March 1 saw the launch of the third issue of the Findhorn Foundation community’s currency, the Eko. The Eko is one of a growing number of community currencies around the world whose core aim is to promote local trading by stopping money from leaking out of our local economies. They are, in the words of community currency pioneer, Paul Glover, “‘untravellers’ cheques’ in that they don’t come to town, shake a few hands and then wander out across the globe. They reinforce trading locally.”
The Ekos also perform several other functions. They provide a source of low-interest loans for community projects: the £18,000 mobilised by this third issue will be loaned to the Findhorn Wind Park for the installation of the new windmills and to an affordable housing project. It is also estimated that by using the Ekos to pay their bills with each other, community businesses save over £1,000 per annum in bank charges. Finally, there is always a gap between Ekos that are bought and those that are traded back in at the end of the issue, leaving the issuing agent, Ekopia, with a surplus. This will be used to fund some project or initiative for the benefit of the community. Let’s use them and share our wealth around!