Media Coverage

Recent News

Going green: Communities Make Their Own Currencies

The Associated Press - Rodrique Ngowi - Diana Felber brought her groceries to the
checkout and counted out her cash — purple, blue and green bills that
aremgood only at businesses in western Massachusetts.

Known as "BerkShares," the colorful currency is printed by a nonprofit group
to encourage people to spend close to home in the state's Berkshire region.

Customers who use the money also get a built-in 10 percent discount, since
they can get 100 BerkShares for just $90 at local banks.

Trykker Egne Penger Under Finanskrisen

Dagens Næringsliv - Lokalsamfunn i Asia, USA og Sør-Amerika har begynt å ta i bruk egne penger for å støtte opp under den lokale økonomien. Sentralbankene ser på de ulovlige valutaene som en alvorlig trusel, skriver Dagens Næringsliv.

Under den store depresjonen på 1930-tallet var det svært utbredt for lokalsamfunn å ta i bruk egne valutaer på grunn av høy inflasjon og liten tiltro til den nasjonale valutaen.


Local Currencies Grow During Economic Recession

World Watch Institute - Ben Block - Five local banks have printed more than 2 million Berkshare notes since 2006. The 10 Berkshare note features Robyn Van En, a local pioneer of community supported agriculture.
The gentle mountain slopes of New England isolate the Berkshires, creating a peaceful remoteness in this southern Massachusetts region.

As a result, independent thinkers have thrived here. Herman Melville penned Moby Dick; Norman Rockwell etched paintings of American life; W. E. B. Dubois authored his first calls for emancipation.

Artists Design New Money

Art News - If the U.S. financial system goes south, at least we can turn to the
burgeoning "local currency" movement. John Isaacs -- who shows with Kinz +
Tillou Fine Art and also runs his own design studio, John Isaacs Design --
was commissioned to design a new currency for the Berkshires region in
Western Massachusetts, an area that encompasses Great Barrington, North
Adams, Pittsfield, Williamstown and 26 other towns. Dubbed "BerkShares," the
money now has more than 2,000,000 units in circulation and is garnering

Alternative Currencies Grow in Popularity

TIme - Judith Schwartz - Most of us take for granted that those rectangular green slips of paper we
keep in our wallets are inviolable: the physical embodiment of value. But
alternative forms of money have a long history, and appear to be growing in
popularity. It's not merely barter, or primitive means of exchange like,
say, seashells or beads. Beneath the financial radar, in hip U.S. towns or
South African townships, in shops, markets, and even banks, throughout the
world people are exchanging goods and services via thousands of currency

Make Money to Make Money

GOOD News - Now that we're officially in a recession, greenbacks are scarce. Why not print your own? That's what many communities are doing, though it's not as transgressive as it sounds. Many communities have turned to trading with their own currencies in an attempt to bolster local economies. The most successful of these, Massachussetts' BerkShares program, has more than two million notes in circulation.

BerkShares on ABC40

ABC40 - BerkShares local currency supports the community, economy, ecology, and sustainability of the southern Berkshire region of Massachusetts. Launched by the E. F. Schumacher Society, BerkShares creates consumer awareness about the consequences of spending practices, supports local businesses, facilitates the development of import replacing industries, and serves as a model for other regions.

BerkShares Holiday Shop-A-Thon

ABC40 - Eric Fisher - While the country as a whole struggles, many are thinking about their local priorities. There are few initiatives more local than Berkshares.

"I'm a believer in sustainable economies and keeping things local, and this is the epitomy of keeping things local," says Steffen Root of Berkshire Bike & Board.

In his store, and at dozens of others, Berkshares are accepted. They're a relatively new currency used in the Berkshires, now about two years old. Over 2 million Berkshares are now in circulation, with about $200,000 actively being used.