You can meet your needs on LETS

Sherry Martell
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TATAMAGOUCHE - Identifying local products and skills with the potential to reduce reliance on the global economy is key to tackling an overwhelming issue like climate change.
Camille Dumond, spokeswoman for the North Shore Local Economic Trading System (LETS), said the program encourages buying from local businesses and social networking, while reducing the demand for products or services that are shipped into the community from great distances.
"We found the biggest thing about it is you can meet your needs on the LETS," she said.
The program gives people access to a variety of food products, skilled trades people, household items, furniture, clothing and other needs without exchanging monetary funds.
The LETS program was launched in May of 2005 with 20 members and has grown during the past five years to include 52 members from Pictou to Pugwash and many communities in between.
During the past four-and-a-half-years, members have traded more than $90,000 in goods and services.
"I think it builds on what goes on in rural communities anyway, we trade things," said Wayne Edgar, who was among the first people to join the program.
He said the program provides a modest benefit to market his locally-grown blueberries and vegetables in season and gives him the opportunity to trade with other local businesses such as purchasing flowers, having a bicycle repaired or dining out.
Once a member joins they are given a $500 LETS credit, equivalent to $500 in Canadian currency, that is exchanged by cheques to pay for goods or services from other members.
An accountant tracks account activity and issues monthly statements and a volunteer committee oversees the program's operation.
"When you earn something it's like a promise to give back," said program administrator Michael Barton.
Members can chose which products and services to trade and the percentage of LETS dollars they are willing to receive.
Barton said he believes the system has advantages for businesses to increase their cash flow in these tough economic times.
The program welcomes new members to increase the diversity of products and services offered.
"We value everyone's strengths and we believe everyone has something to offer in the local community and we are willing to work with them to figure it out," said Dumond.
For more information about the program contact Barton or Dumond at 956-4401 or e-mail camille.michael@xplornet.com.

smartell@trurodaily.com



Organizations: North Shore Local Economic Trading System

Geographic location: Pictou, Pugwash

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