I don’t know how to express how completely inspired I am by Ithaca-based Share Tompkins – if only because it’s exactly, EXACTLY, the type of thing I want to organize up here in the North Country/Jefferson County. Share Tompkins is a volunteer-run group that was formed through an open community meeting in 2009, and through their efforts help folks share and trade goods and services in Ithaca and Tompkins County. Sidenote: Of course it was Ithaca that managed to launch a successful bartering system – they’ve developed a local currency that currently has over $100,000 in circulation!
Obviously, bartering isn’t new, but when money is tight, why not get what you need through a trade of your own skills and resources? Craigslist was the original give-and-take site (albeit with sometimes shady motives), with others like Freecycle, Neighborgoods and Task Rabbit following suit by zoning in specifically on the trade aspect. But Share Tompkins goes beyond the virtual by hosting local events. And that’s what bartering is all about – building community with face-to-face, human interaction.
Folks in the North Country are a resourceful, and highly skilled bunch. It’s not unusual to trade snow-plowing for canned goods, but the connections are typically word-of-mouth and don’t usually result in a broadening of your social circle, since everyone who trades tends to know each other already. A group like “Share Jefferson/Share North Country” could not only get your porch built for the price of your accounting services, but could introduce you to the neighbors down the road that you normally just wave to as you drive by.
So what do you think – could the North Country work as a bartering society? Or is there a different solution that would work for this unique area?
Image from alt-market.com