Free Lives

The last few days I have been over working. This first Sunday of the month I got a double dose of service, soup kitchen cooking in the morning and Free Farm Stand in the afternoon. Yet no matter how tired I am, the Free Farm Stand is like a restorative yoga pose for me that carries me through the day. I don’t want to get too hippy dippy here, but my explanation for this is that the good energy that karma yoga attracts is powerful and is regenerative.

I am still admiring the beauty of the many different people that come by the Free Farm Stand. Plus we get the most glamorous volunteers who are so sweet, generous,  idealistic, and hard working.  This in my opinion goes a long way in a world turned upside down.


This Sunday I had so much produce and bread that I couldn’t haul it to the Stand in one load so I had to make two trips. Stanford glean brought 146lbs of citrus all gleaned on campus. A neighbor came by with a bag of lemons too, Pam brought more goodies from her garden to share, including wild arugula which is so strong and yummy, and we had 6lbs of strawberries from the Free Farm. I also had more lettuce left over from the Ferry Building Farmers Market than we could give away so I took my left-overs to the Food Bank (plus the extra bread we had left over).

Zach brought artichokes he grew from a plant he picked up at the stand. He said  one plant had a lot of artichokes on it…maybe 20!

neighbor brings by some lemons and herbs from his garden

I brought more seedlings from our Free Farm greenhouse which are very popular and our first batch of  cut flowers.

lovely Alstroemerias

I am feeling like an alien from another planet these days as friendly forms of capitalism seep into our lives and our culture is taken over by seemingly cool forms of economic relationships. Coming up for an example is Homestead Skillshare Festival at Hayes Valley Farm May 26 which a lot of my friends and groups that I admire are participating in. It seems like it will be a great event, but there is $20 donation (a donation should be voluntary) or 2 timebank hours to get in.  Some of  used to say why not put “no one turned away for lack of funds” on fliers for paid events. Now should we say “no one turned away if they are too crazy to timebank”?

I am sorry that I see time banking, alternative forms of currency, and barter as forms of capitalism though disquised as something else.  I am dismayed by the “sharing economy” that sounds so cute and friendly but distorts in my mind what sharing should really be about. Now we have companies like Air BnB (they came and volunteered at our farm) which has created a marketplace for people to rent out a spare room or their entire apartment if they are out of town.  Contrast that with couchsurfing.org where there is a network of people sharing their homes and no money is involved. I must admit I have a particular dislike of renting out rooms and landlords (though I know they come in all stripes).  It  bothers me that rents are so high here  making it harder for people without much money to live here  (it is ironic that some  people are renting out rooms  on Air BnB to supplement their income).

I am still pushing for Free. We just need to trust in the divine that we will be taken care of on the material plane. We do not need to worry about paying it  backward or forward, nor be concerned that if I do something for you, that I should get something back, or that if I have something I don’t want or need I can swap it with you for something you have that I  want.

If we have something that we aren’t  in need of why not give it away to someone else that wants it or needs it? Freecycling is a beautiful example of this or the Really Really Free Market, the free section of Craigslist, or the sharing that went on at the Occupy encampments.  There is a book out there with an interesting title “What’s Yours is Mine: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption”. It promotes the idea of sharing, swaping, trading, time banking, and creating networks of people engaging in market type transactions among themselves (peer-to-peer  marketplaces). I say “What is Yours  is Everyone’s”.  We are only care takers of stuff so how can we engage in activities that assume we own anything?

Sometime I feel I am so inarticulate. I just watched this video of a talk about money by Charles Einstein at the Santa Fe Time Bank.  I think he really is on the mark about the problems with money in our society though I am still not convinced that Time Banks are the solution:

Living in the Gift from Charles Eisenstein on Vimeo.

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