Here's an interesting article on the idea of "slow money", or a system of investments that stay local in your own community:
What if the money you invested stayed within 50 miles of where you currently live and was committed to local merchants and growers who put at least 50 percent of their profits back into the community? "What if, instead of making a double-digit return on a fast-money transaction that exploited Third World villagers and pumped up corporate profitsartificially," Tasch says, "you could get a steady 2 percent to 3 percent return on money that dramatically improved the quality of life in your own neighborhood?
It's like Kiva for middle American towns. Instead of having investment portfolios segmented into Europe, Asia and emerging markets, it would be Colville, Millwood and Post Falls. I guess that the Main Market Co-Op in downtown Spokane is a little like this. The return on the investment is not as quantifiable in percentages but it is a way to improve the quality of Spokane by helping provide capital. Go here for details on investment in the Co-Op. Jennifer Hall, one of the folks behind the co-op will be part of the panel for the Food & Faith Forum this Saturday.