Transition Ottawa

Building Community Resilience Through Action

Someone passed on this article to me.

It's about a woman who has been living without money for the last 13 years. What stood out for me is how her journey started when she set up a "a Tauschring — a sort of swap shop — a place where people can exchange their skills or possessions for other skills and possessions, a money-free zone where a haircut could be rendered in return for car maintenance; a still-functioning but never-used toaster be exchanged for a couple of second-hand cardigans. She called it Gib und Nimm, Give and Take."

This is very similar to the Really, Really Free Market movement.

One of my visions for Transition is this idea of a swap shop or salvage shed in every neighbourhood, where people could take the stuff they no longer needed or had use for and folks could come and have a look for and take away the things they need. I love the idea of exchanging skills and services as well!

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You might want to look for "recruits" for this idea on FullCircles Ottawa, originally Ottawa Freecycle.

FullCircles Ottawa is a community of 9500+ folks involved in "gifting" their surplus stuff.

The freecycling movement has, over the past six years, grown to almost 7,000,000 people in 88 countries around the world.
Jct: You can best accomplish your swapshop with a community currency. I'm coming to run in the Ottawa West-Nepean provincial byelection, maybe I can help you set one up before I leave.
Jct: I always regretted that these recyclers didn't include a LETS currency in their operations. Boy, would it have flown. Maybe they can be induced to amalgamate into an Ottawa LETS Timebank.

Eric Snyder said:
You might want to look for "recruits" for this idea on FullCircles Ottawa, originally Ottawa Freecycle.

FullCircles Ottawa is a community of 9500+ folks involved in "gifting" their surplus stuff.

The freecycling movement has, over the past six years, grown to almost 7,000,000 people in 88 countries around the world.
This worked very well at SFU apparently. I was not involved directly, but spoke to a grad student staying at an on-campus residence that catered for families. They have a room where you leave stuff you don't want, and if you need something, you go see if anything of the sort is there.

I would love to see this happen on a community level, and think it should tie in with community centres, with space for skill-sharing workshops etc.

We do currently have community centres of course, but they are run by the city I think. And they are not local enough. Every group of several blocks could stand to have one, and people could go to more than one, or one could have inter-community visits to strengthen ties within the larger community. I don't like the idea of inter-community soccer matches or other competitions, because although the occasional friendly would be fun, it could become more divisive than uniting some generations down the line.

How would one go about setting something like this up? I think one would have to start by getting to know one's immediate neighbours, and perhaps hosting one or two one-self until a better venue could be arranged - perhaps a local church, or if a community centre is close enough, Of course existing community groups might be a good way to start as well.

More ideas?
Thanks for reviving this thread Tess, I'd missed it when Amber first posted it. The article is inspiring. It appears the woman was thrust toward the life she eventually chose, like many who go through tough experiences.

I think the swap shop idea will inevitably become more prevalent as times get harder. In some communities I see it difficult to start. Where I live we have little interaction with our neighbors. (Partly our fault I admit). Too many of us are caught up in our daily lives to make time to meet new people.

As a techie I can imagine an online system to facilitate trade, but nothing can replace the face-to-face interaction between people. Starting with FullCircles is a good idea. Perhaps it can be used in its current form to advertise "free" services for trade.
"As a techie I can imagine an online system to facilitate trade. Starting with FullCircles is a good idea. Perhaps it can be used in its current form to advertise "free" services for trade.
Jct: A LETS ommunity currency has
1) a Directory of Members' Goods and Services offered and wanted
2) an timebank accounting module keeping score of time given and owed in time or Greendollars.
You have the wherewithal to do 1) already.
And there are plenty of time-barter packages to do 2).
Just announce that all your members may issue IOUs denominated in time to pay for things rather than move them free. It will now draw in not only offers giving stuff away but offers selling stuff for Greendollars.

Hi Amber,

In a small village in Northern Ontario where garbage is taken to the dump, I was involved with three other people some twenty years ago in starting a recycling and share shed. It was a long process but today the community has a sheltered area built by the municipality which houses the large recycle dumpster bins at one end and the  "share shed" at the other. People are encouraged to bring their treasures and place them according to the general categories. Clothing is about the only item not accepted. As a result items have a huge turn over. Nothing remains for very long. The land-fill life was greatly extended and those who needed items were able to find them.

Rosanne

My mother lives in a condo in Toronto.  They have an amazing set up for recycling, composting and swapping.  Basically, there is an area near the recycle bin where residents can free cycle.  The super either sends it off for donation or to the landfill if nobody from the building takes it within a reasonable time.

 

As for skill swapping, they have clubs to help each other out.  

I am actually thinking about transforming my "Branch Out" bakery business into more of a "skills exchange" style. I want to bring value to our skills and help community members swap the knowledge they have with one another. If you are interested I would love to chat about this! I am currently working on different funding applications because I want to develop it into a Social Enterprise. 

Hi Tricia,

Please keep in touch with OCCN as we're starting to create a community currency (early stages) which would mesh well with your business concept.  If you want to learn more a bunch of us will be at the meetup on Dec 13, or check out our website, or join our TO group!  

tks,
Ron

We've just yesterday set up a new "Ottawa Freecycling Community" as a pilot on the new Google+ communities.  If you'd like to check it out here it is:

https://plus.google.com/communities/117145232196013428301/members

 

Eric Snyder

http://ottawa.fullcircles.org

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Awesome! Thanks both Ron and Eric. That is exactly what I am looking for, people that know what is already happening in Ottawa so we can build on it, rather then re-inventing the wheel.

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