Mount Shasta, Calif. —
Imagine living on the fruits of your own labor. Being able, for instance, to trade a bag of cherries picked from your tree for a loaf of freshly baked bread and a jar of honey. Or bartering a pair of handmade earrings for a pound of zucchini and a bunch of basil. Imagine creating a gourmet meal without having to spend a dollar.
Impossible? Not if you frequent the Trader’s Co-op in Mount Shasta.
“At the Co-op, you can barter and trade handcrafted goods, homemade foods, garden produce, seeds and even sprouts,” said Leslie Ellorin, leader of the Co-op. “If you’ve made or grown it, you can bring it.”
“Bartering is more about satisfying needs than just using money to get what we want,” she said. “It’s really a way of life.
The Co-op is a social event, and it builds self esteem; people discover that what they grow or what they create has value.”
“Exchanges during the event teach people to appreciate the worth of their own goods and services,” Ellorin added. “They begin to look at homegrown food as real, to see that it’s as real as the food we get from the store. And to see that homemade items have intrinsic value, too.”
Although the Co-op meets only once a month, bartering is an on-going process. Participants can sign up on one of four lists used year round. One list is entitled, “Services for trade; the second is “Services Desired; the third is “Items for sale or trade,” and the fourth is “Free.”