Wednesday, May 27, 2009


In the past few months, a wonderful new world has opened up to me: bartering!

That's right, it's the age old tradition of exchanging goods and services between individuals instead of money and it's alive and well in Bryan-College Station. 

Now until recently, I didn't realize I had much to barter with (or have the confidence to offer what I had to barter), but my time has come. I hope to eventually have enough veggies in the back yard to barter with and to give away to friends and loved ones, but for now, my greatest bartering chip is my homemade, organic, partially-local, honey whole-wheat bread. And for those of you who have tried this recipe, you know it kicks butt! We're talking seriously awesome bread here!

Well, in the past, I've exchanged bread for stewed tomatoes, but most recently, it's bread for fruits and bread for whole wheat flour. Who needs money? Ok. We still need money, but honestly, this bartering stuff is super cool! And I'm hoping to do more of it as my garden grows.

So tell me. Have you ever bartered goods or services? What were they? I hear there's a German community in Spain that barters for everything (replacing their need for money entirely). Have you ever lived in (or visited) such a community?


Michelle @ Leaving Excess said...

My husband is very handy and grew up doing concrete and masonry work with his father and uncle on side jobs. We often trade labor with other skilled people - electricians, plumbers, cabinet makers- and it works out REALLY well. My husband always learns more about the other person's trade and passes along a bit more knowledge (and respect) of the concrete and masonry trades.

sharli said...

I've done bartering at my business. Martial arts classes in exchange for massages, electrical work, and food for a party. My husband has done landscaping work in exchange for plants for our yard. We've also hired contractors at a reduced rate with the understanding that my husband and I would do the grunt work. This is how we learned to install ceramic tile. So, the next ceramic tile project we were able to do on our own. Not exactly bartering, but a good deal anyway! And, of course, I thought the canned tomatoes for the home made bread was a really good barter!!

BP said...

I swapped an old beat up Camaro for a transmission re-build on my van once. With kids the van was more needed then the Camaro.

Mark Herpel said...

Bartering is awesome, but with the Internet, Time Banks have become very popular and successful. This is essentially allowing anyone with a service or product to offer it to the community, receive 'credits' and use those credits to 'buy' stuff from others. Unlike a barter where you match each transaction, time banks seem to allow a wider range of trading. There is an excellent 6 min video on a popular Vermont time bank here: blog, I love all the fresh foods.

Mark Herpel
Community Currency Magazine

Heather @ SGF said...

Michelle - Very cool!

Sharli - The bread/tomatoes barter was a great trade for me too :)

BP - I can see that, though sad you had to give up the Camaro. I'll be it was fun!

Mark - Thanks for the link! One of the other bloggers (Crunchy Chicken, I think) talking about something like this up in Seattle.

The Cooking Lady said...

I barter all the time with my husbands hands. Oh, did I mention he is a massage therapist?

Be jealous, be very jealous.

ttammylynn said...

Bartering became a part of my life a very long time ago. When I was a child, I lived in a neighborhood where you borrow a cup of sugar or whatnot knowing that your neighbor would later borrow in turn.
More directly, I have been a vendor for about fifteen years. I know several people who distribute goods to grocery stores and either trade goods or will allow me to purchase at cost...granted not much of it is local or organic by any means but I have in the past traded for chips, soda, juice, snack cakes, energy drinks, tortillas, pizza crusts, frozen pizzas, ice cream, bread, salsas, crackers, beef jerky, and milk. Oddly enough, I have also managed to acquire things for free by being in the right place at the right time--such as plants and some of the above listed products.
Since I've been into organics and locals, I have traded veggies, fruit, raw milk and milk products and local meat...but really the best part of all of that is the enduring friendships I've created in the process.

Heather @ SGF said...

Cooking Lady - Ooh! I AM jealous!

Tammy - You've hit on the most important part (I think) of bartering... Relationships! You're right. We used to ask neighbors for ingredients we were missing, but now we don't want to bother our neighbors so we drive to the store instead. What happened to community? Bartering helps to reestablish our links to each other. I hadn't even thought of that. Thanks for pointing it out!

Anonymous said...

i do all my bartering on it's a great site to barter your skills/services. i love it and have had success using it. take a look at the site.

Jennifer Squires Ross said...

I'm definitely going to have to try that bread recipe that uses honey, thanks for sharing!

Bartering always reminds me of "one red paperclip":

Heather @ SGF said...

Jennifer - Thanks for the link and I hope you enjoy the bread. It's one of our favorites!

Heather @ SGF said...

Anonymous - Thanks for the link! I'll check it out!