Bartering Room and Board for Services, Demolition Lumber and Baking for Amusement Rides

The Successful Swaps column shares success stories of people who barter for goods without exchanging any money. This issue includes bartering room and board for services, demolition lumber and baking for amusement rides.

| September/October 1982

  • Cleaning fish bartering for services
    One of my spouse's fishing buddies, for instance, is an auto mechanic . . . and in exchange for cleaning all the fish the two of them catch, my husband receives free repair service for our cars.

  • Cleaning fish bartering for services

The Successful Swaps column shares success stories in bartering, including stories on bartering room and board for homestead services, a demolition crew drops free lumber on a homesteader's property and a mother barters baking for amusement rides for her children. 

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. 

Because the village I live in (a small community in the mountains of Washington state) is quite isolated from any large city, my neighbors and I are self-reliant folks by necessity. For example, we generate all of the electrical "juice" we need with a small-scale hydropower plant, we operate our own drinking water system, and we tackle the inevitable community machinery repairs . . . all in addition to raising most of our food.

Despite these efforts to be self-sufficient, however, we still find that occasionally there's work to be done that requires specific skills which no one in the community can supply . . . such as putting in a bit of complicated electrical wiring or drawing up architectural plans for a new building. And — since our cash flow is limited — in those rare instances when we do have to seek outside help, we turn to barter as a way to "pay" our visitors.

Usually, we trade a week or so of room and board in our backwoods community, basically bartering room and board for services. The village then gets the required work completed, and the volunteer enjoys a free vacation in the mountains! It must be a pretty even exchange, too, because to date our swap offers have never been refused!

In fact, this arrangement has worked out so well for us that I'm surprised more folks don't make similar deals. If you live on a small farm — or in a coveted location in the city — and need help with a chore that's beyond your ability, try trading a week's room and board for the task. I think you'll be pleased with the response you'll get!

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