Bartering for Food, Seedlings and Dental Work

The Successful Swaps column shares success stories of people who barter for goods without exchanging any money. This issue includes bartering for food, seedlings and dental work.


| May/June 1978



Jonah Richards found a successful swap in the Bahamas by bartering for food and trading fish for bananas or alfalfa sprouts for mangoes.

Jonah Richards found a successful swap in the Bahamas by bartering for food and trading fish for bananas or alfalfa sprouts for mangoes.


PHOTO: FOTOLIA

The Successful Swaps column shares success stories in bartering, including stories on bartering for food, seedlings and dental work.

In MOTHER EARTH NEWS issue 37, Bill Wodraska shared some of his thoughts regarding one of humankind's better ideas—barter—and offered up an interesting suggestion: "I'd like to see a continuing feature on barter and skill-and-labor exchanges," said Bill. "Maybe MOTHER could even swap subscriptions for contributions to the department. " "You're on!" we replied . . . and announced our still-standing offer: Anyone who sends us a short account of an actual barter that gets printed in this column (write THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS®, Hendersonville, North Carolina) will receive a 12-month subscription (new or extended) to MOTHER.

Living in the Bahamas — where it's generally illegal for a foreigner to work for money — poses an interesting challenge to an experienced barterer like myself. Consequently, I find myself really on the move, bartering for food, trading fish for bananas and papaya, or giving a day's work picking pineapples in exchange for a 50-pound sack of the "pines." I've even swapped alfalfa sprouts (a treat no Bahamian had ever heard of) for mangoes, which — in turn — were bartered for a hot bath.

And there's this wonderful old farmer on the island who has lost most of his eyesight. We often take walks together through the thick bush on his land. Along the way, he'll stop and say, "Look in that tree, spy limes?" Sure enough. The vegetation was so dense that I would have missed 'em, but the old man knew where the limes were just by feel. And he always insisted on giving me some of the fruit for "being his eyes."

Now we're in the U.S. for a short time, and I don't go anywhere without a box of barter, usually some apples or prunes. I trade for just about anything, from a meal to a chiropractic adjustment. We experience more of a feeling of giving what we have and receiving what we need. And isn't that what it's really all about?

— Jonah Richards
Eleuthera, Bahamas





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