Sunday, October 12, 2014

No. 56 – July 25, 2013 - A Vietnamese Lunch on Bridge Street and Time Banking for Ashtabula

by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster

The Vietnamese Beef Grill with noodles came with a salad, alive with flavor. I added hot sauce to my noodles. My son, Arthur, dined on appetizers. The owner of Pho Saigon used his mother's recipes. Good move. A lunch and dinner menu are now being planned.

Rebecca Monda, who teaches our Pilates class at the Wellness Center, mentioned the existence of a Vietnamese restaurant on Bridge Street. Naturally, we had to try it immediately, and we were glad we did.

Local restaurants, owned and operated by locally, are good to see. Establishing them reverses the trend toward franchises, which take money out of the area.

Keeping our energies, and income, local has been a real problem in Ashtabula, and around the country. Ashtabula experienced the depletion caused by outsourcing jobs from the 1960s on.

Tools which relocalize exist, and are beginning to be used both in Ashtabula and elsewhere around the country.

Ashtabula now has its own Time Bank, thanks to St. Peter's Episcopal Church. By providing a Time Bank through their website, St. Peter's and the My Neighborhood group, which has been working on promoting local cooperation, are following a well-tread path which has proven useful to many around the world.

Over 600 areas in the United States and Great Britain and 34 nations around the world have started various versions of a time hour system. The reasons include encouraging exchange between people, resisting inflation, facilitating trade, and building a cooperative community.

A long step up from barter, participants can trade skills they have for the skills of others, producing exchanges which decrease the dependence on money and expand the circle of people you know.
Since the first modern Time Bank, Ithaca Hours, began in 1991, the number of Time Banks has steadily increased as confidence in the dollar continues to wane. Ithaca Hours can also be used for professional services, such as dental care, in many instances.

It was not the first time Americans have been moved by a need to establish alternatives to the dollar. Local currencies proliferated in America during the great depression, fell into disuse after the end of World War II, and today are back and growing more numerous.

Trade catering for gardening, having a dress made, or your bathroom renovated. Visit the Ashtabula Time Banking link on the St. Peter's website. Maybe before long Time Hours will be accepted at your local restaurant.

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