Last night some of us in and around the Green Acres Neighborhood (see this and this) got together to inaugurate this new year of 2012, and to decide whether or not we want to start a Gifting Circle. And . . . we do! Not just to exchange more stuff, services, tools, skills, not to just connect unused goods with unmet needs, but but to help recreate the deep sense of security that comes when we reforge community bonds.
As long as money is plentiful, we don’t need each other, because we can always buy what we need. But when money disappears, our only choice for survival that is also a thrival, is to band together and help each other out. Instinctively, we all know this. No wonder we decided to start this experiment in moving towards a gift economy.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of the group, about a dozen of us including two children, as we sat around the fire eating, drinking, chatting, and eventually, discussing, seriously, this idea of starting a circle of non-monetary exchange based on gifting rather than trading. We decided to start officially two weeks from now, on February 19th, with another potluck and meet-up at my house. Lucy, who lives down the street, will moderate the next meeting.
In my imagination, I see gifting circles as little seedling beds for community that can easily germinate inside neighborhoods, especially those that are feeling the “pinch” of economic austerity. The point is, to transform our existing neighborhoods into urban eco-villages, centers of activity where we live, work and play, in place. And feel connected, and safe, and nourished, and deeply, resonantly alive to the whole of creation, grateful for all that is.
Here’s a good primer on Gift Circles: opencollaboration.wordpress.com. BTW: this open collaboration site looks very interesting. You might look it over, not just for Gift Circle FAQs.
Here’s Albert Bates on the subject of eco-villages.