Saturday, January 7, 2012

Main Street

I was in Pittsboro a couple days ago for a CFSA staff meeting. During our meeting, I wrote the words, “slow money” on my hand to remind me to contact our slow money lender as soon as I returned to Asheville to give her an update on the mill. We closed our meeting with a group lunch at Angelina’s Kitchen, The food was amazing—fresh, local, flavorful-- and the atmosphere felt more like a community center than a restaurant. During lunch I looked down at the words on my hand and then remembered reading about Angelina’s Kitchen in the Abundance Foundation’s website, This place had received one of NC Slow Money’s first loans. I mentioned this to our group and Angelina, who happened to be sitting one table away doing paperwork, chimed in. She said that getting a slow money loan was so much more than just getting a loan. It was building community. Her small business loan came from real people. Her lenders chose to invest in her business because she adds something to this community—and so everyone benefits. She and her husband have their business; Pittsboro gets this wonderful restaurant; and she is supporting local growers, buying their produce, meat, cheese, and even flour. And she dishes up the most delectable food.

When I told her that our mill, Carolina Ground, L3C had recently received the first Western NC Slow Money loan, she lit up. With brimming enthusiasm she told us how she had gotten rye flour that had been grown by Bobby Tucker and milled by baker Abraham Palmer of Box Turtle Bakery, And then she disappeared, swiftly reappearing with slices of apple cake made with this flour for all of us to taste. Delicious.

Yesterday I called our lender. I told her we had hoped to be milling by now, but had hit an obstacle having to do with electrical, though we’re addressing it and hope to be milling soon enough. We had planned on beginning the first payment on our slow money loan this month, as it is the first of the year. I told her I still wanted to go ahead and make our first payment. She thanked me for calling. She said it meant so much to her that I was keeping her abreast of our progress. And she said she was not attached to beginning payment in January-- that getting this mill off the ground is what matters most right now.

This is what it looks like when we move our money from Wall Street to Main Street.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

a plea for an angelic electrical engineer...

We, of course, expected to at least be milling test batches of flour by now, but alas, we have hit an obstacle (after clearing a good many along the way)... something to do with amperage and voltage...the terminology continues to ring in my ears even when I sleep-- 480/600; 110/220; 208; three- phase; step down; transformer; sub-panel; bus duct..on and on... and all I really want to hear is the simple, slow rotation of our mill...
What we need-- what would be AMAZINGLY helpful-- is if there were an electrical engineer out there that would be willing to volunteer to meet with us and offer his/her opinion as to the best route to take to get the proper juice to power our mill. For the sake of good and local bread, rustic pastries, and even NC-grown malt balls, please if you are out there, email me. A couple years back a woman reached out and said if we needed help, her husband is an electrical engineer. I have scanned through both of my notebooks and cannot find her contact info. If you are out there, please contact me.

feeling ground to a pulp,