It’s been a while, but times have changed, and software has changed, and Catskills Time may be due for a revival. If you’ve stumbled upon this site and are interested, please send a note to info [at] catskillstime.org and we’ll be sure to keep you posted about a re-launch.
Yours, in time —
After a slow three months, there has been some renewed interest in time banking here in our neck of the Catskills, and some technical improvements are in store for the website. Here’s what you can look out for in for December-January:
— a new physical “barter board” for posting offers and requests for the time bank and/or straight barter, at Table on Ten in Bloomville (if you haven’t been there yet, you should go! and the website was paid for completely with barter+timebank hours)
— a potluck at Table on Ten in January (date TBA)
We will keep you posted here — sign up for the mailing list to receive automatic updates.
See you soon!
This Sunday, March 25, we’ll have our third time bank potluck + info session, and this time it will be followed by an hourlong sign-up and tech support session. If you came to the last potluck but had a hard time with the computer interface, come on Sunday and we can get you started and demonstrate how to use the website.
If you’re just curious about time banking, please come to learn about how it works and to meet members and other prospective members of Catskills Time.
And if you’re already a member, come welcome new people to the fold. Bring a dish if you can. Hope to see you there!
The potluck is from 4:00-6:00, followed by the tech session from 6:00-7:00.
Location: Russell’s General Store on Main Street in Bovina. (For a map, click on the event listing to your right.)
See you Sunday!
Today, Catskills Time is participating on a panel about alternative banking models as part of leftforum in New York City.
There are a ton of great panels at this gathering (read about them here).
Here’s leftforum’s description of our event:
“There are many reasons to start your own bank. We ask this conversation remain practical, explaining what mutual banks, co-operative banks, public banks, land banks, time banks, peer-to-peer banks and all these other banking models are, why you may want to join one, or start your own. Moderated by Chris Lindstrom with farmer Tianna Kennedy (of Catskills Time), artists Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle (of E-Flux Time/Bank), Mike Krauss and Kristen Ragusin (of the Public Banking Institute), and Elizabeth Friedrich (of the Occupy Bank Working Group). — “The only true method of organizing the alternative world of Mutuality is thru voluntary non-state free institutions such as co-ops, mutual banking & insurance … sustainable economic ventures (i.e. non-capitalist businesses) like independent farms and craft ateliers willing to federate with the commons…” – Peter Lamborn Wilson, “Occupy Wall Street, Act Two” — “The ideal [Occupy] bank would be democratically owned and controlled by its customers and employees. Like many credit unions, all depositors would get an equal say, regardless of the size of their accounts. It would be non-profit, building in a competitive advantage over the for-profit banks … Any small-scale bank we establish say in New York would have be to be replicable by others elsewhere.” – Carne Ross (Occupy Bank)”
Bovina’s own Russell’s General Store (the oldest continuously operating general store in Delaware County) has offered to host our next potluck / orientation on March 25th from 4:00 to 7:00 — see details under EVENTS.
In the meantime, we will be setting up some tech-support sessions for anyone who has had problems using the software. Prospective new members can contact us for an appointment during these sessions as well. Stay tuned for dates, times, and location.
In other news, we’ll be participating in a panel on time banking and alternative economies at Leftforum in the city — the schedule of talks, panels and workshops is incredible, and we are excited to be a part of it. The panel we’ll be on is called “The Mutual / Alt Banking Sector” and will include panelists from Slow Money and eflux, as well as representatives from the OWS Alt Banking group.
I’ve got a Google Alert set up for “time bank,” and judging from the near-daily results (even without the local-news stories about bank heists), there is a gathering momentum for time banking that shows no sign of letting up. We have been invited to panels and conferences, asked for interviews, and had our advice solicited by people hoping to start their own time banks. And we’ve only been around a couple of months.
Today, we have 50 members. Exchanges have been made—from fixing jewelry to sewing curtains to building roofs to advising farmers—but activity isn’t exactly hopping. Last week, we joined (via video chat) a conference in Brooklyn about alternative economies, which included representatives from several New York City time banks. Much of interest was discussed, but two things in particular seemed worth sharing here:
— The time banks that have survived decades do so because the members understand that it’s not about the accounting. Carrying debt in a time bank isn’t irresponsible—it’s a way of participating, and it’s actually encouraged.
— The time banking software is meant to be an aid to communication between members, but it can be cumbersome. The point is to communicate in whatever way is easiest, and time banks that succeed encourage multiple forms of communication (we’ve got some ideas about how to improve this in CT and will be sending out a missive to members shortly).
— Time banking is not in conflict with (or trying to substitute for) any other kind of friendly barter or mutual aid. It’s a supplement to those practices, and its greatest benefit is that it provides access to people you don’t already know. Yes, time banking can be a great way to compensate a friend for a big favor you would otherwise feel uncomfortable accepting, but it’s also a way to request help from someone with whom you don’t already have that kind of mutual-aid relationship. So don’t think of time banking as a replacement for exchanges that are already working in your life. Think of it as a way to vastly widen your options for labor exchange.
If Catskills Time ends up becoming obsolete because all the members find ways to get their needs met through less-formal barter and labor-swapping, great! It will have done its job in creating a community that supports itself. For now, and until we’ve achieved that utopian goal, time banking can help facilitate the forming of those bonds.
We’re close to scheduling February’s Potluck—stay tuned until then!
Great big thanks to Denise and Tom Warren from Stone and Thistle Farm for hosting yesterday’s potluck/info session! And thanks to everyone who showed up bearing all that great food.
Despite the freezing temps and an ill-timed power outage (mitigated by a roaring fire and lots of passive solar heat streaming through the windows), we had a healthy turnout, including 25 potential new members.
Please continue to spread the word! We’ll have another potluck next month.
After a basic explanation of how time banking works, there were questions, some of which we could answer and some of which are going to require further research.
Among those we could answer were:
Q. Once I’ve posted an OFFER or REQUEST, do I have to keep checking the site in order to see if someone’s responded, or is there an email alert system.
A. When you set up your profile, sign up for email alerts, and all responses to your postings, as well as OFFERS and REQUESTS that are relevant to your selected categories, will automatically come to your email box.
Q. The main interface is on the website, but what if I don’t use the internet much? Can I still participate?
A. Yes! Ask someone to help you sign up (one of the CT admins can do this, or another member). When you set up your profile, include your phone number and mention that you prefer to be contacted by phone. When you post your listings for OFFERS or REQUESTS (which you will need to do online, though you can also ask an administrator to do it for you), specify that you wish to be contacted by phone, and include your number. That way, when another member is ready to take you up on your offer or request, you’ll be called on the phone instead of receiving an email alert.
Q. Catskills Time members are allowed to go 25 hours into debt. What happens if I agree to do work for someone, but he or she is too in debt to pay me for it?
A. When you accept a “bid” from another member (the equivalent of “hiring” someone for a job), you will see his or her balance and if it’s close to -25, you may want to bring up the subject. If you do get into a situation where somebody can’t pay you for the work you have done, contact an administrator and we can issue the hours to you ourselves.
Many of the other questions that came up are already listed on our F.A.Q. page.
There were some trickier questions, as well. We will follow up on these as we find out more:
Q. What about liability? If someone is doing a job for me and she slips and falls, can she sue me?
A. The best way we can respond to this is to say that this is a good-faith community and we hope that we will treat each other as friends and use good judgment when taking on a potentially risky task. In the eyes of the government, Time Banking is equivalent to charity work or volunteer service. So whatever behaviors pertain to working with a volunteer would also pertain to this. We will look into this further, but all we can say is that the issue of lawsuits has not prevented dozens of time banks across the country from happily functioning for decades.
Q. I am a licensed nurse. I’d like to participate in the time bank, but I’m not sure what my liability would be.
A. Many time banks are focused specifically on health and wellness, including hospice care and wellness visits. We will follow up on this question, which is very important since healthcare professionals are extremely valuable members of a time bank. The New York Times has been covering healthcare-related time banks recently, one focusing on New York City and one about a time bank in Vermont.
We’ll keep answering your questions and posting new ones to the F.A.Q. page. In the meantime, welcome new members!
A Catksills Time member assists with construction of the Kortright Creamery
Happy New Year, everyone! The 45-degree temps are weird, and the early economic projections for 2012 are less than stellar, but time banking can weather it all. Come to the January 15th orientation potluck to learn more…
And in the meantime, we’d like to extend a giant thank-you to graphic designer extraordinaire and Catskills Time member David Rainbird for our new logo and banner image (paid in Catskill Hours, of course).