’s calendar for appearances at conferences, festivals, fairs, and bookstores – and come hear be inspired by the power of local financing. Together with fellow sustainability authors and activists, Carol also engages audiences across the country in “Running On Local” conversations. Learn more at the Running On Local website.
You can find her TEDx talk, titled “What If You Couldn’t Scare Me?” here.
You can also order a copy of Financing Our Foodshed here.
Enjoy a minute of fun by Lyle Estill – videographer extraordinairea – about the day in March, 2013 when Carol’s books arrived in his warehouse.
“The lenders are driven by a belief and a trust in the people they are supporting. It’s not about your credit rating, but about the mission and vision of your business. What you are trying to achieve.” MARK SCARAGA, owner, Tamashii Sushi and Spoons in Wilmington, NC