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Bartering to learn.

There a burgeoning do-it-yourself ethic happening these days. Frugality and environmentalism are coming together to inspire people to make their own clothing and furniture, repair what they already have, and learn how to do that from each other--often brought together via the Internet. Combine that with the growing movement to explore community-based economic alternatives, and you the notion of bartering for instruction.

Trade School, an alternative, self-organized school that runs on barter, was started by a small group of friends in New York City in 2010.

Their first month of operation saw more than eight hundred people participating. They ran out of time slots for teachers to teach and classes filled up so quickly that they had to turn people away. Since then, the original group has helped facilitate self-organized Trade School locations in nineteen cities around the world, including New York, London, Singapore, Milan, Barcelona, Glasgow, Indianapolis, Amsterdam, Toronto, and Bangkok.

It's a simple idea: Teachers propose classes and ask for barter items from students as payment. For example, if you teach a class about making butter, you could ask students to bring heavy cream or jars, or you could ask for something unrelated: from bread, music tips, and clothes, to vegetables, or help with finding an apartment. To sign up, students must agree to bring that barter item for the teacher. It's built on mutual respect, the social nature of exchange, the idea that everyone has something to offer.

Help for organizing your own Trade School, as well as schedules and links to an existing one in your city can be found on the website at

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Title Annotation:The Media Beat; Trade School, a school that runs on barter
Author:Priesnitz, Wendy
Publication:Natural Life
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Nov 1, 2012
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