Berkshire Food Journal encourages the use of BerkShares, a local currency.


What are BerkShares?

"BerkShares are a local currency for the Berkshire region. Dubbed a "great economic experiment" by the New York Times, BerkShares are a tool for community empowerment, enabling merchants and consumers to plant the seeds for an alternative economic future for their communities.   

… The purpose of BerkShares is to function on a local scale the same way that national currencies have functioned on a national scale—building the local economy by maximizing circulation of trade within a defined region … The currency distinguishes the local businesses that accept the currency from those that do not, building stronger relationships and a greater affinity between the business community and the citizens of a particular place.

… The people who choose to use the currency make a conscious commitment to buy local first.  They are taking personal responsibility for the health and well-being of their community by laying the foundation of a truly vibrant, thriving local economy.

BerkShares will not, and are not intended to, replace federal currency. Their use will help strengthen the regional economy, favoring locally owned enterprises, local manufacturing, and local jobs, and reducing the region's dependence on an unpredictable global economy.

… Everyone benefits from using BerkShares. Consumers benefit from receiving a 5% discount on purchases. Businesses benefit from increased patronage. Local non-profit organizations can also benefit by purchasing BerkShares at the 5% discount rate and selling them at full face value to their supporters.

… It will take citizens working in their own communities, region by region, to create the kind of systemic change that will lead to sustainable economic practices—practices that foster ecologically responsible production of goods and a more equitable distribution of wealth.  Local currencies are a tool to bring about such change.  BerkShares are about building community while building the local economy." (Excerpt from