Community Supported Financing

Martha Shaw thought of a community cheering when she designed the Deli Dollar. On May 20th, the Washington Post featured a Deli Dollar on the front page, one of four Berkshire scrips issued in cooperation with the Self Help Association for a Regional Economy (SHARE). Since then the phone at the Schumacher Center office that hosts SHARE has been ringing steadily.

Peter Jennings of ABC, NBC’s Today program, Brian Jenkins of CNN and CBS TV have all travelled to Great Barrington to film the story of Yankee ingenuity. Fund for Affordable Housing board member Barbara Herrick was drinking a cup of coffee in the Piazza Navona in Rome when she opened the International Herald Tribune to read about Berkshire Farm Preserve Notes and SHARE. Schumacher Center resource person, Shann Turnbull was flying from his home in Australia to Czechoslovakia to present a paper on regional currencies as a way to stimulate new businesses, when he read about Deli Dollars in The Economist.

The story of five small businesses issuing their own scrip as a self financing technique during a difficult time is a story of hope and positive community involvement. It has touched a chord in the hearts of readers and viewers of the national press. Office staff is busy answering requests for information on how scrip can be issued in other communities.

We are telling you of this success to thank you. It has been the dedicated support of friends over the years that has allowed us to pursue locally the vision of a community supported financing system for small businesses as one of the elements of a sustainable economy. The effort has been fruitful and is serving as a model for other regions. Your confidence in this work made it possible.

Meanwhile the Library collection continues to grow. Wendell Berry sent copies of his two beautiful new books Harlan Hubbard and Unforeseen Wilderness.  Harvey Wasserman sent Harvey Wassennan’s History of the United States and Nuclear Wars, Jeremy Rifkin sent Biosphere Politics and Marty Strange sent Family Fanning.  Our favorite regional planner, Jane Jacobs sent a collection of her essays, now out of print and much cherished by Library staff. Thanks to Dana Jackson, the Library now has a complete set of The Land Institute’s publication, The Land Report. Robert Oilman, a participant at the 1983 Schumacher seminar in Oregon, sent a full selection of In Context. The Human Economy Center and Global Educational Associates each sent complete sets of their publications. Terry Mollner prepared his collection of the works of Gandhi for the Library. Elizabeth Henderson is making a generous donation of books from the collection of Harry B. Henderson III. J. W. Smith and the Henry George School continue to add books to the Library’s collection. Janet Bunbury gathered hard to find books on the the Peckham Experiment and other related community health programs. David Saxton has made a donation so that we can fill out the collection of works by Lewis Mumford. Jean Booth Pieretti donated some of her books written by the staff of New Alchemy Institute. Our regional co-worker, Rachel Fletcher, brought over her full collection of tapes from Lindisfarne conferences.   Additional books are committed.

We are still seeking funds to complete the E. F. Schumacher Decentralist Library and Resource Facility and would welcome any help or suggestions.