When I joined TimeBank in 2011 I was asked a simple question: what can I do? The first thing that came to mind was that I can make a good home made pizza. The second question was: what do I need? Well, Dutch language tuition was high on the list.
So I thought, this Time Bank encounter is all about skills, needs and wants. In short, an economy. After years of experimenting with different exchanges, it evolved into something more.
For me Timebank is not about hours, euros or the economy. It goes much deeper than that. I believe it’s a social experiment, a way to connect to like minded people. A local time bank brings social value to the community and even helps fostering friendships.
Being part of time bank can be difficult. You certainly need a precious resource: time. Time banking is embedded in the culture of work. But with a bottom up approach. First you need to do something for somebody else. You get paid and then pay someone else for something you may need, like a haircut or help with your moving. Without money. It is idealistic and pragmatic at the same time. You basically get to do stuff you like and believe in.
You need a lot of hours to make a pizza oven. It is a labour intensive effort. Once it is built it can become a social aggregator. It takes a while to fire it up so you might as well host a party at the same time. Making your own bread or pizza is not only authentic, but also cheap. It also empowers you in reclaiming the way we consume food.
A lot of political projects start from thinking about the needs of the community. This time the belly had a say in channeling skills, energy and time. The first Pizza.cc (cc stands for community currency) will be shared hot from the oven in exchange for Time Bank hours Saturday 3rd of September at DHiT in The Hague.
I wrote this post in the hope it will inspire other people to join a local time bank with their skills and their view of the world.