Holidays in JP: Local currency to fuel holiday shopping

(Courtesy Photo) The “Boston Bean” local currency.

The Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition (JP NET) will offer $1,000 in “local currency” this holiday season to encourage spending in local businesses.

Local currency is make-believe money—like Disney Dollars or Monopoly money—that is backed by real money but only accepted in certain areas. “Boston Beans” will only be accepted in Jamaica Plain.

The 200 “Boston Beans” notes, each worth $5, will only be accepted at select JP businesses through Jan. 31. JP NET will back them through a $1,000 donation by an unnamed funder.

“We’re doing this because we really want to encourage local shopping,” JP NET member Dakota Butterfield said.

Beans will be distributed Dec. 3 at the Monument tree-lighting at the intersection of Centre and South streets and Dec. 10 at Egleston Square’s holiday event and tree-lighting at the Egleston Square Peace Garden, 3133 Washington St.

The bills will be honored at businesses that display a “Shop Local” sticker pictured on the blue bill. The bill also features an image of the Jamaica Pond Boathouse and a circle of hands.

In February, business owners will return to JP NET and cash in Bean notes for legal tender.

“We want to do this in a way that’s really business-friendly,” Butterfield said.

Butterfield also said that they’re not worried about counterfeiters. Aside from the special paper that local Red Sun Press will use, the bills will be hand-numbered.

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