Successful Swaps: Barter Instead of Buy

Readers share their stories of money-free success while bartering, obtaining all sorts of trades for labor, goods, and services.

| November/December 1976

  • trade
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers share their most successful swaps.

  • trade

In a past issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Bill Wodraska shared some of his thoughts regarding one of mankind'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.

Meals for Handy Men

We have quite a swap going here every Sunday (and holidays too).

I'm considered a good cook . . . and with our garden, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, and so forth we usually have plenty of food. On Sundays I prepare a meal large enough for 20 to 25 people and invite a regular group of relatives and friends-most of whom are our children's age-with huge appetites, strong muscles, and plenty of energy. In return for a few hours of work (tilling the garden, working on the cars, repairing the roof, mowing the yard, helping kill and dress the birds and rabbits . . . the list is endless) these wonderful people get all the food they can eat plus the enjoyment from a few games of croquet, volleyball, badminton, or baseball in our big yard.

My husband and I are semi-disabled and don't know how we'd get the work done without the generous help of these young people. Sometimes my husband does the cooking on the charcoal grill and I take the day off just to visit with our many guests . . . but either way we know that through these get-togethers we receive much more pleasure-and help - than our cooking warrants. What's more, we think the young folks enjoy themselves, too.

Stonington, Ill.

Clothes for Hay

Barter really became important to Ken and me on our small farm in Ontario . . . which provided adequate space for our two goats to range but wasn't large enough for us to raise our own hay and straw for winter.

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