Cowry Collective

Cowry Collective is a community-currency network of people and organizations that exchange services, skills, and goods through a timebank.

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Address: P.O. Box 28954
St. Louis, MO 63132
Phone Number: 314-879-4105
We are a unique timebank whose name reflects the ancient practice of exchanging with currency that predates our current use of paper dollars and metal coins. Cowry shells were used as currency for centuries across the world throughout Africa and in China and continue to be used ceremonially among indigenous peoples of North America.

We offer Timebanking 101 classes and are the only active timebank in St. Louis! At our classes, you learn about the history of early trade, barter, and the history of timebanking and cowry shell use in St. Louis and across the world. The first time bank in St. Louis was established in 1981, we are continuing that legacy and building a community-currency future.

This summer, we are launching a Tool Library where members share and loan tools across neighborhoods and networks. This is a no-cost way to get tools in the hands of low-income populations. In addition, members are able to support each others' building projects. Last year, we saw an increase in collaborations facilitated by the timebank. This year, we are looking to extend that increase with our Tool Library. In the future, we want to develop programming and co-ops that stem from our Tool Library efforts. For now, we look forward to supporting residential, agricultural, and community building initiatives.
Timebanking has given me a healthier frame for thinking of value. Through timebanking, I am able to do the things I actually love to do, and see that those things are valuable to people in my community. I see that having a collective member cook me meals or help me with a project for cowry feels a lot better than heading to Qdoba or trying to do it alone. The community built through exchanges is something even billionaires can't get with US dollars.

- Tara, Cowry Collective member

quote-characterOur current economic system values the work and contribution of some people to society more than the work and contribution of other people. But the Cowry Collective values all skills and abilities equally and everyone's contribution matters even from the smallest hands.

- James, Cowry Collective member