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Sharing key to Bainbridge “No Impact Week”
Bainbridge Island resident Liesl Clark has a bumper crop of turnips this year and more than enough fresh eggs. She could use a new loft bed for her son. Rebecca Rockefeller needs some jeans. She has a new recipe for home-made energy bars. Working together, the women get their needs met with a little old-fashioned give and take.
The women started Bainbridge Barter, a weekly 10 a.m. gathering at Waterfront Park where folks practice the art of sharing. The assemblage is mostly produce, a few baked goods, homemade jams and pasta, vegetable starts and the like. One woman even brought a load of Dungeness crab.
Participants bring something and take something. Simple as that.
“It’s a gifting mentality,” Rockefeller said Wednesday at the Rock Farm, the community garden on her parents property. “It’s like a potluck.”
“At first we told people to bring things with a value in $5 increments,” Clark said. “Within a few minutes of laying it all out, we realized we didn’t need to do that. One woman said she only needed three eggs.”
The concept of thinking of people solely as “consumers” is relatively new, Rockefeller said. “Money was invented to fuel long-distance transactions and larger-scale exchanges.”
“I see value in people defining themselves based on their special skill,” Clark said. In other words, what they have to contribute. She said not that long ago, people were known for their trade. For instance, the Smiths were the people with metal skills. Most towns had a family named the Weavers, the Shoemakers, the Bakers. And much of what those families needed was exchanged for services, their “trade.”
The two women also use the website “freecylce Bainbridge,” which connects islanders who need something with someone who has it to give, and vice versa.
Clark logged on, listed her need for a new bed and found someone who had one for free, if she was able to come “right now and get it.” Rockefeller listed “jeans” under the “wanted” category, and sure enough, people responded with offers of gently used jeans.
Another benefit to sharing is a lower impact lifestyle said the women, both of whom are participating in Bainbridge-based YES! Magazine’s “No Impact Week” challenge. Similar to last January’s event, participants are encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint by focusing on one aspect of their life per day. The areas of interest were consumption, trash, transportation, food, energy, water, a day for giving back and celebrating an eco-sabbath. Rockefeller is one of 15 bloggers to share insights about her experience of the week-long challenge which ends Sunday.
Learn more at www.yesmagazine.org or www.rockfarmer.wordpress.com
• Bainbridge Barter: A casual weekly gathering of friends and neighbors sharing what they have to give. Meet at 10 a.m. Saturdays at Waterfront Park. Info: www.bainbridgebarter.org.
• Freecycle Bainbridge: Online forum dedicated to keeping used, but useful items out of the landfill by exchanging goods for free. www.groups.yahoo.com/group/freecyclebainbridgeisland
• Time Bank: Bainbridge is gearing up to collaborate in a Kitsap-wide time bank where participants provide services and deposit hours which can be withdrawn by receiving services from others. For instance, a person paints a fence for five hours entitling them to five hours of services from others in the Time Bank circle. Email email@example.com.
• Sustainable Bainbridge’s Zero Waste Initiative: Reduce trash flow to the landfills through reduction, reuse, recycling and compost. www.sustainablebainbridge.org.
• Sound Food: Expanding the local food system. www.soundfood.org.
By CONNIE MEARS, Staff Writer