On Friday, I went to the national Permaculture Ambassadors conference in Birmingham. It is the first such event I’ve attended and from the moment I walked through the door, I was glad I’d made the effort to drive across country to my sister’s, from where she took me to the station so that I could catch the train to Birmingham New Street.
Meeting people with similar interests was my main motivation for joining the event but I also learned a thing or two from the sessions. Most significant of these was about Counter Coin, a project being started in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
You might call it an alternative currency. Unlike Bitcoin, it is not a crypto-currency but rather is real coins which are ‘paid’ for good works and then spent at participating businesses.
The example the presenter used was a person perhaps helping a neighbour and a cinema with many empty seats. The person is paid in recognition of the social good they perform; the cinema in turn gets a fuller auditorium and therefore more revenue from the half ticket (to make up the difference after the Counter Coins are handed over) and refreshments bought. The cinema can then use the coins to purchase something to support its business and so on. It is also more likely to stay open in the town.
After the presentation, the issue of our current financial system, in particular interest on loans, was briefly discussed. I can’t say I’ve got to the bottom of this but I was given the Northeast Permaculture Network’s webpage on Understanding Money to look at. There are four lectures which provide a clear and informative breakdown of what money means. I haven’t watched them in their entirety yet but if you have the time, I would recommend you give them a go.
On a completely different subject, we’d been promised a small gift to take home. This turned out to be seed balls,
which are the following seeds mixed in clay: wild garlic, yarrow, red sorrel, wild salad rocket, land cress, wild strawberries and corn flowers.
That’s quite a collection of plants for the forest garden. Wild garlic and rocket are already growing there but it would be great to have the addition of the other plants.