Bartering for Goods and Services

Homesteaders share their stories of bartering for goods and services, bartering everything from guitar and piano lessons, leveling soil with tractor and blade, grazing cattle on pasture land and weavings to ground whole wheat flour.

| November/December 1977

Get ideas on bartering for goods and services through stories from these successful swapping homesteaders.

In Issue No. 37, Bill Wodraska shared some of his thoughts regarding one of mankind's better ideas — bartering for goods and services — 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 (and that means you!) who sends us a short (200 words or less) account of an actual barter that's good enough to print will receive — as the folks on the following pages have — a twelve-month subscription (or extension of same) to THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS,.

When my wife and I went back to the land, we bought some acreage with an old barn on it and set out to remodel the barn into a house. Keeping our costs down was a constant challenge, so we soon learned the advantage of bartering.

One neighbor traded us the use of his tractor and blade (to level our ground) for the hay from our four-acre field. Another local person dug a mile of waterline trenches for us with his backhoe in exchange for the use of our pasture to graze his cattle. When we graded out the driveway, we saved a large heap of topsoil that we were later able to trade to a friend for the installation of our carpet. And, being musicians, we gave enough guitar lessons to substantially reduce the cost of siding on our barn (as we still call it).

The swaps go on and on. After more than a year on our project we've met many new friends through barter . . . and the barn is really beginning to feel like home.

— Hank & Eulaine Blumenthal, Renton, Washington

tonya harris
2/11/2008 4:45:03 PM

A few months ago I had come up with an idea to turn bartering into a non profit organization that would allow large community bartering.I am going to call it BARTER FOR BREAD...I typed in Barter For Bread in my google box and a few stories down I came across this one: ) I found it charming and it filled me with hope..I was beginning to wonder if it might work.I live in Los Angeles and the integrity of the people is never truly tested and community can be scarece unless it is in the arts and honestly life is more than the arts! I saw people starved for community as well I kept dipping into my own pocket to help others out fully capable of working and then some down on their luck..I thought..A food bank that allowed others to barter for anothers skills in trade or for food from the food bank: ) It would not be straight across barter but a community of bartering.I found your example a beautiful one and if I may I would like to post your story in my blog.It would mean a great deal to me if its ok with you.Thank you for affirming my faith in others seeking solutions that create bonds. sincerely . t

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