An exciting community project is in the gestation phase here in the Traverse Bay Area--creating a local currency. For those of you to whom this is a new idea, local money systems have been created in many communities across the country and around the world. What is the purpose of creating a local medium of exchange? There are many reasons, but first and foremost is to build a strong local community. Dollars that only circulate locally encourage people to support local businesses. People begin to pay attention to where they spend their money and how much of it stays in our local community.
A group of volunteers has been meeting since last winter to explore this issue. Here is its mission statement:
The Traverse Area Community Currency Initiative is an association of people working on the creation of an economic exchange medium for local economy.
We believe that the creation of a local economic exchange medium that can be used by citizens and businesses of the Grand Traverse region will help upport and highlight local independent businesses, build trust within the community, facilitate the production and exchange of locally owned and produced products and services, and to put control of the exchange process in the hands of the people of the Grand Traverse region.
We will investigate various options for economic exchange medium and research other communities that have implemented local currencies, including by not restricted to: paper currency, Local Exchange Trading System (LETS) and Time Dollars (hour-based currency).
Through the winter and spring of 2004 the committee will be doing outreach to regional businesses, educating the public about this project, designing the local currency (perhaps with a contest for the design to be used on the currency), and setting up a system for membership. If you are interested in this project, either as an individual or a business, please contact Natasha Lapinski at 933-8400 or <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Watch for the launching of a local currency by the summer of 2004!