Media Coverage

Recent News

First Slow Food, Now Slow Money?

Minneapolis Star-Tribune - In the hills of the Berkshires in Massachusetts, residents are trading their dollar bills or George Washington coins for BerkShares, local currency designed by local artists that can only be used for transactions in face-to-face purchases at local stores.

Sure it’s slow and inconvenient. You have to go to a participating bank and exchange your money with BerkShares (although at a 10 percent discount meaning your money goes farther). And then you have to visit different stores to interact with real, live people!

Germans Take Pride in Local Money

BBC - Tristana Moore - Like any other city in Germany, the normal currency here is the euro. But bizarrely, they also have another currency in circulation: the Urstromtaler .

Before you doubt its existence, it is not "Monopoly" money - it is very real. At a jewellery shop in the city centre, Gerfried Kliems explained how people use the regional currency.

Good Deals: Buying With BerkShares

Berkshire Eagle - Charles Bonenti -If you shop in South County, you can not only buy local, you can also pay for what you buy
with local currency.

Since Sept. 29, more than 225 South Berkshire businesses have agreed to accept
"BerkShares" from customers in place of federal dollars.

The project is part of an effort launched by the E.F. Schumacher Society and the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce to get people away from shopping on the Internet and back to shopping on Main Street.

Cash, Credit or BerkShares?

Metroland - Nicole Klaas - Residents of southern Berkshire County are doing away with the green and
making room in their wallets for crisp, colorful BerkShares, a new regional
currency that’s being used as part of an effort to encourage local
consumerism. For about two months now, community members have been able to
use BerkShares instead of federal dollars to purchase goods and services
from nearly 200 participating businesses.

Town Bucks a Trend

Hartford Courant - Janice Podsada - Susan Witt decided it was time to make some money for the town she has called home for 26 years. Lots of it.

So this spring, along with community groups that she enlisted, Witt printed a stack of bills - $774,000 worth, to be exact. The cash comes in ones, fives, 10s, 20s and 50s, beautifully engraved on paper just like real greenbacks from Uncle Sam.

BerkShares, a local currency that made its debut 10 weeks ago here in the southern Berkshires, is legal tender, backed by federal dollars, exchanged at four local banks.

Keeping Money Local

Albany Times Union - Those of you who have visited Great Barrington and the southern Berkshires
in the past month may have noticed some unusual currency being spent in
local businesses.

The currency, called BerkShares, has been available in the southern
Berkshires since Sept. 29. About 115,000 share units are circulating. Using
the local currency, its backers contend, keeps wealth local and supports
busineses that are local.

Buying into BerkShares

Berkshire Trade & Commerce - John Townes - Ever since the colonial era, southern Berkshire County has been known for its independent spirit. Now, the region is taking a step towards greater economic independence by launching its own local currency – called “BerkShares” – on the weekend of Sept. 29.

This does not mean the southern Berkshires are seceding from the Union or withdrawing from the national economy. The familiar federal currency will continue to be the coin-of-the-realm in south county.

Free Local Talent Variety Show to Launch BerkShares Program at Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

iBerkshires - The BerkShares local currency program will have its grand kick off on Friday, Sept. 29 at 7 PM at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center with a free local variety show showcasing over 25 area musicians, dancers and artists. The show offers everyone in the family the opportunity to be entertained for free while being able to see and admire the newly-renovated, beautiful Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. Talented local performers who will be participating include dancers from Berkshire Pulse, Vikki True, Drs.

The Monitor's View

Christian Science Monitor - Union-backed critics of Wal-Mart are in full throttle to push politicians into echoing their complaints about the retail chain as they stump this fall. What's missing in this organized campaign are tales of how communities have met the Wal-Mart challenge.

Much of this political effort to change the world's largest retailer would be better spent in spreading the lessons of communities and local merchants that have found ways to survive, even thrive, with the big-box discount chains.

Funny Money to Boost a Biz?

Berkshire Eagle - Derek Gentile - Local businessmen and town officials are bracing for a slew of pseudo-cash slated to circulate in South County at the end of next month.
But it's all for a good cause.

About $865,000 worth of BerkShares, a local currency created specifically to encourage consumers to buy locally in South County, will be minted and released the weekend of Sept. 29.

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