Adirondack Bucks are now accepted by about 25 businesses in the Adirondacks.
Anna Busser thinks the key to the survival of the United States is found in small communities.
It is important, she said, for members of those communities to begin examining the goods and services available to them, and to use that dialog to advocate filling in what is missing.
Money is important, too, which is why Busser founded the Adirondack Cooperative Economy and began printing some specifically for the region.
“My father was a banker in Austria, so I got to see the power of a bank to rebuild a country,” Busser said. “I would like to see money playing a different role in this country.”
The currency, called Adirondack Bucks, is shaped like a dollar bill and has similar anti-counterfeit intricacies in its design as federal paper money, but any likeness stops there.
Most notably, there’s a picture of Warrensburg on the bill where a portrait usually is, above which it reads: “Be the change you want to see.”
Next to the townscape is a pitch to buy local and below that is a quote from Jimi Hendrix: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”
“The idea of money came out of different discussions about how we can save our towns,” Busser said. “I believe everything is interconnected with everything else. It’s a matter of waking up and being creative.”
Busser said modern communities are suffering greatly because their economies have not stayed local, which in turn has severed people’s relationships with one another.
“We have become strangers to each other,” Busser said. “The tendency is for everyone to be on their own. We’ve lost this togetherness.”
Busser said money can help recreate community by bringing local businesses and individuals together.
So far, about 25 businesses have started accepting the currency, but that’s not bad considering the money began circulating in September.
Individuals and businesses can become members of the Adirondack Cooperative Economy. Members pay $25 to join and receive $25 in Adirondack Bucks in return.
Since the Adirondack Cooperative Economy is a non-profit membership group, the membership money will go back into the community and be spent according to the wishes of the members.
“It’s really about developing self sufficient communities,” Busser said. “We have this colossal national debt, and the money doesn’t exist to pay off that debt.”
Currently, the Adirondack Buck is on par with federal currency, but that can change since alternative currency isn’t bound to the same value.
“We’ve printed this money, which is backed up by the goods and services of the members,” Busser said. “In essence, we can break away from the federal dollar at any time, but Adirondack Bucks will only work if a large amount of people in one place are using them.”
Busser is hoping that other communities catch on, and that Adirondack Bucks could someday be used throughout the region — from Glens Falls to Plattsburgh and beyond.
Florence Loden, owner of Our Simple Life Farm in Warrensburg, joined immediately after she learned about the currency.
“I like the idea for the fact that the Adirondack Bucks will keep money local,” Loden said. “People are going to look at you like you’ve got snakes coming out of your head, but it’s a community that’s trying to build for security. To me, that sounds like a good thing if the bottom falls out of everything.”
Loden’s farm is small and has draft mules, chickens, pigs and Angora goats. She and her husband also grow flax, a straw-like grass that can be harvested and processed into a linen thread, which can then be woven into cloth.
The proposal came at the end of the season for Loden and her husband, so she has not been able to accept the new money yet, but when the time does come they will accept Adirondack Bucks as partial payment on more expensive items, but cheaper things, like eggs, can be paid in full using the currency.
“I would like to see this money stay small and communal,” Loden said. “I want to see small businesses grow, and make this community really something to be proud of.”
The Adirondack Cooperative Economy will be hosting the First Adirondack Bucks Christmas Market on Thursday, Nov. 29, from 6-9 p.m. at the Free Methodist Church on River Street in Warrensburg. The event will include a potluck buffet, music and vendors. Adirondack Bucks and federal money will both be accepted.
For more information, visit adirondackbucks.com