Asheville, North Carolina is a strange and mystical land. I had very little expectations for North Carolina, and what little I had expected was wiped out as soon as we drove in. We arrived in Asheville and were immediately soaked in the counter-culture atmosphere that emanates from every part of town. The only way to describe the vibe is that “hippie” is the norm, and everyone else is out of place.
We figured the best way to fill our days in Asheville was to wander and follow the spirit of adventure. In 48 hours, it led us to an underground circus, vegan restaurants, and an off-the-grid community skatepark. Then we spotted it. A hand-drawn poster stapled to an electrical post. We were invited to the “Really, Really Free Market.” They had me hooked at “free”. I love free stuff. I love bargains, deals, coupons, hand-me-downs, scavenged food, anything free. I love it. It completes me on a deeper level. Seriously. I love it.
So we went. On a Saturday late morning we walked into a park and were greeted by a troupe of randoms. They were organizing piles of clothes, cassette tapes, DVDs, home knick-knacks, and even old computers. We immediately started folding and sorting clothes. Baby clothes in this pile. Men’s pants in another. We discovered they gather once a month to provide a space for the community to give and receive. To unload items that have gone unused. To seek things that are desperately needed but cannot be afforded. That random Saturday in a new town, the Kingdom was present.
"That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you: you shall not sow, or reap the aftergrowth, or harvest the unpruned vines. For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you: you shall eat only what the field itself produces."
"Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common."
Find a “Really, Really, Free Market” near you.
Start one! Host an official market or simply create a space within your church, dorm, business, apartment complex, etc.
Utilize The Freecycle Network to give and receive usable items online.
What do you have to give? What clothes haven’t you worn in the last six months? What items haven't been used in the last six months?
How could someone else benefit from those items?
How can you reduce your consumption and rely on the generosity of community?