Six years ago a group formed to discuss the idea of a local currency. There were four, sometimes five, of us. We’d get together at local cafes and sometimes at each other’s homes. We were united in our passion for what became a shared vision—a Hudson Valley currency. We readily spent our time learning, investigating, and working toward this vision, testing models and vetting ideas.
This informal but steady group met year after year, occasionally bringing in guests or tabling at events—we even hosted a large film and discussion event at the Rosendale Theatre. Basically we were busily educating each other and the community. In doing this work, we discovered there was a lot of excitement around this concept. Some people liked the idea of having a local system of exchange as a stable form of local economic sustainability; some liked that they could exchange surplus goods and services in exchange for things they need and want through a system that doesn’t require US dollars; and many people are simply fascinated with alternative currencies. Well, that seed of an idea, shared among a few people with a similar interest six years ago began growing into something tangible.
Four years ago, at a similar time as that currency group first came together, Country Wisdom News was born. I started publishing and following my creative instincts to serve our community with information that supports self-sustainability and a thriving local economy. I began working with some amazing local writers, photographers and designers, publishing about local economy, transition movements, and food security (among other topics). It was natural that some of my writing team came from the amazing group of people with passion and knowledge about the currency. Two of the currency visionaries, David McCarthy and Maria Reidlebach became core writers for Country Wisdom News.
As it happens in life, these two initiatives—the currency and the newspaper—have grown and are now continuing to mature. I am fortunate to be able to do what I love and work on both of these projects, as publisher of Country Wisdom News and now as executive director of Hudson Valley Current Inc.—a new nonprofit organization with the mission of supporting and creating vibrant, abundant local communities, in part through a local currency. Maria and David join me in this nonprofit as founders and board members.
You can look forward to hearing much more about the Current and its nonprofit educational and charitable focus in the new Livelihood section of Country Wisdom News that will be launched in May. The section will be owned and created by the Hudson Valley Current, with all income going directly to the nonprofit organization.