Society for the Local Economy of Ashhurst & Pohangina

News & Current Activities

LOAVES 3.0 coming 14 December 2020

The LOAVES community currency model will be updated following the Ashhurst Christmas Market on 14 December 2020. 

Until that time (under the LOAVES 2.0 model), LEAP has promised three cornerstone businesses that we will redeem LOAVES for New Zealand Dollars (NZD, our national currency) at any time. These businesses are Cartwheel Creamery, Edible Garden, and Riverside Orchard. Other businesses and organisations also accept LOAVES knowing they can spend LOAVES with one another and with these cornerstone businesses.

After the Christmas Market and a few final transactions, LEAP will no longer exchange LOAVES for NZD with any business. This will affect the risks and opportunities for businesses, and it will change who accepts LOAVES, how, and when. We encourage people to spend LOAVES leading up to the Christmas Market and to accept LOAVES thereafter in ways that suit their sustainable participation in this Buy Local initiative.

How is this change likely to affect LOAVES?

Going forward into 2021, LOAVES will be more likely to circulate only in the informal economy. When businesses accept LOAVES, they might do so in limited ways.

For LOAVES trade to become more active from this point forward will likely require the leadership of one or more businesses with town standing and a good trade volume who see the value of issuing LOAVES as joint gift certificates that have the potential to circulate through many businesses. If a business or community group is interested in this leadership, long-time LOAVES volunteers such as Sharon Stevens (sharon@slowfarm.co.nz) are happy to assist.

What are some of the benefits of this change?

Community currencies are one of many tools that promote a local economy. Until now, the LOAVES initiative has focused on raising awareness about the benefits of Buy Local. This awareness-raising purpose has exceeded the value of LOAVES as a trading tool, a dynamic that has been documented in other communities.

Community currencies generally start to function as an important tool for economic exchange when and where they're needed, such as in times of economic recession. They're especially helpful for places like Ashhurst and the Pohangina Valley, which are close to the primary sector and full of a skilled primary workforce, such as farmers and trades. In a recession, the local wealth of land productivity, skilled labour, and community connection remains. If additional cash flow is wanted to facilitate local trade, LOAVES can be used as a fit-for-purpose tool. By decoupling LOAVES and New Zealand Dollars, LOAVES can be used to increase cash flow without reliance on dollars.

LOAVES is becoming independent of LEAP

Please also note that LEAP is considering the possibility of a wind-up, as discussed in one of the following news stories. The change to LOAVES 3.0 will allow LOAVES to circulate independently of LEAP.

With the independence of LOAVES from the not-for-profit society LEAP, there will no longer be any formal coordination of or responsibility for LOAVES unless business leaders decide to fill that role. This allows LOAVES to operate when and if the currency is useful, and to go into abeyance at other  times.

A more independent community market

The Ashhurst Community Market has become independent of LEAP, with many businesses choosing to co-create popup markets, and with the Ashhurst Community Library taking on the coordination of the larger Christmas Market.

LEAP has been coordinating the market since 2015, and we're happy to see this development toward increased independence. We are not currently actively seeking a market coordinator or collecting stall fees at markets.

2020 AGM, and possibility of wind-up

LEAP held its AGM on Wednesday, 30 September 2020. This is later than normal, with the delay a response to COVID.

Our board:

  • Llyvonne Barber, Interim Chairperson
  • Phil Stevens, Treasurer/Secretary
  • Jo Beazer, Committee
  • Harvey Jones, Committee
  • Ian Stark, Committee
  • Anne Van-Brunt, Committee

Past board member, Chairperson, and Market Coordinator Beth Jones remains active as a contact point through the Ashhurst Community Library.

Local Business Directory: Anne is continuing to monitor the directory email address. There have been no directory requests for some time.

LOAVES: The LOAVES model is transitioning in a way that removes LEAP commitments and liabilities for the currency, allowing it to operate in a more free-standing way or through the efforts of another organisation, business group, or similar. It will take until the end of the calendar year for the transition to be complete. Sharon Stevens is coordinating the change.

Ashhurst Community Market: The community is beginning to do pop-up markets without LEAP coordination. The library (Beth and Jocelyn) are happy to coordinate the Christmas Market. Given that LEAP's Market Coordinators have resigned, the committee thought it was excellent to allow the market to operate independently of LEAP for the forseeable future. Members of the committee are prepared to keep supporting the market, for example, Ian is willing to continue to put up the market signs on the humpback bridge.

Wind-up: LEAP has become increasingly inactive; our key initiatives are on their way to independence, and our board members have other priorities with no new recruitment. It is therefore likely that LEAP will wind up in the near future. The current board intends to advertise an SGM in the new calendar year. We recognise new leadership might emerge; otherwise, it is our intent to wind up.

If a wind-up were to be agreed, there would be a need to pass on some community funds to a local charity. RECAP and the Boy Scouts have been considered as possibilities, and there may be other community organisations who could make good use of the funds. The board has discussed the value of having a good clear process in place prior to the SGM. 

Our aim is to hold an SGM well before the end of March (end of the fiscal year) so that any final bookkeeping for this year can be tidied up as well.

Other LEAP assets include the physical currency of LOAVES, some posters and signs for the market, and the business directory information and web site.

(News updated 10 October 2020)