Pedaling for a new economy

What’s better than an economy with no money and transportation that’s (fossil) free?
Maybe just love, food, and camping out.

This past weekend,  hOUR Economy members pedaled from Staunton to Harrisonburg, completing a four day bicycle tour, farm party, campout extravaganza.

IMG_8160Beginning at Geezer Farm, we rounded up some talkative hens and spread some compost over new beds in the greenhouse. Day two, we peddled to Holly Parker and Marc Armstrong’s permaculture homestead, where we helped complete their outdoor kitchen (which also doubles as a future community canning facility and the site for their upcoming wedding).

On Saturday, we were off to Sue McKown’s to harvest vegetables and elderberries, to weed, and to assist with future garden bed prep. Our final stop was Willow Run Farm in Harrisonburg, where we harvested over 400 squash, which will make its way to the Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community.

The alternative economy fueled the full weekend, and no money exchanged hands, for either farm labor or food.  We’ll still not sure who got the better end of the bargain — the farmers whose fields were worked, or the pedalers whose stomachs were filled. But perhaps that is the magic of the gift economy. 

Many thanks for all who participated, for making such a wonderful and successful trip!

UIMG_7990pcoming September Workparty & Potluck at VSDB Urban Farm

Say goodbye to summer, play in the dirt, and snack with friends this Tuesday

September marks the last month for community workdays at the VSDB Urban Farm in Staunton, so we couldn’t help but have one last hOUR Economy workparty and potluck with them for the season. The workparty will begin at 4:00, and the potluck at 6:00. We look forward to seeing you there!

Reminder: New Software NEXT WEEK!

After Tuesday’s potluck and workparty at VSDB, a few behind-the-scenes hOUR Economy volunteers will be working to upgrade the hOUR Economy software.  The timebank will be temporarily offline Tuesday night while we make the upgrades, but should be back online Wednesday morning for all to use — with WAY more friendly software and usability.  We can’t wait to share it with you; hang tight while we make some changes!


July Potlucks, CoWorking Meet Ups, and More

Potluck in Staunton, tomorrow!

We’re excited to announce the July hOUR Economy potluck, tomorrow, Wednesday the 15th. We’ll meet at 6:00pm on Wednesday evening, at the home Maureen and David Gray, located at 547 Buttermilk Spring Rd, in Staunton, VA.

Got questions, want to invite friends, or RSVP?  See the full event listing online here.

CoWorking Meetup in Harrisonburg

Got professional skills to learn, share, or swap?  Hoping to find an hOUR Economy member to help you get that new website launched?  Just want to meet and mingle with local hOUR Economy members?

Join us for the first ever Harrisonburg hOUR Economy/CoWorking Event.

We’ll meet Thursday the 23rd from 1pm – 4pm at bluebub coworking in downtown Harrisonburg (directions and more details about bluehub are online here).  Come for all or part of this informal event with questions, ideas, and a little co-creative energy.

Change is a comin’…

And we’re excited! The Staunton/Harrisonburg hOUR Economy is almost ready to announce our Great Software Migration– in a few weeks, we will be shiftingto CW3, the latest version of timebank software. We expect it will be much easier for members to navigate, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with you!

In addition, our team is working to include exchange categories relevant to our unique community!  (We have a Valley full of gardeners, artists, and writers, for example.)  If there is a skill or talent you want to make sure is highlighted in the new skill share directory, let us know.

Stay tuned for more!  We expect to announce the new software by the end of August.

Parting Shot!

hOUR Economy members have been swapping gardening skills all summer. You can see more photos of hOUR economy gardening projects from around the Valley here, or let us know if you have a summer exchange to share. We’ll post member photos in upcoming newsletters.

March Potluck & Workparties

Staunton potlucks continue their rounds of local houses this month, and Holly Parker will be hosting us Wednesday March 18th at 6:00pm at her permaculture homestead.  

She’s located at 229 Blackberry Lane, Staunton, VA.   If you’d like directions, take Shutterlee Mill Road 2.5 miles north of the Staunton by-pass, then turn Right onto Blackberry Lane.   RSVP, invite friends, or fine more information online here.  Thank you Holly!

In HarrisonburgJosie (our usual potluck host) will be traveling this month during our usual meeting time, so we’re mixing things up for spring!

On Saturday March 21st from 2 to 4pm join Josie for an hOUR Economy springtime garden workparty. Earn hours from Josie, eat her cookies and chips, and consider signing up to host the next neighborhood work party. 

More details or RSVP online here

February Potlucks

February gatherings in Staunton & Harrisonburg

It’s hard to believe how quickly spring is rolling in.  Please join us this week in Staunton (on Tuesday) and Harrisonburg (on Wednesday) this week to welcome new faces and remember old friends.  In Harrisonburg, we’ll be reconvening at Josie Kinkade’s house with a special call for vegan dishes (although all dishes are welcome!), and in Staunton we will be at Maureen and David Gray’s home this week.  Many thanks to all for their hospitality!

You can RSVP for one or both events by clicking here!

January Potlucks, Members & News

hOUR Potlucks This Week

New members and new gatherings in 2015

The holidays saw many new members joining the hOUR Economy, and we’re excited to host potlucks in both Staunton (on Tuesday) and Harrisonburg (on Wednesday) this week to welcome new faces and remember old friends.  In Harrisonburg, we’ll be reconvening at Josie Kinkade’s house with a special call for vegan dishes (although all dishes are welcome!), and in Staunton we will be at Brydie Ragan and Joe Cloud’s home this week.  Many thanks to all for their hospitality!

You can RSVP for one or both events by clicking here!

New News & New Members

As local news about the hOUR Economy spread, we’ve seen a number of new members the past few weeks.
Here’s a snapshot of some of what they’re up to:

Service ads in Harrisonburg:

Service ads in Staunton:
We’ll highlight additional offers and requests in future newsletters, but in the meantime please feel free to check out ALL offers at requests at the hOUR Economy online timebank.Happy sharing, all!

Come play with hOUR Economy!

News volunteers sought for 2015

Help connect people and earn hours
We are looking for some help with “timeweaving.” Often people list needs in their online timebank profiles, but don’t post service ads for them, or people miss each other’s service ads. hOUR Economy is looking for someone (or several someones…) to help people find other timebank members who have the skills they need. How many hours you commit is up to you, but it would be helpful to find folks willing to do this regularly. Please email Ros if you are interested!Or, consider joining the hOUR Economy Steering Committees, which organize our events and newsletters.  EmailCourtney in Staunton or Ros in Harrisonburg to learn more.Many thanks!

October Newsletter

Potlucks in Staunton, panel discussions in H’Burg, and more

Panelists from Charlottesville, Staunton, and beyond will join hOUR Economy in Harrisonburg onTuesday October 21st to share their stories of successfully launching local timebanks in their communities.Come with your questions, grab a drink in the Ruby’s Downstairs Lounge, and enjoy the discussion.

To RSVP and for more info, click here.

Staunton’s monthly hOUR Economy potluck has been something of an institution for the past two years, but this month we’re mixing it up!  Join usTuesday at 5:30pm for a potluck plus community discussion on what it takes to build a sustainable, just, alternative local economy. Bring your ideas, perspectives, smiles, and a dish for an evening of sharing and discussion.More details and RSVP here.

Eco-swaps are our money-free gift circles where attendees can give away what they no longer need, and take what they like. Often themed (we’ve seen music, garden, clothing, tools, and other swaps!) this month’s focuses on costumes and formal wear, just in time for fall festivities!RSVP, invite friends, and learn more by clicking here!   The event begins this Saturday at 3pm!

Hot off the Presses!

Old South High gives a virtual tour of hOUR Economy

“A timebank is the kind of thing that has to be experienced, not explained,” says Ros O’Brien in Old South High’s newVirtual Tour of hOUR Economy.Check out these 5 personal stories of how hOUR Economy has worked locally, including….

  • gardening
  • health and wellness services
  • workparties
  • strategic planning sessions
  • organizing
  • household care
  • and many more!

Click hear to read the full article.

August Potlucks, Partnerships, and Press Coverage

Potlucks, just around the corner!

Our potlucks are a great chance to get to know other hOUR Economy members. Bring a dish to share, bring a friend to introduce, and come prepared for a good time! The potlucks are also a great place to bring any questions you might have about how time-banking works. Join us!

In Staunton at Virtually Sisters, 16 West Beverley. 5:30 pm on Tuesday, August 12th. Facebook event here!

In Harrisonburg, Josie Kinkade will be hosting our next potluck, at 416 East Rock Street on Tuesday Aug 26th at 6:00 pm. Checkout the facebook event to RSVP.

Welcome to New Partners

Volunteer Staunton joins the hOUR Economy family

hOUR Economy has been excited to support many community initiatives since our launch almost two years ago, with grants of hours to fund community gardening activities, downtown revitalization, and even local economy trainings.  Now, Volunteer Staunton has been awarded our latest hours grant, to help provide the time and energy for the
completion of their new volunteering website. Beyond just a list of opportunities, their goal is to “raise awareness within Staunton about all the wonderful volunteer opportunities that will truly make a difference in our local community.”  We’re excited to help support them and encourage you to check out their website as it develops.

Stay tuned…

We hear there are two more great community initiatives (one in Staunton, one in Harrisonburg) with plans to apply for hour grants to support their start-up sustainability projects.  We’ll share more in our next newsletter!

Hold the Presses!

Little Libraries & the Sharing Economy Update

If you caught our last newsletter, you know there are little sharing libraries popping up around Staunton, spurred by the efforts of local hOUR Economy members.  If you just can’t wait to hear the updates, or see where the libraries are headed, check out the latest news coverage or visit their kickstarter campaign that has already covered costs and materials.
Thanks to the great team that organized, constructed, painted, and is now installing these tiny spaces for sharing.

Parting Shot

Sharing stories from the hOUR Economy

If freshly painted walls could talk, these would tell the story of the sharing economy — of how one new member spent her first 3 hours getting help with her home renovation projects.

If you’ve been thinking about getting involved with the hOUR Economy, ourrequests page is full of ways to help others and earn hours. And you’ll find everything from live music to yoga to business counseling to doula services on our busting-at-the-seas offers page.

It’s easy to post your own offers and requests and you can always find real-time interactions on our Staunton andHarrisonburg facebook forums, where you can post questions, current projects, or photos of your recent exchanges.

hOUR Economy works because of you!

Many thanks to all our members for your caring, sharing, and story telling. If you have stories, photos, or events to include in our next newsletter, please let us know.  Until then, best wishes for a wonderful weekend!

                                                                  – from the team at hOUR Economy

Tiny Libraries, Local Economy in Tune, and Upcoming Events

What a summer of sharing! We celebrated “Make an Exchange Week” this June, and there are so many stories to share.From building and mapping little libraries, to hosting signup nights, to one-on-one exchanges, here are just some of the many highlights from around the Valley this past week:

Little Libraries & the Sharing Economy

Little libraries embody the spirit of the sharing economy – No money needed, just a lot of fun giving what you’d love to pass along, while receiving freely from the local community.hOUR Economy members Colin and Jena kicked off construction of two little libraries in Staunton, and made the newswith their volunteer led workparties.
Harrisonburg has several already in operation, so hOUR Economy member Ros decided to make them all more findable with a Little Libraries Map of the City. Now, wherever you are, there’s a shareable summer book nearby!

Local Economy in Tune

Personal exchange of services is the backbone of hOUR Economy, as one local musician found out this month. Looking for a graphic designer to help create business cards to book gigs and network with others in the music industry, Jeff found what he was looking for in the hOUR Economy. In his words:”Using the hour economy was rad!  … It’s cool to see what people in my town/community and surrounding cities are in need of.  I am still new to thehOUR economy but I look forward to weeding people’s gardens, pet-sitting, doing music lessons, etc.  All that fun stuff that helps make connections and community happen.”

Our newsletter only had room for the front image on his business card, so you can also find Jeff’s contact info here.

Parting Shot!
A report on June activities wouldn’t be complete without a big shout out and WELCOME to the many new Harrisonburg members that joined at our June Sign Up night.  So great to meet you all, and excited to see how the
Harrisonburg hOUR Economy community develops!


Potlucks and so much more around the corner this July

Our potlucks are a great chance to get to know other hOUR Economy members. Bring a dish to share, bring a friend to introduce, and come prepared for a good time! The potlucks are also a great place to bring any questions you might have about how the whole time-banking process works. Join us!

In Staunton at Virtually Sisters, 16 West Beverley. 5:30 pm on Tuesday, July 8th. Facebook event here!

In Harrisonburg, time and place TBD, but we expect to be hosting one this August. Watch the Harrisonburg Facebook member forum here for details, or contact Ros if you’d like to help organize!

Summer School!

Our partnership with Staunton Parks and Recreation to offer classes in exchange forhours is still running! If you are interested in teaching a class or two this fall, get in touch with Steven Taetzsch. His email is:

There is one class being offered this month by hOUR Economy member Anne Buzzelli:

Stress and the Brain
Stress is at the heart of every disorder. Just like rust, stress corrodes whatever container it’s in. Each person’s body responds differently to stress, whether it’s anxiety/depression, digestive problems, heart disease, autoimmunity, or weight gain. So let’s talk about how the brain reacts to stress and what we can do about it! When the brain is regulated, choices become less impulsive (especially food choices) and we can mesh with the world instead of busily react to it. Instructor: Anne Buzzelli of Buzz Nutrition, Staunton Public Library, 6pm-8pm on July 29. Price: FREE or 2 hOURS. Please let us know if you are paying in hOURS(540)332-3945. Register by: July 25

Mending Parties:

July 9 and July 21 from 6:30-8:30 at Virtually Sisters, 16 West Beverley, Staunton VA


Media for All & Clothing for Men, July 19, 3-5pm at Virtually Sisters, 16 West Beverley, Staunton VA
Kids Clothing/Back to School Swap August 9, 3-5pm at Virtually Sisters, 16 West Beverley, Staunton VA

Donate Now!

hOUR Economy is now taking donations through paypal! If you would like to give funds to help cover the costs of our timebanking software, you can do so by clicking the donate button here!

Many thanks, and best wishes for a wonderful long weekend…

                                                                  – from the team at hOUR Economy