Let's get smart about trading & bartering! Especially when funds are tight, a timeless way to create value and good vibes for ourselves and others.
In times like this my brain goes in many directions as I think about securing my family while also pitching in to help out in the community.
- What do I and my family need to secure things?
- What-n-the-heck do we do with all this crap and stuff we aren't using?
- What can I do to help my friends, family and community?
- In a time of isolation how can we still feel a part of community?
- What will the world look like a week from now, a month, a year and will things be ok?
- How can I help myself while helping others?
There are a lot of answers to these questions and some endless mind-spinning going on for sure. But what I want to urgently encourage and share some thoughts on is trading and bartering, a timeless way of exchanging value in community, especially when money's tight. It's what CropMobster was built for in part and a big part of my family's life and belief system. In my family an element of our "survival and thrival" is figuring what we have in abundance or don't need that we can give away, gift, trade or barter. This is important in good times and also when the manure's hitting the fan.
Here are some thoughts to get your gears moving on trading, bartering and also freebies and gifting. My hope is that you will dig deep and do more of this, both for yourself and others.
Taking Stock of Surplus: First, in my home we're taking some time to look around at what we have. For instance....
- We have a ton of Moringa seeds, starts and trees that we will be sharing. A great, stable source of ongoing nutrition.
- We have realized our freezer has a big surplus of big fat frozen mangos. We're going to make some shrubs to use and share
- For me, I have more clothes than a damn Ross store. Who needs some clothes?
- Also a lot of pencils/pens, paper and art supplies. Could probably be useful to someone, especially parents at home with kids.
- Also, we all have the resource called time. What can we do with our surplus time? More on Time Banking later.
Take Stock of Needs: Next, we are identifying our needs and gaps. Here are a few...
- Garden Supplies: Currently short on leafy green seeds for the garden like lettuce, kale, would really love a few tree kale plants right about now.
- Compost/Manure: We need more compost and manure for the gardening we're doing
- Jars & Lids: We are going to have a lot of food and garden produce but need more canning jars, lids and other item
Reach Out, Make the Dill! Soon we'll be reaching out to friends privately and also publicly to get these resources flowing and make some dills. The CropMobster community was built around activities like trading or bartering. Also Facebook, Twitters, Next Door email, text and all the other tools. The only one I haven't quite figured out yet is telepathy but working on it :)
Be Smart and Safe: In this time of COVID-19 we are going to avoid face to face interaction and keep our physical distance from others as much as possible. When we've found takers and traders, we will make sure we've done our best to clean and disinfect everything. Then we're going to arrange for touchless drop offs and ask that others follow some good sanitizing practices and hand-off techniques.
Freebies & Gifting: Finally, don't forget about gifting and freebies. While it would be great to get something back for what we have to offer, we are also not too hung up on the receiving end and will probably give away a lot. After all, giving is giving and giving is also receiving. Remember, it will do little good for any of us to hunker down only in an individual fashion. Over the long run, we need to take steps - which I call hunkering over - to make sure our neighbors and community are taken care of. And if that means giving away some of the abundance that is absolutely the right thing to do.
So there you have it. Any feedback or comments to add? Let me know. And if you have anything to barter and trade now is a good time to get your plan of action together and get started.
Wishing you all the best in this trying time. Let's stick together, get together and make a difference for each other and our communities.
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PS Thanks to Edward M. who reached out and asked us at CropMobster HQ to do more writing and sharing our recommendations.
PHOTO: "Trading" by e³°°° is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0