The brainchild of some neighbourhood friends, the Rheenendal Blitz Barter is aiming to become a regular, weekly event where we can all get together to trade or surplus supplies. The main aim is to have a venue where we can regularly trade surplus produce, skills and supplies, without trading fiat currency (which is in short supply everywhere!)
Of course we were expecting everybody to arrive with their surplus Tomatoes (it being That Time Of Year) but in the event, only one person there had fresh Tomatoes. We doubted, at first, that anybody would want them, but it wasn't long before they'd been traded away.
The light rain and cool weather deterred nobody. We were all extremely happy at the turnout, while still hoping that the event will gain momentum (and many more barterers) in the coming weeks and months. More than 10 people arrived, despite a complete lack of advertising. We really need to get a banner attracting attention to it and some notices on local noticeboards.
Personally I was looking for someone who would be willing to barter our goods (homebaked Rusks, Jams, Muffins and a selections of vegetable seed varieties, organically grown) in exchange for a lube job for my pickup. (The day I start fiddling with mechanical things, you can reliably declare them Dead.) In the end I traded some of J's Rusks for Olive Tapenade ( which we love) and a jar of preserved Figs. The Chocolate Cherry Muffins mostly traded for cash - not quite the spirit of the thing, I guess, but nobody could resist the aroma of muffins fresh out of the oven! ;-)
I don't think we'll be able to make it to next week's barter session, since we're on our way to Gansbaai and points West for a week or so, but I certainly look forward to future Blitz Barters. Our community so sorely needs a place where we can get together without an overt agenda. A Village Green. Without a common space for casual gatherings, any community is doomed, and a growing segment of the Rheenendal community are really keen for us all to get onto a more sustainable path. I certainly aim to support the Blitz Barter as much as I can, and I have high hopes that it will be a great community-builder.
We're very grateful that Portland Mini Mark - our best-by-far- community shop, selling everything from Chicken pieces to Tractor Oil - is willing to host our barter events, since the shop is such a visible, central venue. They're a true pillar of the community!