Sergio Lub is walking me through the stockroom of his jewelry company’s headquarters in Martinez. All around the room, precious metal bracelets and rings nestle in cardboard boxes with labels like “Mardi Gras” and “Sage Bundle.”
Lub’s been making and designing jewelry for over 30 years, but I’m not here to talk with him about that. I’m here to learn about something else he’s been experimenting with for just as long – alternative economies, or as he puts it: “trying to find different forms of this human invention we call money.”
Frieda Kipar Bay is an herbalist. She teaches workshops on growing herbs for medicine. A class like this might normally cost $50-$60, but at a recent workshop at the Homestead Skillshare Festival, at Hayes Valley Farm in San Francisco, students didn’t pay a dime.
The daylong gathering – which included 40 different workshops, food, and live entertainment – was funded with a different kind of currency: hours. These transactions are managed by the Bay Area Community Exchange Time Bank.