OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

The Local $

Using a unique currency for local food consumption is an excellent way to connect people to what they are buying but incentives are needed for motivation. Building a second, online community around the unique currency, 'The Local $' would really boost purchases of local foods.

Photo of Louise Wilson

Written by

I was about to add this concept when I read the 'redefining currency' concept which has created a brilliant build for this one! 

Australia needs a local currency which provides incentives for buying local produce.  The idea is based on the Brixton Pound (, a currency created in an area of London to encourage local spending.  Certain shops accept the currency and in return you receive discounts for using it.

There have been a large number of current concepts that have inspired this concept; 10% for Queensland: creating a movement around local foods, Local food loyalty cards: an incentive program which rewards people, Locally grown logo; creating a brand for local foods, I heart eating local food campaign; campaign to encourage eating locally, Bus+Food points: a card for encouraging local activities, Coupons for real food: receiving incentives around local food, Subsidies and the True Cost of Food, The Market meal card: creating a payment system, Local Rewards and Localities Network: loyalty schemes, Beneficial points: adding benefits to local food purchasing, Using taxes to promote local food - there are some fantastic commonalities here: CAMPAIGNS, INCENTIVES, LOYALTY SCHEMES, which is where I'm coming from.

1. The Local $ would provide a discount on the local foods purchased in any shop that accepts it.
2. The Local $ will encourage people not using the currency to question why there is such a thing and hopefully learn the necessity of helping local producers.
3. Local producers can feature on the currency to help build their profile.
4. Campaigns can be introduced as posters, bus sides, flyers, shopping bags to promote the opportunities of joining the currency.
5. A website (inspired by Nike+ running website where you can track the distances you've run and see how much training you need to do to reach goals etc) can be set up to support the currency
- feature the producers and shops using/promoting the currency
- details of any special offers
- users can create a profile and see how much money they have saved (may need a number printed on the till receipt which is put into the website)

~ Opportunities ~
The more the currency is used, the more local foods will be bought. Including a discount on the food will boost sales and raise awareness.
If the producers also use it to sell to the shops, a strong connection will be created between the local and urban.
A supporting website (app?) means that there are plenty of advertising and marketing opportunities for all parties.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Arjan Tupan

Great concept. I love the idea of this.

Photo of DeletedUser


Hi Louise,

When I read your idea, I remembered something that I want to share in case it's helpful! In Fremont, California (I'm in the U.S.), some schools give elementary school students "book bucks" if they do well on a homework assignment or in their classes. The "book bucks" are essentially coupons that can be spent in local stores that accept them, i.e., whichever stores the school has a deal with. I know about this because I was conducting college interviews recently for my alma mater and met a young high school senior who was passionate about taekwondo. I asked him how he had gotten into it and he told me about the "book bucks" -- he had won some while he was in school and decided to go spend them at this local business... and, after one lesson, he fell in love with taekwondo and stuck to it for the rest of his life.

I'm not exactly sure why this story popped into my head when I read your idea, but perhaps there's something here to explore... for instance: kids love fake currency and are really impacted by the experiences they have when they are young, so perhaps getting schools to promote the currency (e.g., hand it out as prizes) would be a useful way to increase the currency's impact!

View all comments