A New Bartering System Uses Time Instead of Money

By: Dave Byknish Email
By: Dave Byknish Email

STAUNTON, Va -- Imagine a bartering system where the thing that gets traded is time. That is the concept behind hOUR Economy, which is a new idea from the Staunton Creative Community fund.

Traditionally, the group offers money to fledgling small businesses.

“This initiative is very much complimentary to that, in that it asks small businesses not how to borrow money to buy services, but how to you use and access the resources within their community that already exists, by building new relationships and new networks,” said Meghan Williamson, a consultant with Staunton Creative Community Fund.

You exchange services for other services. People in need of certain things can look through the time bank.

“I come and mow your grass, because that's a need you have and can't fill. It takes me an hour to mow your grass. You put an hour in my time bank account. I can then take that hour and go do something else that I want to do,” said John Matheny, the owner of Nu-Beginning Farm.

With the hOUR Economy concept, no money ever exchanges hands.

Matheny needed a counter for his new business, so he found a woodworker in the time bank, he bought the supplies and the woodworker built the counter for him at significant savings.

Matheny explained how the concept could expand even further.

“With everybody scared of the economy and insurance lacking, and all this, that would be a way for somebody to get good responsible health care with no money out of pocket.”

For Williamson, this concept is about matching needs with talents already in a community.

“Really, the hOUR Economy is about connecting people who live and work and play in this region with the resources that they need. We all have talents and we all have needs. The question is how to we best match our needs with our talents,” said Williamson.

An informational meeting about the hOUR Economy concept is taking place Tuesday in Staunton. Information on when and where can be found here: hOUR Economy Volunteer Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/events/299427623491591/

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