Communities are creating their own currency as a way to encourage neighbors to buy locally. The trick: you can only use the money at local stores, thus you're encouraged to buy from them. Think of it like a gift card — if you already have a Starbucks card, you probably won't head to Dunkin' Donuts. The program helps the environment, while also keeping neighbors employed.
The AP reports that local currency becomes especially popular during recessions as a way to promote the local economy. While the constitution forbids states from printing local money, the Supreme Court has held that private groups can create their own currencies so long as it doesn't compete with the federal dollar. Does this sound like a money idea to you?