Exchanging around Australia

From the LETS South Community Barter March Newsletter

We met up with Jess Fritze and Luis Londono at the veggie swap last Saturday! This is their story and contribution to our Newsletter!

Exchanging around Australia
In March 2014, my partner Luis and I started travelling through Australia. As we go we are trying as far as possible to participate in exchange networks like LETS, HelpX and Couchsurfing as well as making use of public services and public places. This is both an economic decision and a personal challenge. We are on our way to live in Colombia (Luis’ home) for a while and wanted to see some of Australia before we went. But seeing as we both quit our (day) jobs to do this, have a mortgage to pay and need our savings for our imminent relocation half way around the world, we are on a pretty tight budget. We are also both passionate about exploring the potential of alternative economics.

I had joined my local LETS when I started university in Melbourne in the days of printed newsletters but, despite an initial rush of enthusiasm, I had never really managed to use the system. Some 15 years later when we were contemplating this trip, Luis and I joined Moreland LETS (in Melbourne) again. In the age of the internet, suddenly exchanging seems so much more possible. In particular, we were excited to discover that we could trade not only locally but between networks.

In Melbourne we offered everything we could think of that we could contribute from unwanted household items to Spanish lessons, chocolate making to IT assistance. In our first trade we received some (delicious) trout from a LETS member in Pascoe Vale with an incredible Aquaponics set up. We responded to a request for some old Christmas cards by cleaning out my ‘craft’ cupboard. But it was slow going. When we started planning for the trip in earnest things started looking up.

We started watching the ‘wants’ and offerings lists on exchange networks on our journey – Port Fairy, Adelaide, Fleurieu and Perth as well as a few in Queensland. In the end, as we cleaned out our cupboards in preparation for our trip, we discovered that we could answer a few ‘wants’ in Adelaide. When we left Melbourne we took with us some bits and pieces to exchange and spent an afternoon in Adelaide dropping them off.

The plan from here is to find opportunities to trade a few hours of work say gardening, painting or IT assistance for credit that we can use to exchange for fresh veggies and eggs as we go. Of course doing this also means that we get to meet wonderful interesting people on the way!

After a few weeks in Adelaide and surrounds we contacted Jeff at Fleurieu LETS about some eggs. Due to a problematic chook he had none to spare but let us know about the share stall in Willunga.


Here we are cooking our chickpeas with kale and Willunga farmers’ market onions and garlic!

We turned up to meet Jeff and after a chat with Wil walked away with two bunches of kale! When Luis went back to take a photo he came back with salsa!
Thank you! Jess Fritze and Luis Londono

If you are interested, you can follow our trip (and exchange experiences) through Jess’ blog at: http://losrojitosinoz.blogspot.com.au

The Willunga veggie swap started at the Green Light Festival on November 16 last year on the Quarry market site.Many people thought it was a great idea, so the next swap was on December 7 at the Craft market in High street in Willunga, right next to the Green Room Cafe. With a break over Xmas and the Tour Down Under, there has
been a veggie swap market every week.

Last Saturday we also conducted A Quality clothes swap, which was a great success! LETS SOUTH has provided gazebo’s, chairs and tables for the swaps and other people at the fortnightly craft markets at the Green Room. We now have a list of 50 people interested in supporting the swaps, many of which are Lets South members. With a growing interest from people passing by and increased swap activity LETS SOUTH has offered to run both swap in conjunction with a fortnightly LETS SOUTH barter market. So, swaps every Saturday at the Green Room site and LETS SOUTH mini-markets fortnightly starting April 5 on the same site. If anyone is interested in the swaps please bring whatever can be swapped or shared.

photovegswap2In the coming weeks we are also interested in organising swaps of bicycles (including parts) and good quality sporting gear, wooden toys, interesting books and cd’s, etc.
For more information or offering to help email Wil Heidt.

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