Saturday, December 17, 2011

Timebanks and CSAs

In this, the great recession that we're slowly (arguably) coming out of, I have realized that there is quite a bit of opportunity for us to learn about ways to make better lives for ourselves by leveraging new movements and ideas (some of which are really just re-made ideas from the past).

Two ideas that are really worth considering, in my opinion, is the idea of "timebanking" and "CSA". Both of these ideas were covered as part of a documentary that aired on "Now On PBS" titled "Fixing The Future". While these were only two of the ideas covered, I think it is a good short documentary that gives some hope to the somewhat difficult mess that we're in as a society.

The first idea that might help us is the idea of "timebanking". Timebanking is a system whereby you donate your hours into a shared pool with lots of local members and then are able to get a comprable portion of time from someone else. This is sold as an item that builds community, recognizes that everyone has some skill, and even if you think that you have a more valuable skill, it is worth noting that these transactions are tax-free, so there can be a significant discount by using them. Learn more on this website:

The second idea that was mentioned was the idea of a CSA. This is Community Sponsored Agriculture--essentially a local farm. The advantage here is that you learn and are aware of the origin of your food. And this provides some availablity/value for the produce that might not be available otherwise since the food would have to be shipped and cause pollution. In my area these seemed a bit expensive, but to be fair, there's an element of uniqueness and value in it that offsets the additional cost if you either have kids or enjoy the experience, in my opinion. These CSAs often take a yearly fee and then provide produce each week for your family that is grown locally. Learn more about them at this site to see if you're interested:

Personally, I am looking into both of these to see if there's a way that I can use these resources locally also.