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Buy Local - With Town Currency

Businessweek - Jeffery Gangemi - Steve Carlotta, owner of the three-employee Great Barrington (Mass.) camera store Snap Shop, had been losing business for the last five years to discounters on the Internet. Then, in September, 2006, his town launched a currency program called BerkShares designed to strengthen the local economy by encouraging consumers to support local businesses.

How Small-Town Banknotes Keep the Global Dollar at Bay

The London Times - James Bone - You can buy a slice of hazelnut ricotta torta and a caffe latte at Rubi’s cafe in this trendy Massachusetts town for $5 (£2.50).

The crisp local banknotes look like politically correct Monopoly money, with portraits of social activists and local figures such as Herman Melville, the novelist, and Norman Rockwell, the painter, on one side and pictures by living local artists on the other.

New Age Town in U.S. Embraces Dollar Alternative

Reuters - Scott Malone - A walk down Main Street in this New England town calls to mind the pictures of Norman Rockwell, who lived nearby and chronicled small-town American life in the mid-20th Century.

So it is fitting that the artist's face adorns the 50 BerkShares note, one of five denominations in a currency adopted by towns in western Massachusetts to support locally owned businesses over national chains.

The Realm's Coin Remains Local

Albany Times Union - Marlene Kennedy - Ithacaness. It was a term coined years ago by a cadre of college friends. A code word, really, that was mocking but at the same time just a bit envious.

Ithacaness embodied the uniqueness of the Tompkins County city at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake: the organic restaurants, the food co-op, the pottery and craft stores, the political and social activism. They did things differently there, and proudly too.

To those of us living nearby in the uncool hinterlands, Ithaca was alternative urban chic.

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.

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