An ecovillage or sustainable community includes a variety of economic components.  This page provides resources on  some of those components divided into the following categories:

Banking.  Co-op banks, credit unions, local currencies, community loan funds.

Commerce and Trade.  Barter, gift exchange, local exchange trading system (LETS), Time Banks, labor credit systems, free stores, local currencies, maximize recycling of dollars within the neighborhood, village, bioregion.

Land and Housing.  Community land trusts, limited equity housing co-ops, mutual housing associations, non-speculative ownership forms, nonprofit ownership, resident control, harmonious partnerships between for-profit landlords and tenant organizations.

Livelihood.  Eco-microbusinesses, work and community owned cooperatives and small businesses.  Emphasis on recycling, education, training, health and healing,  services, arts, crafts, food growing/processing, energy, restoration/retrofitting of land and buidings.



Alternative currencies are coming of age.  Here is info on just a few of them:

Time Banking.   Find a Time Bank near your neighborhood:
Echo Park, Mar Vista, Long Beach, Pasadena, San Fernando, Long Pine, Santa Barbara, Oakland,
Other Bay Areas, San Diego,  Sonoma County. OR START YOUR OWN!
(Updated 7/4/11)


Ithaca Hours.  Ithaca Hours are a local currency. It’s money that makes the City of Ithaca NY strong by building wealth and strengthening relationships among neighbors. Since Ithaca Hours can only be spent with others who accept Ithaca Hours, their value to the community multiplies every time an Ithaca Hour is spent, because they stay right there.

Learn how to begin a local currency program where you live. Hometown Money

* Information on Ithaca HOURS is also available in Croatian, Czeck, Deutsch (German), Español (Spanish), Français (French), Hindi, Italiano (Italian), Korean, Polska (Polish), Portugues (Portuguese), Norge (Norwegian), Russian, Suomalainen (Finnish), Svensk (Swedish), Thai, Turkce (Turkish).

Berk Shares Inc.
Berk Shares is one of the oldest local paper currencies in the U.S.  Used in  the Great Barrington MA area

New Economics Institute
New Economics Institute has served as the research and development center for the BerkShares program. The Institute is a think-and-do tank working to make the new economics, one which supports people and planet, mainstream in the United States. Founded in 1980, the Institute has a long history with the theory and practice of implementing local currencies. The links below refer to specific sections on the New Economics Institute website that relate to BerkShares and Local Currencies.

Support the Institute in the development of BerkShares
Local Currency Groups & Links
Overview of Local Currency
Articles on Local Currency
Legal Aspects of Local Currency


Local exchange trading systems (LETS), also known as LETSystems, are locally initiated, democratically organised, not-for-profit community enterprises that provide a community information service and record transactions of members exchanging goods and services by using the currency of locally created LETS Credits.  More info here:


National Cooperative Bank
Specializes in loaning to coopratives of all kinds. Based in Washington D.C. and other cities.


Coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions
National network, info, resources, annual conference, public policy.


California Credit Union League
State association of credit unions.


Credit Union National Association
This is the national trade association of credit unions, the go-to organization if you want to start one. Based in Washington D.C.





National Cooperative Business Association
This is a national network of cooperative businesses of all kinds



California Center for Cooperatives
promote cooperatives as a vibrant business model to address the economic and social needs of California’s communities. CCCD fulfills this mission by:
• Educating the public, community institutions, and government agencies to foster and promote the understanding of cooperatives;
• Identifying and disseminating information about successful practices and models for cooperatives;
• Encouraging cooperation and coordination among various types of cooperatives;
• Providing technical assistance and education for the development of cooperatives to best address economic and social needs.



Fellowship for Intentional Community.
National networking organization for intentional communities. Publishes Communities Magazine, the national trade publication for intentional communities and ecovillages, and the on-line and hard copy Communities Directory.  Holds an annual gathering.  Knowing the website is like getting a PhD in intentional community.


National Community Land Trust Association
This umbrella organization supports the work of community land trusts across the United States — promoting sustainable development through the development of permanently affordable housing and the protection of working lands.  For a directory of CLTs throughout the country, see their website. Holds an annual conference.

National Association of Housing Cooperatives
This national association of housing co-ops represents, informs, perpetuates, serves, and inspires the nation’s housing cooperatives. Holds an annual conference and offers many resources to its members and the public. Based in Washington D.C.

North American Students of Cooperation


Senior Cohousing opportunity in Pasadena
Alexandria Levitt is actively pursuing a site in the South Pasadena area for a senior cohousing community. If you or someone you know is in the area and wants to help, please contact Alexandria at:  (posted 1/18/12)


posted 8/24/11
Creating Cohousing. Building Sustainable Communities by Kathryn McCamant and Charles Durrett (2011), now in its third edition.

Architects and cohousing facilitators Katie & Chuck were the originators of cohousing in the U.S. Whether you are thinking of creating cohousing or joining an existing project, as an owner or a renter, their book will be an invaluable resource for you.

Jillian Brooks
McCamant & Durrett Architects
241-B Commercial Street
Nevada City, CA 95959
T: 530.265.9980
F: 530.265.4398


O2 Treehouse
We make custom eco-friendly treehouses and often do builds in the L.A. area, but we currently live and work out of the WOOM artist collective in Oakland.  posted 5/5/11-

ALA Serving Seniors:
This nonprofit organization carefully matches seniors for roommate and housemate sharing.
posted June 2016

This nonprofit organization carefully matches single moms for house and roommate sharing.   “The CoAbode single mothers house sharing service can be a great source of relief and support”
posted June 2016

City of Los Angeles Department of Housing & Community Investment.
Find a variety of affordable housing resources from this page:
posted June 2016



U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives.
Provides support, outreach, networking, education, training for worker co-ops.  Holds annual conference.  Based in San Francisco  (415) 379-9201


Sustainable Economies Law Center
436 14th Street, Suite 1120  Oakland, CA 94612
510-649-9956  Facilitates the growth of sustainable, localized, and just economies, through education, legal research, and advocacy to support practices such as barter, cooperatives, community-supported enterprises, sharing, local currencies, ecovillages, urban agriculture, and local investing.



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