Local currency ~ Local economy

Last weekend our neighbours got together for a street bonfire. This was our first neighbourhood get together and the first time that we met some of our neighbours properly. So this was a pretty important get together for our family. Getting to know your neighbours is important, but even more so in a small village. So the night kicked off with lots of introductory chatter and as the bonfire burnt down to a beautiful large bed of glowing coals and night’s sky was alight with the sparkle of stars, the conversation stemmed into deeper more meaningful topics. We discovered over the course of this gathering that our new neighbourhood attracted many like minded residents even though we were all from different backgrounds with different journey’s through life. Yet here we were, our paths colliding in this little village in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, and with similar aspirations.

My hubby, who is a Geography teacher at the local high school, came across an article on transition towns in his research for a class. He read it to me one night while I was making dinner in the week leading up to this neighbourhood get together and we then discussed the possibility of introducing a local currency in our region… the idea of which seems quite plausible in our opinion when you consider the range skills and talents that reside within our region. So on the night of the bonfire as conversations progressed and common interests were discovered we brought up this idea of a local currency and as a group we discussed how we thought this could work, along with how a barter system would benefit our community. There was much laughter and joking about unlikely fictitious scenarios of how this could work, but there was also a serious side to the conversation about how ideas that instigate long term change often commence in situations such as this, in a social setting.  This discussion went deeper and continued for much longer than we could have foreseen and at the end of the evening we walked away feeling chuffed about our fellow community members and the like mindedness of our new found friends.

The next day however, I found myself wondering where I fitted into this picture… amongst the contributors to this conversation by the bonfire was a teacher, a tradesman, a police officer, an architect, a farmer & me… an artisan. What need would the others have for an artisan in their community? How foolish of me to even think that really, especially after running this business for 7 years now to be doubting the need for my skill set was completely unnecessary, but occasional self doubt is the nature of being a creative type. After thinking on this a little more I managed to talk myself back into thinking that everyone has a purpose in a community.

The more I thought I about this the more I realised that all of us had these occupations in our current system but what if we operated in a different way, in a way that our skills and interests were what contributed directly to our community. Would we all offer different services & products to what we do now in our current occupations which we use to earn our income? The participants in this conversation also had sideline interests such as growing food & preserving the harvest, raising livestock of the feathered, furry & bristly kind, restoring vintage cars, restoring batteries, writing children’s stories and more. So if we were all to contribute to our community’s needs as a matter of survival each one of us could bring a series of skills in various fields that could provide for the needs of our village.

Our neighbourhood bonfire was a great example of how everyone can contribute with their own skills and resources. One person  hosted the bonfire on their vacant block, another brought a bobcat to gather more firewood from surrounding farmland and push the pile up together for greater burning power, another brought their ute to assist with the gathering of wood… our boys assisted by opening and closing gates and unloading the ute, while others contributed by making food to add to the buffet… ourselves included.

As an artisan who focuses on minimising waste, using resources for more than one purpose to the point of using the entire resource, this way of being can be translated into many areas of life… we as a couple also have a many ideas of how we’d like to contribute to our community. Engaging in this discussion around the bonfire with our fellow villager’s left us feeling encouraged about what the future could hold for our children & our children’s children. The transition town movement is already in place which says that there are people willing to make it happen. As a human race, steward’s of the earth, it up to us to care for this world not just watch it slowly diminish and claim no contribution to its demise. And as individuals we are each born with a gift and special talent unique to each of us that we first need to discover, recognise, hone in on and then utilise to for the benefit of our local and global community… not just ourselves.

So I’d like to encourage you to think about your skills and interests and consider how you could contribute to your community.

<<== by marie-nicole ==>>


Ps. For inspiration on making the most of your ‘inner legend’ as Regena Thomashauer puts it, head on over to the Marie Forleo website and watch the espisode “The Art of Creation Through Your Desire