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Mendo Moola

During the Great Depression, more than 5,000 local currencies helped keep Americans alive. Over the past two decades, over 2,500 local currencies have sprung up. Mendo Moola is a local, self help, complementary currency that stays home with us here in Mendocino County, issued by individual, locally-owned farms and businesses, and circulated only within Mendocino County. It is accepted in payment, and returned as change by participating, locally-owned farms and businesses, and can be used to purchase products or services. The first local business to issue its own Mendo Moola currency is Mulligan Books in downtown Ukiah using $5 wooden coins as change for purchases, and gift certificates. greenbucksThe Ukiah Farmers Market began issuing its own currency, Green Bucks, in $2 wooden coins in 2008 backed by locally-grown food. In March of 2009, the Willits localization group began issuing a paper currency, Mendo Credits, 100% backed by specific quantities of grains and beans. Mendo credits are backed by a tangible asset, that is Mendo Credits which are backed by reserves of stored food. By using Mendo Moola in trade, we are using money that never leaves our community as it does when using U. S. Dollars and credit cards, thus facilitating additional exchanges in our local economy. The more it changes hands and the faster it circulates, the more local jobs, local businesses, and common wealth are created. $10 in Mendo Moola that changes hands 10 times in a month, is worth $100 in goods and services to the local economy. That’s money being smart! These are the first steps taken by locally-owned businesses that hopefully lead to producing our own paper money. We all think about money in narrow terms. We believe that money is something our national government controls, and determines what we can use as money. The truth is money is anything that people agree to use as a means of exchange. When accepting Mendo Moola we make it become real money in our community. Mendo Moola is not intended to replace our national currency, Federal Reserve Notes, and is not alternative money, but is rather complementary that stays in our community, rather than leaving it. Mendo Moola Proposed Rules:
  1. Mendo Moola is a Local Currency  which can be issued by any business, farm, or service organization. Initially, it is being issued in wooden coins and paper merchants with a store front that stocks inventory. It is then backed by the full faith and credit of the merchant’s inventory and cash flow, and by the health of the community trade.
  2. Mendo Moola is guaranteed by the issuing merchant to always be redeemed for regular money upon request by either customers or other businesses, although using Mendo Moola to purchase products is preferred.
  3. Mendo Moola will only be issued by the issuing merchant into circulation as change, direct exchange for cash (not sold), or as a” gift certificates”.
  4. Mendo Moola will be initially issued into circulation by being “spent by the issuing merchant for products or services, i.e., merchants will not use their own stored currency to purchase products themselves to introduce it into circulation. Rather, it will only be put into circulation by Rule 3. Rules 3 and 4 are to protect local currencies from inflating. Mendo Moola accepted in payment can be used for any purpose once it has come back to the issuing merchant.
  5. When accepted as payment, Mendo Moola will be treated as cash in payment of a taxable or product or service.
  6. Merchants may treat their own branded Mendo Moola on their books as Gift Certificates. Production of local currencies, may be expensed as an Advertising Expense. Check with a CPA on these issues.
The purpose of community currency is to function on a local scale the same way national currencies have functioned on a national scale – building the local economy by maximizing circulation of trade within a defined region. Widely used in the early 1900′s and again in the 1930′s local currencies are once again being recognized as a tool for sustainable economic development, and in use by various communities all over the world.
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