The Frugal Gardener (debrief)!

So The Frugal Gardener took place this past Saturday, and it was such a fascinating experience that I thought I would share another short reflection about the process.

frugalgardener1The workshop was, overall, a great success. The feedback I received from the participants was positive, and the energy and discussion that arose from the group was really the highlight of the experience for me. We had a wonderful conversation about the challenges and opportunities that are possible when exploring non-monetary exchange and building an informal economy.

Offering a workshop without exchanging cash was a huge learning experience for me. I learned that the clearer I can become about what non-monetary exchanges would be truly relevant to my life, the more likely I’ll be to incorporate bartering into my business in a meaningful way.

There is no doubt that the experiment of offering The Frugal Gardener was worthwhile from the perspective of learning and community building! The degree to which non-monetary exchange could become a meaningful part of my livelihood remains to be seen, and I look forward to future opportunities for exploration and experimentation. Thanks to everyone who participated for creating such a rich learning environment!

For fun, here is an inventory of what was exchanged for The Frugal Gardener:

What I offered:
The design and delivery of a three-hour workshop on the subject of Frugal Gardening for 20 participants (including approximately 10-12 hours of preparation and 5 hours on the workshop day).

frugalgardener7My hard costs included:
Venue rental (unfortunately my attempt to negotiate a non-monetary exchange failed): $75
Poster printing: $25
Parking ticket: $10

What was offered in exchange (Please note that no single item necessarily represents the entirety of one person’s trade. In other cases, one item might have been exchanged for more than one person’s participation.):

  • frugalgardener8Assistance (before and after workshop) (2 hours)
  • Assistance (before and during workshop) (2 hours)
  • Assistance (before, during, and after upcoming workshop) (4-5 hours)
  • Apples, frozen (home preserved) (1 bag)
  • Beans, Heinz baked (commercial) (1 tin)
  • Beef (grass fed, ground) (2 lb)
  • Beverages for workshop participants (coffee, tea, cream, sugar)
  • Book (The Urban Gardener, by Elspeth Thomson)
  • Bran muffin mix & recipe (homemade) (1 container)
  • Bread, sourdough (home baked) (1 loaf)
  • Brownies, black bean (home baked) (1 pan)
  • Candle, beeswax  (artisanal)
  • Card, Thank you
  • Cash ($70)
  • CD, The Lonesome Weekends (2 CDs)
  • Cinnamon buns for workshop participants (homemade) (4 dozen)
  • Clothing (homemade) (1-2 pieces)
  • frugalgardener4Coconut milk, Thai Kitchen (commercial) (3 tins)
  • Container, ornamental (ornamental)
  • Gloves, work (2 pair)
  • Honey, raw (500 grams)
  • Lentils, sprouted (2 cups)
  • Muffins for workshop participants (homemade) (2 dozen)
  • Pasta elbows (commercial) (1 bag)
  • Pasta sauce, Hunt’s (commercial) (1 tin)
  • Painting (original) (future trade)
  • Pears, No Name (commercial) (1 tin)
  • frugalgardener2Pickles, cucumber (home preserved) (1 quart)
  • Pickles, cauliflower (home fermented) (1 quart)
  • Pussy Willow (2 pieces)
  • Rhubarb (home preserved) (1 quart)
  • Sauerkraut (organic, homemade) (6-8 ounces)
  • Salve, Gardener’s (hand lotion, commercial) (1 tube)
  • Seeds, garden, Salt Spring Seeds (6 packs)
  • Seeds, garden, Brother Nature (2 packs)
  • frugalgardener3Seeds, ornamental grass, Pure Prairie (3 packs)
  • Sidekicks, Lipton (commercial, expired) (3 packages)
  • Stones, garden (hand painted) (2 stones)
  • Tea (1 customer card good for 50g of tea)
  • Tincture, “Spring Cleanse” (home prepared) (1 bottle)
  • Tuna, No Name (commercial) (1 tin)
  • Water kefir drink (homemade) (8 ounces)
  • Water kefir drink (homemade) (1 quart)
  • Water kefir starter (homemade) (1 pint)
  • Website work (2-3 hours) (future trade)

And the stats:

  • 21 people pre-registered. Of those, 3 canceled in advance and 2 more didn’t come and didn’t give notice (none of the cancelations had completed their portion of the exchanges)
  • 3 people turned up without pre-registering. One left halfway through without making a contribution. The other two didn’t feel prepared to make a non-monetary exchange and so were adamant about paying cash (which I gratefully accepted to help cover the cost of the space rental and printing).
  • 19 people participated

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