Kawartha Loons, a local currency, is seeing a positive response from both members and users alike since their community launch Tuesday, September 3.

The membership count has tolled to over sixty and growing with the current majority of them signing up even before the exchange was open for business. Users are reported to have been buying Kawartha Loons at the Peterborough Credit Union.

Further, in the first week itself, over two thousand dollars’ worth of Kawartha Loons have been bought and have been used by users to make purchases with.

According to Doug Wilson, a Transition Town Peterborough (TTP) Director and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Kawartha Loon Exchange, Kawartha Loons are a local currency that have been researched and developed here in Peterborough by TTP for the last five years.

They follow great local currency traditions like the Toronto dollar, the Calgary dollar, Salt Spring dollars, Berkshares in Massachusetts, and Bristol pounds in Bristol, England.

Wilson added that using a local currency as an alternative to the national currency,  promotes economic localization when small local business and farm enterprises honor the currency as if it were cash.

Although the Kawartha Loon is not considered legal tender like the Canadian dollar, they can be spent just like the dollar at participating businesses, called “member businesses.”

“Local currency serves to develop loyalty for its participating members as it makes them stand out as community minded”, Wilson commented.

He says they promote a ‘buy local’ mind set and additionally create jobs by creating a local wealth effect.

According to Wilson, the Kawartha Loon Exchange is the governing body for Kawartha Loons and is an initiative of the TTP.

The Exchange is a step in following the Transition Movement’s focus on building the local communities’ response to the triple threat of peak oil, environmental change and economic chaos.

TTP’s other initiatives include the community magazine, the Greenzine, as well as hosting public education, called Transition Skills Forum sponsored by Sustainable Trent, and celebrating and promoting local food through the Purple Onion Festival.

Talking to Arthur, Wilson affirmed that each initiative is designed to increase the public’s involvement in building a strong interconnected community.

“A strong interconnected community is a resilient community that will be better suited to weathering the triple threat stated earlier,” he said.

Meanwhile, the official launch of Kawartha Loons and the Kawartha Loon Exchange will appear during the Third Annual Purple Onion Festival on September 22 in Millennium Park.

The festival celebrates local food and provides a venue for local food vendors and chefs to promote their delicious fare.