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That’s So Money: Brixton, UK Creates Its Own Currency, Local Economy
August 27, 2012
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Imagine you're designing your own paper money. You could put anyone on the bills - who would go with?

Well in the London district of Brixton, the locals have started their own currency (the Brixton Pound), and they took the opportunity to pay homage to the Thin White Duke, David Bowie. Their ten-pound note features Aladdin Sane-era Bowie:

brixton-money-bowie-feature.jpg

But there's a lot more to Brixton's new alternative economy than stylish cash: the idea, according to Al-Jazeera, is to create a new economic system "that values people and planet, as well as profit."

Officials say they're trying to stimulate the local economy and make it more resilient to national or global financial problems. The Brixton Pound can only be spent at local businesses. About 200 of them currently accept it. And shopkeepers can only buy from local suppliers.

The idea is to produce food and other goods in the community, such as Brixton Pound Sauce. It's made from local ingredients and only sold at shops that accept the currency.

Check out this video from Al-Jazeera to find out more about what Brixton is up to:

Organizers say a local currency can also help fight climate change because it encourages people to produce food and energy locally, and use resources more efficiently. The Brixton Pound was spearheaded by Transition Town Brixton, a group working to raise awareness about the challenges of climate change and encourage "a more localized, hands-on, cooperative future."

Along with the money, the community has started to generate its own electricity through the UK's first inner-city renewable energy co-operative. Brixton Energy has installed 152 solar panels on the roof of a council estate, with funding from over 100 local people. The project is called Brixton Energy Solar 1, and it was completed in March. Check out an image below:

brixton-solar-panels-feature.jpg

And local food production is in full swing as well, with over 80 community-owned food
gardens including a number of "edible bus stops." The gardens produce fresh fruit and vegetables, and serve as meeting places for locals. The edible bus stops, meanwhile, have their own Twitter handle: @EdibleBusStop.

The idea of bypassing the banks isn't unique to Brixton, though. Another Brit, straight-talking car salesman Dave Fishwick, decided to open his own bank in the town of Burnley. He told his story in a book and a television documentary, both called 'Bank of Dave.'

Check out the book's trailer below. It's pretty cool.

Related stories on Strombo.com:

ASK AN EXPERT: Joel Salatin on Sustainable Food

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