Last month, quietly and without fanfare, the Monadnock Time Exchange or MTX “unleashed” a new form of currency in our community: the currency of time. And now, as its tagline states, MTX members are sharing our talents to improve our lives – one hour at a time.
So far, MTX members have exchanged time or “hours” for:
- sumptuous, healthy home-cooked meals delivered to home or work
- transportation to train stations, airports and adventure parks
- yard and garden work
- pet sitting
- window quilts
- Reiki sessions and classes
- recycling runs
- childcare, etc.
And it’s only just getting started!
What is a time exchange and how does it work? It all comes down to, what you need and what you have to offer. A time exchange (or time bank) helps you match your needs with others’ talents, and your talents with others’ needs… and does this in a simple and fun way. You will meet new people and get to know your neighbors better by becoming a member of the Monadnock Time Exchange. Anyone can join!
“What’s fun – and powerful – about the currency of time,” says Katy Locke, MTX founder and Steering Committee Chair, “is that it re-values many essential aspects of our lives that are either not valued, or under-valued, in the moneyed economy.” She goes on to explain that MTX values all services equally – an hour is an hour regardless. “As our wise Mother of Timebanking, Teruko Mizushima, realized in 1940’s Japan, a currency based on time is very equalizing – after all, there are only 24 hours in a day.”
On March 21st of this year, MTX Steering Committee members Katy Locke and Nikki Sauber made a “pitch” to the members of Keene Unitarian Universalist Church KUUC during their month-long series on Economic Justice: “Come – be our guinea pigs!” MTX’s pilot membership instantly swelled from its original core of twelve to almost 30. In the next six months MTX counted over 60 “pilot” members. In October, these early adopters were offered a bonus for having served as “guinea pigs” and were invited to transition to formal membership by Dec. 31st.
Anyone can become a member of MTX by visiting Sign up to Join on the MTX website and following the steps. Steering Committee member and Orientation enthusiast, D’Vorah Kelley, teams up with Katy Locke to offer “Orientation Sessions” at the KUUC at 69 Washington Street. Upcoming sessions are scheduled for two Thursdays – November 13th and Dec. 4th – at 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Participants are encouraged to pre-register by calling; 603-357-2626.
“When you leave an Orientation Session,” says Kelley, “You will have all the basic skills you need to become an active member in the exchange: how to log in, list your bio and talents, search for Offers and Requests, log hours, post announcements, and join groups.” Kelley has even created a cheat-sheet handout to help folks remember the steps after they leave. “Orientations,” adds Locke, “give us a chance to share the heart and soul of what MTX is all about – as well as giving members a chance to meet.”
The BIG vision for MTX is to enhance the longterm wealth and resilience of our region. Transition organizers recognize money as only one of eight essential forms of “currency” or “capital” necessary to build longterm wealth and resilience. MTX introduces a currency which enhances the remaining seven (see below) by creating more opportunities to: build relationships; improve buildings and infrastructure; help preserve soil, living organisms, land, and ecosystems; share words, images and ideas; share embodied experience, wisdom, spiritual attainment and community.
The idea for MTX was conceived about two and a half years ago and now MTX is the result of many hearts, heads, hands, and resources. MTX uses a free membership database called Time and Talents created and maintained by Stephen Beckett of hOurworld of Portland ME. hOurworld Education Director, Linda Hogan, offers a weekend Immersion Training which was attended by six MTX Steering Committee members in September of 2013 in Providence, R.I. MTX development has been greatly enhanced by Antioch New England graduate students and staff and Monadnock community members. Funding has been generously donated by The Hemlock Charitable Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, the Antioch Center for Academic Innovation and the New England Grassroots Environment Fund.
“It feels so good to have gone LIVE,” says Locke. “I have been dreaming of this moment for so long.” In the months ahead, MTX Steering Committee members plan to host a much less-quiet, much more fanfare-rich public launch as well as ongoing thematic events to encourage members to meet each other and arrange exchanges. “I recently met someone interested in making me some soup… I love homemade soup!”