BOULDER, Colo., April 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Slow Money, a major new funder of local food systems, this week kicks off a competition in which food entrepreneurs are eligible to win a $50,000 cash prize. The winner will be announced at the fourth Slow Money National Gathering April 29-30 in Boulder, Colorado. (Register for the gathering at www.slowmoney.org.) Slow Money and the organic beverage maker Mamma Chia joined forces to create this award. The prize, called the Mamma Chia Entrepreneur of the Year Award, will go to one of 25 small food businesses already selected to present at Slow Money's Entrepreneur Showcase. Mamma Chia donated $25,000, which was matched by the Soil Trust, Slow Money's new online funding tool, creating a total prize of $50,000. Everyone is eligible to vote now in the online portion of the competition. The 25 food entrepreneurs up for the prize represent small communities from all over the U.S. and parts of Canada. The award will go to the food enterprise that best demonstrates outstanding leadership in the local food movement and best exemplifies the spirit of the six Slow Money Principles, including a call to invest in food and farms and to create vital relationships, including new sources of capital, for small food enterprises by connecting investors to the places where they live. (See http://slowmoney.org/principles.) The Entrepreneur Showcase at the Slow Money National Gathering is a chance for innovative food entrepreneurs to pitch their business before potential investors. More than $6 million has been invested thus far in 34 of the small food enterprises that have presented at previous national gatherings. Mamma Chia itself was a featured enterprise on the Slow Money stage in 2010, making the award especially meaningful, and demonstrating the success of the showcase format. "Mamma Chia's commitment to giving back—to putting back into the soil what we take out—is a shining example of the Slow Money Principles in action," says Woody Tasch, the founder and chairman of Slow Money. There are three ways to earn points toward the award, all of equal weight. First, there's an online voting competition open to everyone, with the option to vote again every 24 hours. Second, attendees at the Slow Money National Gathering may cast ballots during the event. The third score comes from the jury for the Entrepreneur Showcase, composed of Slow Money Board and Steering Committee members, Tasch, and Janie Hoffman, CEO and founder of Mamma Chia. "Mamma Chia is a proud founding member of Slow Money, and a member of 1% for the Planet," says Hoffman. "Everything Mamma Chia does is about nourishing healthy people and a healthy environment. We are delighted to give the Entrepreneur of the Year Award to a deserving entrepreneur who is dedicated to rebuilding healthy local food systems, and to do so through the emerging Slow Money network." Slow Money is at the nexus of sustainable food and local investing, and the Slow Money National Gathering is a key event that catalyzes the flow of capital into the full range of small businesses vital to healthy local economies and a more resilient food system.