Local Currency: The Totnes Pound

I was leafing through Rob Hopkins’ Transition Handbook (thanks! CK) and came across a discussion of the Totnes Pound, local currency established in Totnes, UK, the first town to undertake the Transition. But you don’t have to have the handbook to read about it. You can google it and finds lots of stuff on the web.

And, of course, the Transition Town Totnes has its own write-up. According to that write-up, they started the Totnes Pound in 2007:

  • To build resilience in the local economy by keeping money circulating in the community and building new relationships
  • To get people thinking and talking about how they spend their money
  • To encourage more local trade and thus reduce food and trade miles
  • To encourage tourists to use local businesses

The basic idea is simple: “Totnes Pounds enter circulation when people choose to exchange their sterling currency into Totnes pounds at one of four places around Totnes. At present the exchange rate is 1TP for £1.” People can then use the Totnes Pounds at local businesses that accept them (roughly 70).

Such local currency does well during a recession:

As the country heads into recession the benefits of local currencies can really be felt. Keeping money within the community becomes even more important at making the local economy resilient. Most local currencies around the world have been successful mainly in times of wider economic recession. Here in Totnes we are lucky to have an established local currency already in place, making us well prepared for the difficult economic times unfolding.

Check it out. Nothing like your own local currency to create a sense of local sufficiency.

EDIT: Here’s a link to local currency they’ve been using in the Berkshires (USA) for a few years. It’s called BerkShares.

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