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Product swaps?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I was thinking for about the trillionth time about how unfair it is that I can't seem to make a decent pie crust to save my life, despite giving it more than 4 decades of my best efforts (following every recipe and tip in the books), when it suddenly dawned on me that there are a lot of people like me who can't do one thing, but can do other things really well. In my case, I make fantastic bread almost without trying. Wouldn't it be great if I could team up with someone who makes incredible flaky, tender pie crust but can't make bread and we could trade homemade baked goods? I'm not sure how it would work unless we were neighbors or had some means to ship them really fast but inexpensively, but I think it would be a great solution.

Does anyone else here have a skill--resulting in a good product--that they would love to trade for something they can't make? (Or maybe it is just something you could do, but don't have time for.) I'm curious. Who knows? Maybe we could figure out how to do swaps.
 
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What a nifty idea! My sister-in-law often is sad that she cannot knit socks, but she makes shoes by hand and can upholster chairs. I can't do any of those things, but I can knit. I love learning lots of skills, but it's also great to specialize and get good at a few things and to trade with those who've specialized in other things (especially if you don't have a passion for learning the thing they're already good at!).
 
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I do swaps all the time. Here is my latest swap.

I felt bad for a guy at our church who wants to build a timber frame home, but has very little land. I have plenty of  trees that are in the way of me clearing forest to make way for bigger fields. So the wife and I talked and had them come over and told him he could have all the logs he wanted to build his house. And he was grateful...

But not one to take and not give back, when he found out I wanted a big generator for back up power, he happened to have one, a 20 KW PTO unit, but he lacked a tractor to power it...perfect for my bulldozer to run.

Now a way to get my wood over to his house, 14,000 bf is a lot of logs.

Well I happen to have a 48 ft reefer trailer that is obnoxious to look at from my house, and yet my truck driver wanted it for storage, so I traded that for log hauling. So in case all this seems confusing:

Trees cleared for fields
Logs traded for generator
Trailer traded for trucking logs

It is a 3 way swap where everyone got what they wanted.

...

I do bartering all the time here, but this is the most poor county in all of New England, and having lived here all my life, I know plenty of people, and they know me, so that sort of reputation makes swapping safer for people.
 
Deb Stephens
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Exactly the sort of thing I am talking about Nicole! I'm thinking that it could be a kind of "artisan-on-demand internet swap" meet (AODIS ?) where everyone signs up and lists a skill or skills resulting in a homemade product that they will trade for someone else's skill/product in the master list. We would have to work out shipping costs because some things might take more expensive shipping (like dry ice or overnight delivery for perishable foods, for example) but otherwise everything would be a free exchange. I am thinking that it would need to be an honor system thing--like a seed swap--where you have to trust that the person you are exchanging with will honor the bargain and send you a product in return, otherwise it would require some sort of middleman position (like an escrow account) to hold products until both parties deliver the goods (literally) to the middleman. Too much like a business!

I can sew, crochet and embroider but not knit; make great bread, vegetarian lasagna, pizza and chili, but have no luck with pies and pastry; I can paint and sculpt, but can't weave. I also make wonderful creamy homemade lye soap (no melt-n-pour stuff, but real soap) and herbal remedies, and build all sorts of things from wood (from step-stools to houses). I'm really good at starting all sorts of weird seeds and getting them to grow into seedlings too. I'm sure there are other marketable things I could do/make too but that is just for starters. Anyone else want to make a list?


Travis, I can appreciate your swaps too, but I wasn't really thinking about that kind of thing, but more like what Nicole and I were discussing. Like you, I love to trade locally for stuff I can use. I traded an old desk for a laptop once. Another time I traded a beat up car for a mountain bike and $200 cash. My favorite trade though (so far) was a vintage kitchen farm sink I got in exchange for an electric kiln I never used (Too expensive to operate!) I love win-win situations!
 
pollinator
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This thread is a funny coincidence. I was asking myself this question the other day, do permies people barter?  All those intentional communities, do they trade? It would be nice not to have to deal with money at all and be free from inflation and other nonsense (maybe?). Maybe use pie as currency? For now the existing shipping network can be used but eventually a permie shipping network could be built. A modern silk road of our own. That would be awesome.

Unfortunately for me I'm pretty much useless haha
Jack of all trades, master of none.
 
Travis Johnson
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I barter ALL THE TIME. The situation I cited just happened to be last week. The week before I cleaned up a guys yard for the old 1930 farm equipment he wanted cleaned up! I could go on and on...

I think one of the best food swaps is common at most churches, it is called a Pot Luck Dinner. Rather then overwhelm a team of cooks, people chip in together and feed an entire group of people and it works surprisingly well. I have made some really special dishes for pot luck dinners just because it was an excuse too. (Ever had Lux?)

Here in New England, one of the most frugal, most tasty meals you can get is to go to a Pot Luck Fund Raiser for say a family that lost their home to fire or something. Our church had one for a guy with stage 4 cancer, and with everyone paying $5 (or giving a donation), the family got a whopping $16,000! My parents got $18,000 when they lost their home to fire. It all goes back to this once principal; "No one person is better than all of us put together." Collectively there is some incredible cooking talent in any community.

For my wife and I, we would rather get all dressed up, totally floor people when they see a bunch of sheep farmers dressed like we are going to a high end restaurant, and instead spend less money, but our money, on people who have been hit with an unfortunate event. It is far more social, far more fun, and incredibly tasteful! What is not to love...even if you might not like Lux!

...
Edited to say, in the interest on honesty...that we do visit restaurants too now and then too. But if others are looking at doing this sort of thing, check out online, or check out in a newspaper the local happenings. Here in Maine there is always a non-profit organization doing a cheap meal somewhere, and yes during the week and not just on Saturday Night. Maybe this should turn into a national grass roots movement...dine for the down and out!


 
Francis Mallet
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I do barter with people around me although not on the same level as you Travis. But what about cinnamon, bananas, sesame oil, avocados, chocolate, etc. Life wouldn't be the same without dark chocolate!
 
garden master
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I love the idea of trading skills or goods/services.  It's hard enough to arrange barters like Travis's (if you aren't a life time resident and know everybody).  I think it's even harder to arrange swaps of custom made items or skills.  I love it, just not sure how to make it happen.

I heard a while back about a city that had an imaginary time currency.  So you could do something (clean gutters for Nancy) for an hour and you'd get a unit of time currency from Nancy.  Then you'd get a one hour massage from Fred and pay him with that hour you earned from Nancy.  I think it was all managed online so that the currency was tracked centrally and was trustworthy. 

I'm guessing someone could develop an app for this.  But would it catch on enough to have enough product changing hands? 

Building community of a like mind (homesteaders, permies, farmers, etc) is a way to find those swaps on a person-to-person basis.  But it would work even better if people who didn't know one another were brought together for swaps.

I was recently on a search for a 5x10 utility trailer.  I'd've happily bartered for it but I only know two guys who may know anyone with a trailer.  I checked with them, without luck.  So I was down to just watching Craigslist and hoping.

There is the "Barter" section on Craigslist.  I guess you could use that to list your products and desires and see if anyone contacts you.  That could possibly build into a network that reaches beyond your immediate circle of acquaintances...
 
Nicole Alderman
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Facebook groups or other local groups are also great for this. I'm in a local homesteading group, and right now there's a thread going for people to sell/exchange their creations with one another. A local group would be a good fit for product swaps because there's no need for shipping, and you're building local community.
 
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This subject has been on my mind lately, as well.

I fell down a rabbit hole on the internet the other day, researching the black market of home cooked meals.  I honestly think it's a criminal act that the government has prohibited
entirely or in all practical purposes a cottage industry of home cooked meals sold locally.  There is tremendous value in food--and that value is being leeched right and left by so much of the food industry.

Right, let's trust our health to McDonalds rather than the grandma down the street who's been cooking all her life (and could really use the extra cash to keep in the community!).  I honestly think it's evil, sexist, and really stupid.

There have been a couple of companies trying to do apps and start up businesses for these sorts of things in a couple of larger cities, although the regulations and crackdowns seems to have mostly halted further growth, much less anything in more rural areas.

Selling home cooked meals, or bartering for them, would be an amazing way to improve the health and community of an area--working parents could feed their families well, while helping to support people who couldn't work outside the home for one reason or another.  Home cooked meals are an area of incredibly undervalued labor.  Restaurant and regulations have shut off access to those who don't have time to cook, but would be willing to pay something to a neighbor.  Unless an underground economy can be developed, many people will continue to give their money to fast food places and "instant" foods.

I'm trying very hard not to make this about sexism but I don't think I can.  That's how I see it: that the barriers for entry have been made too high (or that entry has been barred altogether), so that a valuable, and traditionally female, activity (nurturing through traditional and time-intensive food items, in or from the home), has been undervalued and switched to a high production, profits-based, unhealthy version.  The wealthy still have access: they can hire people to come into their home and take care of their needs, and cook whatever they want (from raw vegan smoothies to decadent delightful dinners).  But busy and not rich?  Good fucking luck.  Either find time to cook and learn to do it well, or settle for takeout, restaurant fare, microwave "dinners," and junk food.  And many people do.

We need to take back meal production for the health of humanity.  We need to either get rid of the regulations against it, or find a way around them.  I do not believe that currently technology can be the best means of that.  It needs to be a personal, community, grassroots movement: buying food from people you trust, not the restaurants that managed to skate by their once a year food safety inspection while overcharging for meals, providing subpar nutrition, and/or underpaying and abusing staff (sometimes all at once).

What is the solution?  I don't trust technology for this.  The "Uber for meals" idea isn't taking off, because regulators are finding ways to hamstring such startups.  Tech is easily traced, and the food corps have a lot of reasons not to let us get a foothold in peer to peer food selling made easier (whether that's garden produce or homemade mac and cheese).

Is there a solution?

I think we need to start being up front about it.  If you're willing to pay for or barter for some home cooked meals, put it out there in your network or community.  If you're willing to cook for money or barter, put it out there in your network.  It's not socially acceptable to talk about money with people you know, but it needs to be talked about.  Food has value, and settling for food without much value (and that causes hurt in its production) isn't reasonable or sustainable.

Yes, everyone should learn to cook, and take the hours of time to make and grow lots of healthy things.  But it's not currently reasonable.  We live in the real world, and that means labor and food is outsourced whenever possible by people who lack the time or skill but have money (or something to barter).

Perhaps a meal exchange club could get around some of the legal issues.  Friends who agree to exchange meals sometimes (although frankly that sounds really stressful as I'd always worry my food wouldn't measure up to theirs: suppose someone in the group went all filet mignon and I made baked potatoes and burgers?).  It would be lovely if tech could help ease some of the awkwardness of the human element and facilitate the needed connections.  But I'm just not convinced it's possible.

I'm sorry that this is a bit of a soap box.  I really think we need a sea change here.


Some articles:
https://www.fastcompany.com/3061498/the-food-sharing-economy-is-delicious-and-illegal-will-it-survive
https://medium.com/@KParseyan/why-you-should-love-black-market-home-cooked-meals-d68171b19bd4
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-02-16/make-it-legal-to-sell-home-cooked-food
 
gardener
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One of my garlic customers has family in Quebec, and so he trades me maple syrup for some of my garlic.  I also trade garlic for bear sausage (that was made with my garlic!), dried berries, dried mushrooms, honey, and lamb.  By new years I'm 'sold
out of Garlic but I have a diversity of foods for my family.  

I also trade canning.  My family produces a bumper crop of cukes which are turned into pickles and relish.  We pickle garlic scapes and radish pods.   We also make a lot of berry jams and salsa.  These all get traded for other condiments that other folks have produced in abundance.

We have a local seed swap in the spring, but I was thinking that a fall time swap of canning would be a great way to get people together and diversify their diets.
 
Travis Johnson
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We barter for food a lot too.

We have a friend who gives the Amish rides in his van, so to pay him back for those rides, that Amish guy; who has 6000 laying hens, gives the driver (our friend) laying hen pullets in trade. That friend of ours loves lamb, but has no land for pasture, so we keep a lamb for him and every fall let him slaughter it in exchange for a few laying hen pullets the previous spring. We like pullets because they are laying eggs and we don't have the expense of raising them from chicks to laying.

....

Here in Maine we never lock our car car doors except during "Zucchini Season". That is when well meaning neighbors will see your car in town and decide you could use some extra produce and put some in your car. Naturally we got all we can ever want and so have to lock the car to keep it out! "We have been Zucchinied", is a humorous, but real problem. ('being zucchinied" could be cucumbers, potatoes, corn,apples, peaches, or broccoli...anything really.)

...

Growing up; when potatoes farms abounded here, half the neighborhood would be out in the fields behind the harvesters gathering up potatoes that they had left behind. Granted they were smaller because free potatoes could only be gathered BEHIND the harvester, but the potatoes farmers never cared as they got what they wanted. I have had a few people ask about going through my corn fields and picking up the cobs that the combine knocked off. People could feed their goats and sheep for half a winter on what corn cobs are left behind if they only asked. I averaged a bucketful in my farm tractor per acre such is the loss of cobs.
 
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Barter is as old as the human condition, and a good trade always feels great. But if I’m reading the original post correctly, the notion before the house is more in the nature of labor-exchanges embodied in value-added products. This appeals in particular because certain kinds of labor (especially hand work, kitchen work, craft work, and arts) aren’t easy to market at a rate that seems fair or comparable to other work; far better, then, to swap it for labor of equal value in a desired product, than to sell it the devalued rate our society puts on it.

Or that’s me, anyway, trying to untangle what’s attractive about the OP idea versus just selling our own goodies and buying the goodies we want. In some areas, especially foodstuffs, it’s not just devalued labor, there’s also a whole layer of laws in the way as pointed out in the post about meals.

That said, the buy/sell advantage is logistics. Trades have to be local, or shippable at small cost relative to value.  And they are harder to match up than a disconnected set of goods-for-money deals.

This is actually an old discussion in all kinds of alternative circles. Which is not to say it’s bad to keep having it. In my mind, it’s all about finding clever solutions to the problem of putting the trades together.  Any local networks (Facebook garage sale groups are the thing where I am) are the first place to start, but I gree up in a town so small that a notice on the bulletin board at the post office would work. Or, for lighter high value stuff, you’ve got the whole internet to work with...
 
Deb Stephens
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Dan Boone wrote:Barter is as old as the human condition, and a good trade always feels great. But if I’m reading the original post correctly, the notion before the house is more in the nature of labor-exchanges embodied in value-added products. This appeals in particular because certain kinds of labor (especially hand work, kitchen work, craft work, and arts) aren’t easy to market at a rate that seems fair or comparable to other work; far better, then, to swap it for labor of equal value in a desired product, than to sell it the devalued rate our society puts on it.



You are definitely reading the original post correctly--this is precisely what I am talking about. For example, as an artist, I often wonder how much I could get paid if I charged by the hour for the entire creative process from idea to the actual piece of finished art. Afterall, coming up with a design or concept is as much a part of the process as sculpting or painting. There is so much more detail work involved than the majority of people can possibly imagine (even leaving out the expense of materials and tools needed to carry a product to fruition). All the consumer sees is a finished sculpture or painting whose value is judged purely on the basis of whether it appeals to them aesthetically or not. The sad fact is that even at a minimum wage hourly, I have put thousands of dollars into some things that I could never sell for more than a couple hundred dollars. In the art world, unless you are world-famous, you are bound to sell for what people are willing to pay, regardless of your time and effort to create a piece. No one sees the work, only the product, and if they can get some plastic or cement lawn ornament from WalMart for a few bucks, they aren't going to pay a few hundred or a thousand for something similar in bronze--even if it is an original art piece instead of a factory produced piece of garbage from China.

As for how we could do this thing ...

I was wondering if it could be done in one of two ways (or maybe both somehow synched together). One possibility would be to treat the swaps the same way they do the internet meetups--people interested in a particular hobby or idea simply get together at regular intervals to meet up and engage in whatever it is they are interested in. In this case, we could maintain a list (somewhere online) of who does what or who wants to contribute a specific product (and what the product is), then figure out where compatible individuals could meet up to make swaps. (Like a monthly swap meet.) The downside is that for it to work, people would need to be fairly local to one another. It might work great in a big city or an area with a homogenous and stable community (basically where everyone already knows everybody else--like in the church potluck example Travis used), but somewhere like my neck of the woods, where houses are few and far between and where everyone commutes to the four corners of the world to do business or go to church, school, etc. there just wouldn't be a realistic way to pull people in. (Not to mention that around here, the only people I know are rednecks. If I wanted to swap food products, I would probably start a war. Here, when you say you're a vegetarian, people look at you like you just said you hailed from Alpha Centauri!)

The second idea would be to start a website kind of like Etsy but for swaps of homemade items. People could value their products in some sort of unit and people could "spend" by trading in units based on the values assigned to their own products. Like an apple pie with a double crust might be 5 units, while a simple loaf of wheat bread might have a value of 2 units. Someone wanting the pie could opt to trade 3 loaves and be credited with 1 unit to use later. Or they might trade 2 loaves and owe the pie-maker a unit. Or they might "buy" something worth 1 unit (say a small bag of homegrown dried sage) from another swapper, and throw that in along with their 2 loaves of bread for the 5 unit pie. The thing is that everyone would have to agree before the bargain was sealed. I'm still stuck on the shipping problem though. And of course, someone would have to run the website (unless Paul lets us set up a page for our swaps here? hint hint )

Other ideas?
 
Mike Jay
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Adding on to your second idea about units of value...  If the units of value were tracked on a website, then you wouldn't have to actually trade with one person (my pie for their bread).  I trade chaga tea to Frank and he "pays" me with 5 credits.  I can use those credits to get seeds from Joseph.  Joseph can use 2 of those credits to get bread and save the other three until he gets enough to get a pie.

That would eliminate the part where both parties have to agree on the trade. 

Maybe shipping would be included in the valuation or count as one credit on its own?
 
Deb Stephens
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Mike Jay wrote:Adding on to your second idea about units of value...  If the units of value were tracked on a website, then you wouldn't have to actually trade with one person (my pie for their bread).  I trade chaga tea to Frank and he "pays" me with 5 credits.  I can use those credits to get seeds from Joseph.  Joseph can use 2 of those credits to get bread and save the other three until he gets enough to get a pie.

That would eliminate the part where both parties have to agree on the trade.

 


Yes, I thought of that as well. The only reason I didn't mention it is that I was trying to keep my example simple. The problem with using credits to barter over a wider base of products is that it requires more than a simple list of who has what--that everyone can read and act upon by just contacting the person directly that they want to swap with-- but requires a dynamic database. And, of course, a database has to be maintained by someone. That opens up a whole new can of worms ... should the website administrator be expected to maintain and update everything for free? I don't think so. Maybe s/he could opt for pay in units of credit as well to keep it a "purist" endeavor, but that won't pay the bill to the web host. How do we deal with that?

Mike Jay wrote:Maybe shipping would be included in the valuation or count as one credit on its own?



I LIKE this idea--a simple yet elegant solution!
 
Deb Stephens
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I had another thought I forgot to mention ...
If we did set up a website for this (by the way, Swapsy is taken--I checked), then we could all have a "storefront" with photos to advertise our wares. This is starting to sound like a Kickstarter of GoFundMe idea.
 
Mike Jay
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Deb Stephens wrote: ... should the website administrator be expected to maintain and update everything for free? I don't think so. Maybe s/he could opt for pay in units of credit as well to keep it a "purist" endeavor, but that won't pay the bill to the web host. How do we deal with that?



If the administrator is getting paid in units that they use to buy pie, socks and fleece blankets, doesn't that mean they don't have to use their cash to buy those things?  So they could use that money for hosting? 

Keep in mind that I usually come up with 1 good idea for every 10 bad...  And I have no idea how complex administering something like this would be...  And I have no idea the costs involved in web hosting...  And on and on....
 
Mike Jay
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It looks like we aren't the first people to think of this (of course...)
Bartering/Swapping apps & sites

Now, if they aren't really taking off, why is that and could we figure out what's missing to make it take off?
 
Deb Stephens
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Mike Jay wrote:It looks like we aren't the first people to think of this (of course...)
Bartering/Swapping apps & sites

Now, if they aren't really taking off, why is that and could we figure out what's missing to make it take off?



I can tell you what is wrong with Freecycle right away because I have actually tried to use it. It is too local. They won't even let you interact with anyone who isn't in your geographic area. In my little podunk part of the world, nobody seems to even know it exists, so there is literally nothing to trade for on their pages. I WISH I could use it because in some of the bigger metro areas there is a ton of stuff being given away that I could use! Who knows? Maybe that is the secret right there--figuring out a way to let everyone "shop" wherever they want to. It could be the concept failed simply because the people who started it couldn't figure out the whole shipping/transport thing? It does seem to be the biggest hitch. Afterall, if you're telling someone they can have something for free, you don't want to have to pay to ship it to them, do you? (Otherwise, you could just haul it to a landfill and pay them to get rid of your junk.)

The other reason some of these don't take off is that they are not marketing them to the right people. Permies folk think trade and barter, reuse, recycle, etc.--most other people only buy new (and often). I think something launched here (or at least announced here) and on similar homestead, survival-type, do-it-yourself sites would get people who already know how to use the internet AND like the idea of making something from nothing. Although they are the ones who stand most to benefit from something like this, most of the rednecks in my area don't even know how to use a computer. (They all have cell phones but they use them to play games and take pictures. I don't think they even know they can work any other way.)

I'm probably the last person on Earth who doesn't have a cell phone, so for me, the other two swap apps may as well not exist. I can't even go look at them. I've heard there are ways to use phone apps on a home computer but I run Linux and those I've heard of are only Mac or Windows-friendly. I will keep looking at the possibilities, however. I think this is an idea whose time has come--with the poor continuing to get poorer while the rich pretty much get everything, barter may become the new currency of the incredibly undervalued underclasses.
 
Travis Johnson
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Deb Stephens wrote:I'm probably the last person on Earth who doesn't have a cell phone, so for me, the other two swap apps may as well not exist. I can't even go look at them.



Nope, I do not have one either! I found out only 7% of the population does not have one so I always joke I am just 6% away from being a 1%er...considering the cost of phone plans, my humerus reply might be closer to the truth than I think!

I have done a few art type trades, but I never considered what I do as "art". I like to make wooden models and have built probably a hundred of them. Like you mention Deb, I could never sell them for their true value. Holy Smokes they are labor intensive, and if I was to charge in a per hour basis no one could afford it. But for the people that spent their careers in lobster boats, tractors, trucks or other heavy equipment, to look at something that is hand-made, made out of wood, and is art-like, has interest to them. Many are retired so they do not have much money, so I trade with them.

I have been paid for a few, given a few away; but have traded quite a few things as well. Lumber has been the biggest trade, but I have traded a lobster boat from some seafood too.

Lobster-Boat-Port-Side.JPG
[Thumbnail for Lobster-Boat-Port-Side.JPG]
 
Mike Jay
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I agree about the "apps" being a hindrance.  My phone can play Angry Birds but I'm not sure it can do fancier apps like these.  I'd want something website based.  Freecycle for me is useless too because I'm somewhat rural and no one else uses it.

I also agree that if it's marketed towards permies, homesteaders, preppers, back to the landers, pinteresters and diyers it could have a chance. 
 
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Thinking "per hour wage" simply doesn't work for my current lifestyle. I'm a homestead farmer focusing upon self reliance and sustainability. If getting "proper value for my labor" was my focus, I'd have a 9-5 job in the city. In fact, when I was working a job I was earning 5 times more than I am now, but financially was a lot worse off.

Trading and barter help me survive and move my products. By business standards, I do it all wrong. I don't assign a per hour value to the things I produce. Instead, trades are settled upon where it benefits both parties in some fashion.
 
Deb Stephens
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Wow, Travis that is beautiful!!! I love ship models. When I was still in my teens and living in Madrid, I put together a 3' long 17th-century Spanish Barque from a wooden kit. It took me about 6 months to complete and I even did all the rigging with tiny "ropes" all correctly tied and knotted. (I had a booklet of instructions or I would have been hopelessly lost.) Then, in moving back to the states, the movers responsible for packing it (it was a military move) put it loose into a huge box--with absolutely NO packing material around it--and it naturally arrived in a million pieces. I was too devastated to rebuild it. I haven't made one since. Your photo makes me want to take up model ship building again. I think I was a sailor in an earlier life because books about sailing--whether fictional treasure islands or genuine pirates and naval battles--are amongst my favorite reading. I would barter a lot for one of your models!

Su Ba, I totally agree that trying to think in terms of per/hour value is worse than useless. Like you, I look at it as "You need this thing I have, and I need that thing you have, so if we exchange, we will both be equally happy. Win-win!"

 
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Another person here who can't and won't do apps!  I have a more affordable phone (and a plan that currently runs me under $15.00 a month).  I can text and make phone calls with it.  That's really all I want to do with a cellular telephone.  I know that makes me old-fashioned, or whatever, but have you seen what people pay for phone plans these days??  Yikes.  If I had a phone like that, it would have to pay for itself somehow.
 
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I like this idea.  I could see setting up a sub forum on permies for listing swaps.  It could be public or private, depending on how many people we want to reach.  Nice and simple, no apps or whatever.  W already know how to use this forum.

Personally, I don't like having a currency system for swaps.  Too many bad experience

On the other hand, if it was something with an external value like PIE, that might work.
 
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I could see setting up a sub forum on permies for listing swaps.  It could be public or private, depending on how many people we want to reach.  Nice and simple, no apps or whatever.  W already know how to use this forum.



I like the idea.  do you suppose it could be for give-aways also?  Sometimes I'm just too lazy to work out a swap and would rather give something away.  It might be fun to have all in one place instead of in various threads.

We did craft shows for many many years and always traded during and at the end of the show with other craftspeople.  Pottery, jewelry, toys, musical instruments....so many things I never could have afforded otherwise for gift giving and just to keep for ourselves.
 
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Another site that I visit has a forum called a "Barter Board".
You list what you HAVE or what you WANT. Each proposal is listed. If you are interested in such an item you personal message the original poster and work out trades.
I have listed extra bulbs/seeds and swapped whatever the interested party offered that was of value to me.  For instance I had cleaned out a flower bed and had tons of
daffodil bulbs I no longer wanted.  But, I was willing to exchange garden seeds that I needed.  I ended up swapping for purple hulled pea seeds and celery seeds etc.
that I didn't have.  Each paid their own shipping costs.
 
Francis Mallet
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Su Ba:

Thinking "per hour wage" simply doesn't work for my current lifestyle.


Yes.
I've got some pumpkins, how do I charge for them? When do I start counting my time? When I planted the seeds? But then what about the ground work?
I started working on those pumpkins two years ago when I first cleared a spot in the woods for the garden. Seen this way those are some expensive pumpkins! Pumpkins that I can't afford lol
How does that make sense? I got a meat pie today for a pumpkin bread loaf, now that's better!

r ranson:

Personally, I don't like having a currency system for swaps.  Too many bad experience. 

On the other hand, if it was something with an external value like PIE, that might work.



Money is confusing. I often forget that money has no inherent value, it's just a useful tool. I suspect it is an overused tool. You know, "To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail." 

The reason I thought about PIE is because of that post by Paul Wheaton in his PIE thread, where he mentions the possibility of residual income through PIE.  PIE would then have value outside the forum. So if I want one of those gorgeous spoons that Judith Browning tease us with and she doesn't care about my chamomile then maybe she would consider PIE?

Sorry if I don't make sense.


 
raven ranson
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I'm still thinking about this.

For example, I make handspun yarn and hand woven tea towels.  What I can't do well is sew.

I really want some new cotton pyjamas. 

I could try and sell the yarn, then go to a shop and buy pyjamas... or maybe do a straight swap.  or maybe something else?

Using this as an example, what do you imagine this would look like if permies had a forum for swapsies? 

How would we decide how much yarn a pair of PJs are worth?  What if one of our members makes the best PJs in the world, but doesn't like yarn or tea towels?  What then?
 
Francis Mallet
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What if one of our members makes the best PJs in the world, but doesn't like yarn or tea towels?  What then?


Humm... Maybe the PJs master really likes cider and one of your tea towels fan is also a cider master. Trades might not be that complex to set up manually (see Six Degrees of Separation). Software could connect the dots and chart trade routes.

Yarn would be more flexible than tea towels (being a commodity) but how much yarn? Maybe software would solve this too. You've got x amount of yarn to trade, feed that to the trader bot and he'll report back that yeah you can get those PJs, and sugar and that new tool you've been eyeing.
 
Judith Browning
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Francis Mallet wrote:

What if one of our members makes the best PJs in the world, but doesn't like yarn or tea towels?  What then?


Humm... Maybe the PJs master really likes cider and one of your tea towels fan is also a cider master. Trades might not be that complex to set up manually (see Six Degrees of Separation). Software could connect the dots and chart trade routes.

Yarn would be more flexible than tea towels (being a commodity) but how much yarn? Maybe software would solve this too. You've got x amount of yarn to trade, feed that to the trader bot and he'll report back that yeah you can get those PJs, and sugar and that new tool you've been eyeing.



Francis, there is a thread here discussing 'gifting' that sounds similar to your thoughts.  I'll try to find and add the link here.  The idea of a gifting community is that you get and give needed items or services and it all evens out somehow....that ideal world

I think I've seen book swaps set up on line where you give a book and you get a book but not necessarily swap with the same person...there is a central 'something' to keep track of comings and goings...then we get into shipping costs?

EDIT
this is one link to a discussion about a gifting economy https://permies.com/t/18226/internal-economy#155641

here is a page of results after a search of 'gifting' here  https://permies.com/forums/jforum?module=search&action=search&forum_id=54&search_keywords=gifting&match_type=all&search_in=ALL&forum=&groupByTopic=true&sort_by=time&sort_dir=DESC&search_date=ALL&member_number=&member_first_name=&member_last_name=&member_match_type=memberPosted

When my husband and I did a lot of trading we were active craftspeople and traded mostly with other craftspeople at the dollar amount, where ever we had set the price for our work....and the same when we traded for services with our dentist and former doctor.

I rarely use the word 'barter' as it always makes me think of arguing over the cost...I'm probably misunderstanding the word.
 
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The only experience I have with bartering was with babysitting when our daughter was young. We were part of a pool of young parents. We would trade with others, based on # of children and hours. So, if you had 4 children for 4 hours, that was 16 points, and you had to earn those points by watching other's children at the same rate. You could watch 2 kids for four hours for two nights, etc. and the points could be used by any in the group.
But again it only worked in a local area!

I hope someone figures out the tracking/posting part of this, because I would love to do this. My only suggestion is that this needs to be for small transactions, not thousand dollar things. Those should be done directly!
 
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Barter, trade, swap ... in my opinion it's a very good idea! But not shipping products overseas. I'd prefer a local / regional group, meeting in real life.

I don't know, but it seems in (parts of) the USA trading and bartering is considered fairly normal. Here in the Netherlands it isn't. This is a country of buying and selling with money (it got rich from such activities during many centuries).
Only now, since a few decades, among 'alternative folks' (seen as 'hippies' by others), trading groups are starting (LETS a.a.). The LETS here did not survive ... when the only good carpenter in the group died of cancer ...
But we are starting new experiments, in a somewhat different way. If it succeeds I'll let you know.
 
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The product swapping idea, and the gift economy idea are both interesting in their own rights, but somewhat at odds with the overarching economic system of dollars and taxes.
Making them only useful for one-off, local-ish, personal transactions... not a means of making a living.

I find it amusing that the ideas go from "I'll clean your gutters for a pie, or ride-share my van for chickens"
to... chain trading "a ride for a chicken for a lamb for a bunch of logs for a set of pyjamas which i really wanted in the first place..."
to... "maybe you earn 'points' to make it possible for equitable three-way trades"

Isn't this about when we arrive back at Dollars?!?!

Taking it to the extreme of "I make X,Y,Z products and trade them for A,B,C things of ~equal value" (and no money changes hands) Were those considered gifts given and received? Or "trades" of like value things? Do I owe taxes? Can I prove it? Do I need to?
Suppose that trading/swapping/gifting X,Y,Z for A,B,C met all my material needs... The Gov't would still like taxes for my land... they only accept $$, or take the land back. WHERE do I get those $$ from?
 
Deb Stephens
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:The product swapping idea, and the gift economy idea are both interesting in their own rights, but somewhat at odds with the overarching economic system of dollars and taxes.
Making them only useful for one-off, local-ish, personal transactions... not a means of making a living.

I find it amusing that the ideas go from "I'll clean your gutters for a pie, or ride-share my van for chickens"
to... chain trading "a ride for a chicken for a lamb for a bunch of logs for a set of pyjamas which i really wanted in the first place..."
to... "maybe you earn 'points' to make it possible for equitable three-way trades"

Isn't this about when we arrive back at Dollars?!?!

Taking it to the extreme of "I make X,Y,Z products and trade them for A,B,C things of ~equal value" (and no money changes hands) Were those considered gifts given and received? Or "trades" of like value things? Do I owe taxes? Can I prove it? Do I need to?
Suppose that trading/swapping/gifting X,Y,Z for A,B,C met all my material needs... The Gov't would still like taxes for my land... they only accept $$, or take the land back. WHERE do I get those $$ from?



Kenneth, This was never meant to be a way to make money or in any sense a business transaction--merely people getting together to swap services or artisan items in a kind of win-win situation. No one expects anyone to quit their day job because they would like to have a tasty pie or pair of nice pajamas once in awhile. It is merely the logistics of making even trades that causes the consternation here.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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Deb Stephens wrote:Kenneth, This was never meant to be a way to make money or in any sense a business transaction--merely people getting together to swap services or artisan items in a kind of win-win situation. No one expects anyone to quit their day job because they would like to have a tasty pie or pair of nice pajamas once in awhile. It is merely the logistics of making even trades that causes the consternation here.



But, it IS a business transaction... "My ___ for your___", and the issue seems to be: "well, maybe, but I think your socks aren't worth all three pies or only the pyjama bottoms, and maybe without the pockets at that. Someone feels short-changed.
Enter the Dollar, and cents... hey! a system we've all more or less agreed upon that is fine grained enough to smooth out the exchange rate between goods and services and hours of labor.

I expanded the problem to one's whole personal economy (trying to meet all your needs) to highlight how it might not solve everything, and at that scale, possibly blurs the line between tax avoidance and tax evasion.

If the "Artisan items" are actually also an "Artist's" primary method of earning a living... that is another can o' worms about possibly undervaluing art/craft work...

On the other hand, if it is a "gift of my ___ to you", and "oh isn't that funny, you have ___ gift in return" it magically seems to even out. Hmm... weird.

 
Deb Stephens
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:

Deb Stephens wrote:Kenneth, This was never meant to be a way to make money or in any sense a business transaction--merely people getting together to swap services or artisan items in a kind of win-win situation. No one expects anyone to quit their day job because they would like to have a tasty pie or pair of nice pajamas once in awhile. It is merely the logistics of making even trades that causes the consternation here.



But, it IS a business transaction... "My ___ for your___", and the issue seems to be: "well, maybe, but I think your socks aren't worth all three pies or only the pyjama bottoms, and maybe without the pockets at that. Someone feels short-changed.
Enter the Dollar, and cents... hey! a system we've all more or less agreed upon that is fine grained enough to smooth out the exchange rate between goods and services and hours of labor.

I expanded the problem to one's whole personal economy (trying to meet all your needs) to highlight how it might not solve everything, and at that scale, possibly blurs the line between tax avoidance and tax evasion.

If the "Artisan items" are actually also an "Artist's" primary method of earning a living... that is another can o' worms about possibly undervaluing art/craft work...

On the other hand, if it is a "gift of my ___ to you", and "oh isn't that funny, you have ___ gift in return" it magically seems to even out. Hmm... weird.


No offense, but you may be over-thinking this. ;)
 
Nicole Alderman
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I think the nice thing about PIE is that it can be earned without any sort of job. I post here on permies a bit, and I get apples, and every 10 apples I get a slice of pie. Money never came into that equation. I've never spent any money here on permies, and I have one pie with three slices--I'd have more if I hadn't given so much away (Edit: went and counted, and I've given away 54 slices of pie! ). It looks like each slice of pie is pretty much equivalent to $1-$2 dollars of real money. That's pretty spiffy.

I think the nifty thing about Product Swaps is that it's  not about "selling" something you've made, it's about offering your skills to someone who doesn't have them, but might have skills you might want. Like I might want a hand made, carved wooden truck for my son. His favorite color is red. I can't find such a thing online, but maybe someone here on permies could make one. Maybe that same person really wants a little hand-made fairy for their daughter, who's favorite color is orange. I can make that! But, I know that my fairy probably doesn't take nearly as long to make as a carved truck might, so I give some of my pie to them. That pie gives them access to pie features, and they can use it for other things. That's pretty spiffy!

I think some people might not want PIE for their stuff. So, they might just say "I will take _____, or _____ or ______ in trade for _________." Other's might just want PIE, and so could offer it up that way. Other's might just want to give their skills away as gifts. We also can sell real items here on permies now, so others might want to have that as an option, too. I think having a lot of options is a good thing!
 
Judith Browning
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:

Deb Stephens wrote:Kenneth, This was never meant to be a way to make money or in any sense a business transaction--merely people getting together to swap services or artisan items in a kind of win-win situation. No one expects anyone to quit their day job because they would like to have a tasty pie or pair of nice pajamas once in awhile. It is merely the logistics of making even trades that causes the consternation here.



But, it IS a business transaction... "My ___ for your___", and the issue seems to be: "well, maybe, but I think your socks aren't worth all three pies or only the pyjama bottoms, and maybe without the pockets at that. Someone feels short-changed.
Enter the Dollar, and cents... hey! a system we've all more or less agreed upon that is fine grained enough to smooth out the exchange rate between goods and services and hours of labor.

I expanded the problem to one's whole personal economy (trying to meet all your needs) to highlight how it might not solve everything, and at that scale, possibly blurs the line between tax avoidance and tax evasion.

If the "Artisan items" are actually also an "Artist's" primary method of earning a living... that is another can o' worms about possibly undervaluing art/craft work...

On the other hand, if it is a "gift of my ___ to you", and "oh isn't that funny, you have ___ gift in return" it magically seems to even out. Hmm... weird.



It's not for everyone and certainly those who are uncomfortable with these ideas wouldn't want to participate  
I don't think anyone here is out to change the world to a barter system, just a relaxed trade here and there.
...between consenting adults
 
Seriously Rick? Seriously? You might as well just read this tiny ad:
five days of natural building (wofati and cob) and rocket cooktop oct 8-12, 2018
https://permies.com/t/92034/permaculture-projects/days-natural-building-wofati-cob
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