The question came up about a year and a half ago among the advanced permaculture design students taught by Marco Lam as part of Naropa University’s environmental studies department.
How can people be encouraged to support their local economy in a collaborative effort?
Then came the idea for the Gaian, a “local currency” good at participating shops in Boulder.
As an alternative to the regular U.S. dollar, the Gaian creates a closed micro-economy of local businesses. Consumers participate by buying Gaian coins and using them at participating retailers. Business owners participate by accepting Gaians — at a discount for customers — and exchanging them with other businesses in the network. Consumers can buy $50 worth of Gaians for $45.
So far, the Gaian has been circulating within a small network of friends and business associates.
“Now, the students are researching how to best take this more public,” Lam says. “They’re educating people, reaching out to more businesses and possible partners.”
The goal is to launch the program around the beginning of the new year. For updates, stay tuned to this column, and to www.bouldercurrency.com.
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Local worm farmer Dan Moore maintains Colorado CSAs, an online directory of farms that participate in Community Supported Agriculture.
Moore says now is one of those times when many farms start offering shares for their upcoming season.
Community shareholders support local agriculture by buying produce, eggs, beef, honey, etc., in advance. Of course, they also buy into all the risks that farm operations face.
Still, the satisfaction must generally outweigh the risk, because most of these farms quickly sell out their shares and can then only offer waiting lists. So act now, if you’re interested in seeing what’s available.
Check out Colorado CSAs at www.coloradocsas.info and the Rocky Mountain Growers’ directory at www. localsustainability.net/directory/csas.
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Back in the July 29 Boulderganic column, we ran a piece about MicroStructures, the small local busi ness
turning wood salvaged from pine beetle-ravaged trees into eco-sensible little buildings.
For an indefinite time, you can check out one of those structures at Fruehauf ’s Garden & Patio Center, at 1665 33rd St. in Boulder. Check out www.microstructures.weebly.com.
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There are better ways to take care of those messy leaf piles than to bag them and send them off to landfills, where they’ll pump harmful methane into the environment.
You can use Ecocycle to look up whether your city has a curbside pickup planned or has a scheduled dropoff site for recycling your leaves: www.ecocycle.org/seasonal/leaf/index.cfm.
If those options don’t work for you, you can drop off Ma Nature’s bounty at one of Boulder County’s many centers that take yard waste. To find the closest center and what it accepts, call Boulder County Resource Conservation at 720- 564-2220 or check www.bouldercounty.org/recycling/compost/doc.htm.
Better yet, leaves are great material to start a compost pile or bin. Or just rake all that crunchy goodness off your lawn and spread it on open ground, under trees and plants, where they’ll be fed, hydrated and protected from temperature extremes. Add a layer of newspaper for weed suppression.
For more tips on composting and mulching, see the aforementioned Ecocycle link.