Barter, Reciprocity and Fair Share

The aim of our small experiment in urban agriculture is NOT to make money.  It is to make a living – and living doesn’t always involve money!  So we’d be more than happy to use other forms of trade that help us to improve our soils and our lives.

We’ll keep a list updated of things that we are happy to barter for our products or services – see the sidebar on the RHS of these pages.  Or you are welcome to make us an offer, especially if you have quality excess produce we could share with others.

We sometimes use Gumtree, Facebook and Streetbank for sharing & trading.  For Facebook, we post in the group ‘Geelong Swap and Sell Natural Produce‘.  If you’re a member of this group, find our posts by searching for the hashtag:  #wattspermaculture.


It’s been said that barter was the precursor to money, but actually it was ‘reciprocity’.  A tricky word, it is the process by which payment for goods or services are NOT necessarily required upfront, but the favour is returned over time.

Most people do it all the time with friends, family and close neighbours without thinking much of it.  You give or loan something to a friend, they return a favour, or are happy to loan you something in the future.

It’s a system based on trust, and can be initiated by either party.

In essence, communities develop elaborate systems of score-keeping – informal ‘mutual credit’ systems are created, and if I don’t eventually honour my obligations under that system, I will be shunned from the community. Source

So while our modern societies with large populations and easy access to cash make reciprocity a little old fashioned, we’d like to suggest that if we’re on a first name basis, we’d be happy to give it a try.  We mightn’t even talk about it – it’ll just happen.

Fair Share

Permaculture design is not just for the well-to-do middle-class.  It can be applied anywhere, and often very cheaply.  You might think that asking us to provide permaculture advice could be prohibitively expensive, but sometimes we can help on the smallest of budgets.

If you have the motivation to create or grow something, and need some advice or physical help, get in contact to ask about our ‘fair share’ rates.  To qualify you need to be on a low income (fair’s fair), and you also need to be reasonably local, say within biking distance from Belmont.


Fair share in permaculture

Fair Share Ethic (Image from