Until I moved to Southwestern Virginia, barter was a term I barely understood.
The people I knew in Redondo Beach, San Jose and in Charlottesville did little bartering, except in land transactions. I could understand the activity, but had little motivation to engage in it myself because I never seemed to have anything to trade and it always seemed easier to just use money.
I didn’t realize how much of life I was missing!
In Floyd County, there is a long history of bartering. In fact, The Independent Republic of Floyd even had a community currency that enabled one to trade hours of work for goods and services. The Floydian Scrip still exists although the issuing organization Floyd Hours, Inc. is currently inactive.
People barter when they are rich in skills and short of money and this has been the situation in Floyd County for many years.
Bartering creates and strengthens relationships in the community also. You find out that someone is bartering firewood for art, or electrical work for the use of an automobile and your mind goes into gear to get something you need and want for stuff or skills that you have in abundance.
I had made it known that I wanted to help local artisans develop marketing material and would show them how to establish an Internet presence. There was plenty of interest but not much progress.
Once I also made it clear that I was open to bartering, I have had my kitchen and dining room painted and I am getting a huge pile of logs reduced to firewood, while I design websites and produce promotional materials.
I get to do something creative that I enjoy and I exchange with someone who has professional skills in a particular area and we all win in the end.
The fact that I can do this and work in my home office overlooking a neighboring pasture makes it all the more ideal. My commuting is limited to driving into town for a coffee or lunch or to the Post Office. Everything else can be done at home.
Now, if I could only work out a way to barter for a small garden tractor, life would be perfect.
Until then, I’ll be content that I can do marketing services for people who need what I supply and could not otherwise afford it.
Someone could possibly coin a slogan, "Barter is everybody’s business!
In Floyd, at least, somebody already has…
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