-Anne Finlay-Stewart

No cash? No problem!

It sounds like a slogan yelled out in a bad TV ad at 2 a.m , but it may be the shortest way to describe a Local Exchange and Trading System (LETS). A variation on traditional barter, the system promotes community and co-operation by broadening access to the skills and resources within a local region.

The Bluewater Trading Community (BTC) is an innovative LETS system in our area. Inspired by the experience of the Saugeen Trading Community and now more than 1500 similar systems around the globe, the Bluewater Trading Community has been test-driven and is ready to let the community get behind the wheel.
So here is what you need to know.

The Bluewater Trading Community is meant to be just that – a community of real people exchanging what they have for what they need in the spirit of co-operation and celebration. It already happens every day here, the system just allows allows members the flexibility of earning credits in one trade and spending them in another. All the goods and services on offer and wanted are listed on the community website, and that is where the transactions are recorded - in BlueBucks – the local equivalent of one Canadian dollar.
A real-life example. Candice and Harley run Ironwood Wood-fire Roasted Coffee. You buy a pound of dark roast Guatemalan and your account is debited, and their account is credited. Now you are caffeinated and ready to play, so you buy a hand-made crokinole board from Bernie Range. Same deal – his BlueBucks account goes up, your goes down. Next week some member wants to buy your widget or use your service and you are back in the "blue".
The more members there are, and the more diverse they are in their offerings, the more often community members can turn to their neighbours to meet their needs and earn their livelihood.
So, what might you have to add to the mix? If you already own a business, it is easy to add your goods and services to the site and encourage your local suppliers to do the same. For the rest of us, some creativity may be required. Look at where your own supply is surplus to your need. An excess of tomatoes or crabapples, an extension ladder that is only used twice a year, spare storage space in your garage. Do you have some knowledge to share – how to quilt, create a spreadsheet, or prepare a garden for winter? Do you have brute strength – to help with a move, rip up carpet or dig a hole? Do you make more of your hobby craft than your home (or partner) can handle? The BTC will post "Wants" on their site – maybe someone else's need will give you inspiration.

If you haven't already, you can sign up today and start trading almost immediately because only BlueBucks will be accepted. No cash? No problem!





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