Keeping your money green: Weekly roundup


When I was in business school in 1999 and 2000, the entrepreneurial program was packed with young capitalists trying to make money online. Everything ended in "dotcom" (or, if you were cool, "dotnet.") If we were to have been faced with a business plan about farming in the famously launchity "entrepreneurial management" course? We probably would have laughed our classmate off the PowerPoint projector.

Not so today. This week the world is full of people getting money for things like organic fertilizer and soy-free chickens:

  • An innovative incubator in New England, the Vermont Food Venture Center, helps small farmers by letting them rent commercial kitchen space and gives advice on "adding value to raw ingredients." Farmers in the small town of Hardwick, Vermont are working together in other ways, sharing tractors and trading resources, co-marketing, and lending one another working capital.

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has always been committed to fighting hunger in third-world countries. This year, the charity doubled its commitment to African agriculture with $306 million in grants going towards causes such as developing drought-tolerant maize.