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10/14/2008

Community Currency Prominent
At 2008 IRTA Conference

The community currency movement is a globally based not-for-profit program that has for many decades created and provided local currencies that support community programs - such as elder care, time banking, regional agriculture and local merchant loyalty. �The community currency movement represents a significant element of the modern trade and barter industry,� declared IRTA President David Wallach.

Annette Riggs, a recognized leader of the community currency movement, led the well attended and educational seminar titled �Community Currencies and Sustainable Businesses.� Also on the panel were Catherine Austin Fitts and Reiner Husemann.

Fitts provided ideas on how to connect more to the economic activity within our geographic regions, and discussed the value of owning more of the equity in our communities.

Husemann shared his knowledge about Complementary Currency systems in Europe and the challenges they face. Reiner felt that although these systems are much more prolific in Europe than in the U.S., they often have a shortfall in revenue and lack consistency of available goods and services.

Also actively participating with the panel and providing insight into their systems were community currency operators Robert Gallant, Amy Kirschner, and Sharon Miranda. Gallant has worked with Highland Valley Elder Care for many years and has been working on creating a service and business exchange to serve that community and link it to businesses.

Kirschner has transitioned her work from a scrip based currency to an online exchange that integrates community networks and stakeholders such as local farmers and food distributors. Miranda has been a community organizer in Ashland (OR), building an extensive network of businesses and individuals interested in local sustainability issues. She is now integrating an exchange into her social network software.

The panel and audience had a lively and interactive discussion about these examples and others for the purpose of sharing knowledge and experience. Riggs summarized the discussions by relating these new systems and ideas to the practice of the trade/barter system so that attendees could all take a step further towards expanding views of what IRTA does and how the industry will evolve. �I feel that community currencies could greatly increase their sustainability by adopting certain funding elements of the commercial barter industry,� she noted.

Community Currency Movement representatives were also present to participate in forming the new Community Currency Council. The Council Committee is chaired by IRTA Global Board Member Richard Logie who has assembled a distinguished panel of Community Currency leaders including Annette Riggs, Bernard Lietaer and Thomas Greco, that will seek to work directly with IRTA to further unity and sustainability within the movement.

(The above article was submitted to BarterNews by Annette Riggs.)

Annette Riggs is the Founder and Managing Director of the Community Connect Trade Association. She has over 20 years of experience with non-cash trade models such as corporate trade, complementary currency, and trade exchange systems. She has in-depth knowledge of, and leadership within, the $8 billion commercial barter industry and has applied this expertise for the social benefit of communities and economic ecology. 



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