– article by Jen Chien, excerpted from KALW.org
Frieda Kipar Bay is an herbalist. She teaches workshops on growing herbs for medicine. A class like this might normally cost $50-$60, but at a recent workshop at the Homestead Skillshare Festival, at Hayes Valley Farm in San Francisco, students didnâ€™t pay a dime.
The daylong gathering â€“ which included 40 different workshops, food, and live entertainment â€“ was funded with a different kind of currency: hours. These transactions are managed by the Bay Area Community Exchange Time Bank.
â€œEverybodyâ€™s hour is equal,â€ says Mira Luna, a founder and organizer of the Time Bank. â€œSo, for example, I do an hour of massage for somebody and then I get an hour credit to then get an hour of plumbing from somebody else. If I spend two hours, then I get two hours credit, and so on.â€