(Tamworth Hours) - Are You Living UsuryFree Yet?
By Tom J. Kennedy
(A founder of the UsuryFree Network types about the usuryfree community currency movement in general and his experiences with the Tamworth Hours project in particular.)
In 1948, I was born in rural, eastern Ontario. I grew up in a family of ten siblings and we lived on a small mixed farm located in what is defined as a marginal farming community in Sheffield Township not far from the twin-towns of Erinsville and Tamworth. During the controversial, amalgamation movement, as engineered by the New World Order advocates earlier in this 20th century, the name Sheffield Township was shelved and replaced with Stone Mills Township.
I still love Stone Mills Township (formerly Sheffield Township) and the twin communities of Tamworth and Erinsville. However, I had been noticing a definite economic decline in Stone Mills Township during the past quarter century.
After returning from my 34-year career as an elementary school teacher, I moved back to the community in 2002. In 2004, I decided to do something about the declining economic situation in the northern end of Stone Mills Township. With the support of some like-minded thinkers, we launched the Tamworth Hours project on November 13th, 2004.
We created paper notes of a usuryfree time currency and referred to them as Tamworth Hours. Our short-term goal was to encourage local consumers to use Tamworth Hours as a complement with federal cash to negotiate trades or exchanges.
Our longer term goal was to help re-build the spirit of local community that seemed to have disappeared in the latter years of the 20th Century. To launch the Tamworth Hours project we sought counsel and support from the Family Life Foundation whose mandate authorizes it to support “community” and “family” projects or ventures.
Rev. Lindsay King, the founder of the Family Life Foundation was a well known pioneer within the usuryfree community currency movement. Some local supporters donated Canadian dollars to the Family Life Foundation and received receipts for Income Tax deductions. In turn, the Family Life Foundation funded the initial printing of the paper notes of usuryfree, time currency called Tamworth Hours.
Though the Tamworth Hours project received significant attention from the local, print media, and much relevant information was shared with the municipal politicians, it turned out to be only a “whisper from the usuryfree community currency movement.”
One wonders why the document “The Innovative Proposal” - which was hand delivered to the Reeve and each Councillor in January 2007 - did not motivate the municipal politicians to take a leadership role in promoting the Tamworth Hours project for the mutual benefit of their employees - the voters who gave them a job and pay their salary.
It appears that it was deemed unworthy of support from people who were not yet broke enough to be motivated to understand the power and potential of living usuryfree.
Eight years later, the Tamworth Hours project sleeps, but the usuryfree community currency movement continues its advance to help usher in a new age of usuryfree living as evidenced by the many articles published in Community Currency Magazine. Many people wonder why the Tamworth Hours project has not evolved to become a leading model for a successful, usuryfree time currency.
In fact, I still receive emails and telephone calls from people in cyberspace asking me for an update on the success of the Tamworth Hours project. One individual recently contacted me after she had telephoned the Stone Mills municipal office asking for information about the Tamworth Hours project. Whoever answered the telephone at the Stone Mills municipal office answered that she did not know anything about the Tamworth Hours project. Perhaps the time is right for a detailed report about the Tamworth Hours project.
In preparation for the forthcoming Eighth Annual UsuryFree Week it has been suggested that a summary of what really happened with the Tamworth Hours project be prepared to find out why it did not become as successful as the popular Ithaca Hours project which has been functioning since its launch in 1991.
Grasshopper Media has come forth and agreed to accept the challenge and prepare an audio report and a printed document. It is expected that Grasshopper Media will publish its audio report and corresponding printed document on the Tamworth Hours project either before or during the Eighth Annual UsuryFree Week scheduled from November 13th to 19th, 2012.