Give and Take

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Really free market economy CAT.JPG

A Give and Take is one of the simplest ways to promote the gift economy, it's a version of what is called in USA a Really Really Free Market (RRFM). i.e. A stall where people are free to either come and give things away to others or to help themselves to whatever they find on the stall.

Give and Take Chester.jpg


Choose somewhere that is visible and where the items on display are safe from exposure to the elements. It is usually good to ocupy a stall at a larger event, either a one-off event such as a festival or a regular occurrence such as a market. Organisers are often glad to have some non-commercial input and can often be persuaded to waive stallholding or other fees if you ask nicely.

Advance Publicity[edit]

This may be the most important factor behind organising a successful Give and Take, especially if you wish to do it as a one-off event. Clearly explain to people in advance how it works, so that they can bring things to put on the stall. Especially if you are part of a special event such as a fair, people may have come a long way to attend, so will be unlikely to go back to pick up items to contribute to the stall. Therefore it is good to notify them in advance that their input would be appreciated.

Give and Take publicity.jpg

Running The Stall[edit]

The only thing you have to do to run the stall is to make sure you clearly explain to people how it works. i.e. No one needs to give items - anyone is welcome to take whatever they feel like. Write this down clearly, since otherwise some people will not get it. One advantage of the Give and Take system over a normal stall is that you actually want people to take things off the stall, so you don't have any security worries. i.e. You can leave the stall for as long as you like. Some people just set up the stall at the start of the day and come back at the end of the day to pack it away.


Give and Takes are easy to start, you just put a lot of things on a table or space that are still good that you don't need any more and they are are easy to run. Even when you put one on for a day you still get people giving. Over time they get bigger and naturally evolve into Really Really Free Markets. They are like people sharing a commons. A beach is a good example. Or blackberry picking.


Connahs Quay 1992.jpg

The first regular Give and Take events in UK were held by the transition to moneyless gift economy group Creating Welhealth, as an offshoot of their transition to moneyless land project, including Vic Button and Frank Bowman. Realising this was different and unique it became an organisation in and of itself in August 93. Their first Give and Take was held Christmas eve 1992 in North Wales. From 1992 to 1999 they held Give and Takes weekly at the Connah's Quay outdoor market, and it was a regular event from 1992 up to 1999 after which it carried on still to today 26 years later 2018 being run as a mobile stall, at local and national events, at a farm, it ran fulltime for 6 months at the Peoples indoor market at Wrexham in 2012, and at the Chester indoor market from 2011 to 2016. From 96 to 2004 they were members of Clwyd Let's a North Wales Local exchange trading scheme, they operated money-less and ran Give and Take stalls in Let's fairs that were held regularly through the year. So they have valuable experience of how the moneyless Gift economy works with others who trade! Over all this time, 26 years operating the moneyless space people often requested to give money, but there was no one to pay with money not being the object and all being volunteers so they had a tin on the stall and accepted donations, which people were free to take as well. Over several years they collected thousands of pounds and that is held in a Give and Take account and it is there for purchasing Give and Take land to increase the size of the free moneyless Give and Take. The name "Give and Take" was coined by Jackie.[1][2]


  1. Interview for the Unwelcome Guests Radio Show
  2. Welhealth Give and Take Newsletter #60, Jan to March 2013