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Participating in the Gift Economy

Yes! Magazine put out an article entitled “37 Ways to Join the Gift Economy.” I love thinking about an economy that is thriving without the addition of what most people think economies need—money. So I took a look at the list. It turns out that our little house already participates in many of the suggestions!

To see all of the suggestions, check out the original article.

Here’s how we bring the gift economy home:
“1. Start a dinner co-op. Rotate among the homes of friends and neighbors for weekly or monthly potlucks.”
We have group dinners four nights a week! People from our house as well as neighbors and guests cook for each other and eat together.

“3. Put up a traveler.”
Guests come through our doors all the time. Already this year we have hosted strangers from Texas, British Columbia, and Idaho.

“5. Harvest wild or unwanted fruits and vegetables.
6. Grow your own, and give some of it away.”
We have fruit trees in our backyard we eat from and give to our neighbors.

“9. Buy food or supplies in bulk and share with friends.”
We buy all of our food as a group and often share food with friends and neighbors. Though not everything we buy is bought in bulk, we try to get rice, beans, and other items in this way.

“10. Form a home-repair team to fix your own place and others’.”
This effort has recently taken the form of work exchangers – offering housing in exchange for special projects around the house, which has brought us lovely additions such as our table and outdoor shower!

“18. Throw a block party.”
Happened two years ago… I might try to make it happen again…

“19. Show up at a soup kitchen and ask to volunteer help.”
We have volunteered off an on at our local food bank.

“21. Convert a duplex, apartment building, old nursing home, or seminary into a cohousing community.”
Though our home is not any one of these cool locations originally, we did convert an old, early 1900’s home into a cohousing situation.

“22. Convert a barn or warehouse into a space for artists and start-up businesses.”
Our studio! Also, Andress Yourself = start-up business.

“23. Create a space for neighbors to keep and share infrequently used tools and extra garden supplies.
32. Exchange lessons, for example, cooking for carpentry.”
We have recently begun to share more tools on the block through a skill/stuff share. If you live nearby and would like to exchange skills, email us about it.

“25. Hold a monthly clean-up of a beach, park, roadway, river bank; get coffee houses to donate goodies.”
Royce, a friend from the block, had the idea to clean up the street once a month. We’ve done a street clean up twice now and hope to continue it and to get more people on the block involved!

“28. Share a car.”
We share cars a lot as many of us bicycle goers have random long distance trips to take to see family or to get home safely late at night. Thanks car people!

And last but not least… a couple of ideas we should consider…
“35. Work with your neighbors to develop a vision for your neighborhood’s future.”
We are still dreaming of making the lot for sale at the end of the block into a park. Looking into it right now. I think there is a lot of potential for involving neighbors in this as well as more group activities such as in street cleaning, food growing, and skill sharing.

“36. Hold talent shows. Give kids lots of recognition, and everyone opportunity to discover their hidden talents.”
A local talent show?! Yes! I think we could pull this off with our Salon experience. Spring talent? Where would it be located? I’ve always wanted to make use of the parking lot at the end of the street by Washington.

Oh and this one…
“15. Give co-workers neck and shoulder massages.”
Tin just got back, so… gift economy…?


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