LFS Financial Models Organized Inquiry

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I am about ready to start a perhaps 2 month process to create an http://www.communitywiki.org/OrganizedInquiry around useful, self-sustaining financial models for Local Food Systems, and local economies in general. I plan on connecting this to several online and offline communities that are exploring or implenting ideas related to the economics of local economies.

 Before I do this, it would be really beneficial to have some feedback on the questions being asked.


Right now I am looking at the following questions:


  • What are the existing legal affordances for creating credit unions, and for credit unions supporting "alternative" or LETS based currencies? In the US, can a credit union legally convert LETS -based currencies to government issue currency?
  • Also related to the above, what are some of the services that people focused on local foods might need, that could be offered by a credit union, that are not already available from banks, and existing credit unions? Internet/electronic payment support? Peer to peer lending infrastructure support? Help with management of resource pooling?
  • What are the existing legal/regulation affordances for investment by individuals into local established and starting businesses?

Beyond those questions, what else would "we" like to know about financial self sufficiency in local food systems? Please feel free to respond here, and I will be sure to incorporate your feedback into the questions that I pose to different networks. 

I will be posting links to all of the answers people give, and summarizing them here on this site.  Thanks!

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