By Eme Gerle and Josh Cranston
Fresno’s Really Free Market was born out of a hope to bring the community together for an exchange of things, ideas and conversations. We live in a culture of such excess where we almost always have something that we do not want, need or use; it’s just taking up space in the garage or home. On trash days, we see piles of all this stuff being put to the curb; and while some of it may get picked up by the occasional pedestrian, much of it goes to the dump and people spend what little money they have to buy a new one or go without.
So instead, a free market. Because all those things I’ve acquired over the years collecting dust or taking up space in the corners of my room might just be exactly what someone else was looking for. It’s also a great time to meet and connect briefly with other people in Fresno—to build bridges around this lovely city and strengthen our community.
As we watch capitalism fail, it’s important to start considering new economic models and ways of interacting with each other and our communities. The Really Free Market is an experiment in some such new possible system. The idea of mutual aid rather than exchange, of cooperation rather than competition.
People who come to these are confused at first; the idea of just taking what you want and leaving what you don’t is very different than the cash system we’re used to. Everyone leaves happy once they get used to the idea and go away with their newfound treasures or much needed items.
The Really Free Market is held every second Saturday of the month at C.A.F.E. Infoshop at 935 F St. from noon to 5 p.m. Whatever is left over at the end is donated to local charities and Sunday Food Not Bombs.
Eme Haas pursues growth and the development of community while working on the study of anthropology at Fresno City College. Contact her at email@example.com.
Josh Cranston is a community organizer who works to create a better world for all beings. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.