For the last 5 years Sustainable Fairfax, in a joint project with the Fairfax Chamber and the Town of Fairfax, has been part of a consortium supporting the Fairbuck Project, a community based currency. The program has been very successful in generating thousands of dollars for community based projects such as the garden at the Women’s Club, the Bike Mosaic Bench on Bolinas Road, and Streets for People.
The Fairbuck program has been winding down over 2016. The last day for businesses to cash in any Fairbucks was July 31, 2016. The remaining reserve funds will be distributed to other community projects.
FAIRBUCK PROJECT: HOW IT STARTED
The FairBuck Project was a local exchange system employing trade tokens. The FairBuck, launched at the 2011 Fairfax Festival, supported a more vibrant local economy, encouraging residents and visitors to invest in Fairfax, and heightening awareness of how spending locally encourages the Fairfax community’s economic well-being.
The FairBuck Project was initiated by members of the Environmental Forum of Marin’s 2010 Masters Class in Sustainability, and grew into a collaborative effort that includes the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, Sustainable Fairfax, and the Fairfax Town Council. These three organizations partnered on the FairBuck Steering Committee, creating a community partnership to chart a course for long term viability of the FairBuck.
The first FairBuck token, designed by a local artist, was a 1.25″ brass token with the image of a Buck on one side and a Snail on the other.
Why the Buck and Snail? The buck is part of the Seal of Fairfax, and also stands for strength in community. The snail is a celebration of our community’s commitment to home, living a purposeful existence, and an homage to Fairfax becoming the second CittaSlow certified community in the U.S.
These tokens, which were worth $3 a piece at participating businesses, provided an opportunity for residents and visitors to invest in Fairfax by using the FairBuck to make purchases and accepting them as change. When FairBucks were accepted as change, they could only be spent at participating businesses in Fairfax, thus keeping those dollars circulating locally. When the FairBuck tokens became cherished as souvenirs or collector’s items by residents or visitors, the US Dollars they represent remained as an investment as they continued circulating within the Fairfax economy.