hOUR Economy is an alternative local economy that uses time rather than dollars as its currency, believing that we can be rich in community and in access to needed services, regardless of the balance of our checking account. Launched in 2012 under the Staunton Creative Community Fund as one of Pine Knot Project’s first project management contracts, almost 500 members have since joined exchanging services ranging from massage to gardening help, nutrition counseling to website development, pet-sitting to bike repair. Everyone’s hours are valued equally within the timebanking community.
Pine Knot Projects was fortunate to be able to work with City of Staunton volunteers and residents as the project’s initial instigator, writing the grant to fund the start-up activities and then completing the first-year community organizing work. Today, Pine Knot’s role in this project is strictly volunteer — or better put, today all hOUR Economy coordinators receive hours rather than dollars for their time.
The timebank has evolved over its many years of operation, ranging from strangers exchanging business services in the early years to a more informal and relationship-based economy in its later years. Today, bicycle-powered farm-to-farm tours, seed swaps, partnerships with the Augusta County Permaculture Guild, and home-based potlucks have all become an ongoing feature of this evolving local economy that values people and place over profit.
For those interested in learning more, check out the following resources:
- Sign up for an online account with the Shenandoah Valley timebank here. When you do, we’ll add your email to our newsletter for upcoming events and activities.
- Join the online facebook timebanking groups here. This online forums allow real time postings of individual requests, offers, and current events.