Greetings Valley Futures Network supporters!Local Currency action group members Steve Robbins and I met with the Onion River Exchange’s Joanna Dillon over a VG lunch last week. What follows are the highlights of our conversation, transcribed by Steve (thanks, Steve!). We are strongly considering piloting a “time bank” project for two months this July and August – if anyone is interested in being a part of it, please contact us at email@example.com and Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time Banks are an exciting way to build support for a local currency!
Meeting Minutes April 23, 2008
VFN- “Time Bankers”
Present: Rob Williams, Steve Robbins, Joanna Dillion of Onion River Exchange (ORE)
Joanna described her position as coordinator of the ORE. She began last August on a one-year program supported via Americorps. She hopes to extend for another year.
She described the concept of time-sharing as an alternative to traditional currency and related the experience of the ORE to date.
The ORE began in January, 2008 after a short demonstration / experimental period in the fall of 2007.
Joanna described software currently employed called “Community Weaver” that tracks member activities.
She related that they have found some bugs or holes in the software and from her experience, the program is not intuitive.
However, it may be the most cost-effective software currently available.
Cost to the organization is $500 / year.
Amy Kirschner of Vermont Sustainable Exchange, working on similar projects in Burlington area, is developing new software catered to the needs of time banks.
To date, the ORE has:
- 50 current members
- 120 hopeful new members
- 400 total hours exchanged
This includes several members from the Plainfield area, representing a pocket of interest or a node of exchange within the greater umbrella of ORE.
Joanna said one of the most common questions or concerns is the perception that some hours are worth more than other hours (e.g. medical services vs. yard work). She points out that the concept works best when all exchanged services are valued equally; one hour = one hour.
Further, she points out that one need not only offer services in one’s chosen profession. A Lawyer could offer legal services as well as a ride to the airport.
One of the critical, underlying premises that make a time exchange thrive is that folks must actively participate by both providing and using services. Joanna said the goal is to have an “active” balance of zero so that people are not hoarding too many hours nor owed to many.
For starters, her suggestion for folks in our area (VFN) is:
- Join ORE www.onionriverexchange.org
- $25 / person or $40 / household (or 2 hours invested?)
- Run an experiment of our own:
- 20 – 30 people participate
- 2 month duration test period
- Each person should pay in one hour and collect one hour.