Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the mission statement of
To be a marketplace for sustainable, locally produced goods and
services, with the objective of creating sustainable local
Is LocalMart operational yet?
No - It is in a testing phase and we welcome interested
prospective members to participate in testing and evaluating the
features of LocalMart.
How does LocalMart work?
Here is an example of how LocalMart works. LocalMart.net sets
up an online marketplace for a community - an affiliate of
LocalMart called www.LocalMart-YourTown.com (e.g. LocalMart-Lamorinda.com).
Individuals in that community, after joining the affiliate, and
with LocalMart's assistance, start new sustainable businesses.
Suppose that individual A starts a vegetarian, organic food
restaurant. B is a local organic farmer. These individuals
join the www.LocalMart-YourTown.com affiliate and using PayPal,
get started by buying MartMoney with dollars. They each receive
a MartCard which they can use to conduct LocalMart transactions,
much like a debit card. (Members can also redeem MartMoney back
into local currency or check account balances by accessing the
LocalMart website.) B frequently dines at A's restaurant and A
purchases B's organic produce, and all transactions use
MartMoney, with the advantage of no transaction fees, no checks,
and no debit cards or credit cards. Members who maintain a
positive or break-even "balance of trade" (e.g. sales =
purchases) can transact in MartMoney indefinitely, without
transaction fees and without having to revert back to local
currency. As the list of LocalMart sustainable businesses grow,
local self sufficiency and sustainability are enhanced. Members
may also transact business with members at another LocalMart
affiliate such as www.LocalMart-NextTown.com, or
www.LocalMart-FarAwayTown.com, all using their MartMoney, but
the emphasis is on local commerce. LocalMart affiliates can be
started in thousands of communities all over the world.
LocalMart's website uses a social networking platform (like
Facebook, MySpace), so personalization and communication and
support among members are greatly enhanced. LocalMart will
enable more meaningful jobs, less commuting, less migration to
cities, more control over one's employment and economic destiny,
and stronger community bonds, while enhancing local self
sufficiency and sustainability. MartMoney represents a claim on
useful, locally produced sustainable goods and services with the
resulting benefit of insulation from external financial
disruptions that can cause inflation, recession and
unemployment. MartMoney could even become a more secure store
of value than the local currency in many parts of the world,
while enhancing worldwide economic stabilization.
What is the purpose of using MartMoney? Why not just use the
Since MartMoney is
the only means of payment on LocalMart, it encourages members to
purchase locally produced, sustainable goods and services from
other LocalMart providers. Using MartMoney is also a less
costly means of transacting business. Internet transactions and
a significant portion of non internet transactions typically use
payment methods such as debit or credit cards or Paypal in which
the merchant must pay a transaction fee. LocalMart transactions
use MartMoney, and there are no transaction fees. So for
example, if a merchant pays a 2% fee on credit card transactions
and makes a net profit after all expenses of 5% on those
transactions, the use of MartMoney saves that 2% and the net
profit increases to 7%, or a 40% increase to the bottom line.
Now, when MartMoney is converted to or from local currency using
PayPal, there are fees, but for a consumer/provider who
maintains a positive or break-even "balance of trade" (e.g.
sales = purchases), the conversion to or from local currency
would never be necessary.
not issued by a central bank which can issue unlimited amounts
of currency, thereby debasing it and causing inflation and a
loss of purchasing power and personal savings. MartMoney
represents a claim on useful, needed, sustainable local goods
and services, insulated from (but also convertible to, if
desired) the local currency.
How is LocalMart structured?
LocalMart (www.localmart.net) is the organization which sets up
and administers LocalMart affiliates which are local,
independent LocalMart groups with their own websites. If a
person or group wants to start a LocalMart affiliate in their
community, there is a simple application process, and following
LocalMart approval, setup of the website and training of a local
administrator, that affiliate would be operational as, for
example, www.LocalMart-YourTown.com. (Note that localmart is a
network of local affiliates and has a .net suffix and the
localmart affiliates have .com suffixes.) Applicants for
membership to an affiliate submit a simple online application
form to the administrator for approval. The website for the
affiliate is built on a social networking platform and the home
page is viewable by the general public, but member information
is only viewable by other members. The social networking
platform is useful for personalizing the site, allowing photos,
videos, personal blogs, discussions, google-type text ads by
providers and formation of groups (e.g. Sustainable Food group,
or Sustainable Clothing group) which can carry on discussions
and programs all within the site.
MartMoney accounts and transactions and conversions between
MartMoney and local currency are handled by a central database
maintained by LocalMart itself, as a service to the affiliates.
LocalMart also serves as an informational resource to the
affiliates and assists in maintenance of the affiliate's
LocalMart seems to resemble a
barter club. How is it different?
There are similarities with barter clubs in that barter clubs
usually emphasize local membership, and barter money is similar
to MartMoney. An important feature of MartMoney is that it is
convertible to and from local currency (for a small fee, whereas
barter money is not always convertible). A second difference is
that LocalMart's mission of sustainability and local self
sufficiency means that goods and services offered must meet a
sustainability test, and barter clubs usually make no such
distinction. A third difference is that LocalMart uses a social
networking platform for its local affiliate web sites. This
greatly enhances the personalization, community spirit and
information sharing, allowing photos, videos, personal blogs,
discussions, google-type text ads by providers and formation of
groups (e.g. Sustainable Food group, Sustainable Clothing group)
which can carry on discussions and programs all within the
site. A fourth and very important distinction is that LocalMart
seeks members who are both consumers and vendors (providers).
It encourages and assists consumer members in finding or
developing sustainable products or services that can be offered,
and it encourages and assists providers to direct their
purchases of goods and services to other LocalMart providers so
as to "close the loop." By so doing, the goals of local
sustainability and self sufficiency become more and more
attainable (and it also becomes possible for more and more
members to stay within MartMoney without having to convert to
and from local currency.) A fifth distinction with barter clubs
is that LocalMart is developing software that will allow the
transfer of MartMoney via mobile phones and this will
allow in-person transactions without using a barter
currency or barter checks.
Can I purchase goods and services from other LocalMart
Yes - members may
transact business with members at another LocalMart affiliate
such as www.LocalMart-NextTown.com, or
www.LocalMart-FarAwayTown.com, all using their MartMoney, but
the emphasis is on local commerce.
How can I view a LocalMart
affiliate web site?
you can view the site for LocalMart-Lamorinda (serving
Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda, California). Since this is a
members only site, you can only view the home page, but there
are links there which will let you view portions of the shopping
site, and other links which can provide information. One
Business Ideas is
a list of ideas
for sustainable products and services that you might be
interested in offering as a provider on LocalMart.
How do I participate in LocalMart?
application for membership in one of the
affiliate sites. (See
- List and click on the affiliate of your choice and in the
upper right corner, click on "Sign Up".)
Does it cost anything to join?
customers and providers can join for free
How would I go about starting a
LocalMart affiliate in my community?
Send an email to:
LocalMart Affiliate Site
Members only site but many of the features and links are
viewable for non members
the LocalMart Store
Members only site but
many of the features and links are viewable for non
Better World Workshop
An incubator for
conceiving of and developing ideas for sustainable
products and services that individuals or small
businesses can provide on a local level
Micro Lending Network
Microloans for the
establishment of sustainable products and services that
can be offered on the local level