Alternative currency and the local food economy
I met yesterday with a man named Tim from a place called the Hub, an org that I might be getting involved in. They basically create a space where like minded-folks, entrepeneurs that are working toward social and environmental goals can get a workspace and collaborate. Pretty cool stuff.
Somewhere in our discussion the idea of alternative currency came up. Tim had just been working in England to establish the Brixton pound, a local alternative currency. Apparently they had 40000 pounds in circulation when he left to work for the hub.
Apparently there are alternative currency movements happening all over the world, some in our own city (there is something called "Bernal Bucks" that is gaining traction in that neighborhood). It's such an interesting idea. We all talk a lot about supporting small business, and keeping dollars local, but if you create a currency that is totally local, you can see the real effect of your purchases, with the growth of your local economy.
My immediate thought was to create/use a local currency at the SF Underground Market. How great would it be if we only accepted SF Bucks (or perhaps some more catchy currency name), and the vendors would be able to spend that money to buy ingredients from local farmers to make the products that then would be sold at the next market. And it wouldn't need to be just the market, or farmers that took it, but also local restaurants, cafes, maybe giving a percentage discount if you used it... I have to admit that this idea has its fair share of inherent problems. We would need a much larger pool to really create a currency that could be used. Get more businesses involved etc. But it would be really amazing to take this idea of local community support to the next level/keep more money local/give more incentive for chefs/producers to buy locally....ideas? Anyone want to take this on? I'll help.