Thursday, March 8, 2012

Barter Starter and Starter Barter

Maybe it is Dr. Seuss' birthday last Friday that has me in such a rhyming mood.  I simply could not resist the title of my blog post. Here's what it is all about.

I had a lovely shopping experience at Shift the other day and came home with a book of recipes for making my own cleaning supplies.  I want to create a class for the Long Branch School on that topic.  The owner of the store was friendly and helpful and interested in my project.  But the real jolt of joy came at the check out when I read a flyer taped to the counter...Join us for the first annual BARTER FAIR.  Oh, how very, very great.  1st annual? They are hoping to have others? So this would make the first one the barter starter.   Here is the description from the Shift website.

Brunswick Barter Market, Coordinated by Merrymeeting Permaculture and Transition

March 10th, Saturday
Time: 3:00-5:00
Please join us for our new, monthly Brunswick Barter Market swap event! Barter Markets are free and open to all, and anything can be brought to trade: preserved and fresh food, handmade items, seeds and plants, books, tools, your time or skills — whatever it is you’d like to share with others and exchange for things you need or want! Inspired by the Portland Trading Post events facilitated by Portland Maine Permaculture, the guidelines are the same, namely:
  • No cash changes hands
  • Don’t start the swapping until everyone’s there and has a chance to look around at what’s on offer.
  • You can swap with someone or simply “gift” things to each other without taking a return item. Your choice.
  • Make sure you’ve found a home for all your stuff before you leave (or take home what hasn’t been gifted).
  • If you bring a food item with multiple ingredients, please label.
The idea is to create a space that exists outside the cash economy, practice non-monetized exchange, circulate surplus within our community, and have a gosh-darned good time doing it. Even if you think you have nothing to offer, feel free to come and check it out! The more people, the better!  Keep your eyes out for more details on the Merrymeeting Permaculture and Transition Meetup site.

 I really hope to check it out after I close the library on Saturday.  If anyone plans to go, will you comment here?  All that made me think about the most excellent barter of my own a few weeks back.  Teaching rag rug making at the Long Branch School, my students were talking about fabric that they would use to continue weaving  the rugs that they started in the class. 

A student asked if perhaps I would like to barter for some of the fabric scraps that I had. 
"Sure!  What's your currency?"  I asked.  
"Well, do you like bread?"  Heck ya.
"Do you like Sourdough bread?" Indeed I do.  So we met a week later and traded fabric for home baked bread.  We both felt like we got the good end of the deal -  the sign of a good barter.  The kicker?  She added a pint of sourdough starter, which I have wanted to try baking with for a long time. So there it was, the ultimate Starter Barter. 

I'm enjoying trying to bake all sorts of breads with it.  If you might like to experience a bit of heaven on earth, try baking the Sourdough Carrot Cake from King Arthur Flour Cookbook.  I'm off to have a slice right about now.


  1. Monthly! Oh joy! So if I cannot make it up this weekend I can try again in a month. Love Love the idea. I guess I could bring someting different each month, couldn't I? Hmmmmmmm.

  2. Kate, I might like to go as a spectator.

  3. fascinating idea. Your photos always make Brunswick look so different to this jaded eye. Thank you for that.

  4. What a coincidink! I'm off to your house to have a slice right about now (just kidding).

  5. The barter fair was fun. I got there late, but people were very nice. I went home with a very big bag of organic cornmeal and 2 beautiful handcrafted greeting cards. I bartered mini notebooks from gift cards.
    I will definitely do it again, and I will suggest that Long Branch School host a similar event in Bowdoinham.


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