If you’ve ever considered becoming a Hudson Valley Current member and then thought, “but what could I buy with an alternative local currency, anyway?” You owe it to yourself to take a look at the Digital Resilience Market.
First established in March as an economic and supply chain stabilizer for Kingston, Ulster County, and the Hudson Valley, the Market is constantly growing. It’s a cornucopia of good, fresh, local things created and offered by Current members, and we’re nothing if not a varied bunch—meats and cheeses, sauces and spices, craft vinegar and produce, honey and soap, and toilet paper. There are ingredients for your own home cooking and meal kits complete with recipe cards created by our own five-star chef, Christine Atkinson. There are staples like black beans and tofu, and delicacies like tamari roasted almonds and cacao clove-spiced fudge. There’s Democracy Coffee and Damn Good Honey.
One thing our publisher and Hudson Valley Current director Chris Hewitt wants to make clear up front: if some of the prices you see on the Marketplace website look a little higher than the ones you’d pay at a chain supermarket, (although, face it, you aren’t going to be able to compare the tamari roasted almond prices because there are none to be had at superstore for any price) it’s because the prices are a reflection of actual value.
“I get asked that on our food podcast. ‘Why are the prices so damn expensive?’ Well, our prices reflect the real cost of goods that are made with skill and care. That’s what it costs to support the spice grower or cheesemaker in your neighborhood and get them a fair reward for their efforts; it’s what happens when you have fair labor and environmental rules and farmers being able to send their kids to college. This is what happens when people don’t get subsidies or corporate welfare, in a society where the government spends five billion on people and five hundred billion on corporations.
“The thing is, what we are doing is generating omni-directional abundance. When your neighbor is fairly compensated, they can then afford to fairly compensate you. Communities can afford to function and generate actual, distributed wealth. So yeah, our vendors charge prices that will allow them to keep making good things—and our goal is for you to be in that situation too.”
To extend the abundance still farther into our fiscal ecosystem, Hewitt and the team are adopting a tactic already in use by fellow food systems activists Rolling Grocer 19 (see our March issue for more on their Hudson store). A fair pricing model is being implemented, with tiers based on income; unemployed or underemployed customers can sign up (“We’ll preserve your dignity in the process,” Hewitt notes.) and pay less, just as Satisfy Hunger food truck meals are served on a pay-what-you-can basis. Paying it forward is another key component of the Market’s functioning, with customers offered the chance to pay forward on meals and gift certificates for those in need at checkout,
Hewitt is developing the brick-and-mortar presence of the Digital Resilience Market, located at the corner of Broadway and O’Neill Street in Kingston, into a community destination that will nourish body and soul. “We are planning a launch party for July 4,” says Hewitt. “Independence is worth celebrating, after all. We’re just waiting to get the restaurant all set up.”
The restaurant/cafe, featuring the culinary magic of Chef Christine, and the bricks-and-mortar market are both being designed to be informative and enjoyable, nourishing to body and mind alike with plenty of, er, food for thought. “It will be an easy place to just come in and grab a great sandwich or dinner ingredients, and each part of the experience will have an educational aspect built in,” says Hewitt. “On the restaurant side, you’ll learn about the food system from soil and farm work to supply chain, packaging, and food waste. On the market side, you’ll be learning all about Currents, time-banking, and mutual aid. It’ll offer all kinds of conversation starters. Learning, sharing, wellness, and giving are built into the process on both sides every step of the way.”
In its current digital version, the marketplace offers (at this writing) 179 products and services. (And despite Hewitt’s feeling that the prices might need explaining, they’re really not especially different from specialty food prices generally—and you have the added satisfaction of 1) knowing your Currents stay local, and 2) supporting a larger program that is leveraging the community’s gourmet tastes to make sure everyone eats.) Along with blue agave hot sauce, champagne garlic mustard, gluten-free chewy granola bars and cage-free eggs you’ll find gloves, handsewn masks, and wellness products. (Did I mention toilet paper?)
Online ordering is simplicity itself. Once placed (two days in advance, please), your order will be reviewed, and a confirmation email will be sent out. Delivery or pick-up will be coordinated with you directly via email. Deliveries take place on Wednesdays and Fridays in Ulster County, and on Fridays in Dutchess and Columbia Counties. Pick-up orders can be collected on Wednesdays and Fridays between 11am-3pm at the Market, 628 Broadway.
All Current members are invited to offer products and services through the marketplace, making it a central cyberlocation where you can shop a selection of self- and life-enhancing programs and services. Learn permaculture; hone your small business marketing skills; get some yoga instruction; or consult with any of a variety of wellness and health practitioners. Subscribe to this magazine. (C’mon, you know you love us.)
If you haven’t yet joined the Current, it’s a quick and easy process that brings you onto the cutting edge, into the heart of a loving, smart (and hilariously modest) team that is building wealth and abundance for all here in the Hudson Valley. Do an end run around the greed-based corporate economy as it struggles and moans like a dinosaur in a tar pit, and join us at the Digital Resilience Market—and stay tuned for more news about Independence Day.