Society & Culture

‘Buy Nothing’ group has 300 Winooski/Colchester members

by Rachel Weed, Community News Service

“Buy Nothing” groups — places where members can ask and give goods and services for free — are growing daily, including in Winooski.

The Facebook group “Buy Nothing Colchester/Winooski, Vermont” has collected 301 members since its start date, February 26, 2021. 

The project began in 2013 as an experiment to promote hyper-local gifting economies. Since then, it has expanded to be a worldwide social movement with at least 4.25 million participants in 44 countries.

The principles of this group are based on trust and integrity. The hope is that being a part of a group like this will create a mindset shift, one where community members can look to and depend on their neighbors, according to the groups administrators. 

Many members have shared their favorite part about participating in a gift exchange is the human interaction it brings which gives people the opportunity to meet neighbors who have common interests.

Members can ask for just about anything. Common posts are about appliances, favors, food, and more likely than not, requests are fulfilled and old stuff finds a new home.  

Saving money isn’t the only incentive to participate in these groups. Another main goal was to address the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle, and also the lesser-known R’s: refuse and rethink. 

To become a member of the group, you first have to read and agree to its rules and provide your current living address. This agreement acts as an application, and once applied, each profile has to be approved by the group administrator. Each Facebook profile can only be a member of one group at a time.

The Colchester/Winooski group is administered by Ashley Adams, a social worker, and Ginseng MacKay-Tisbert, a creative writer. 

Both women sought out to administer the group on their own goodwill, as it is a volunteer-run organization. They each had to complete intensive training modules where they learned how to uphold the group’s philosophies and morals. 

Though the group is still growing, there is a charm to the close-knit page.

“We’re kind of lucky to have this limited size, people can see everything. There’s not as many posts happening so everybody kind of sees everything out there,” says Adams.

MacKay-Tisbert shared a personal anecdote about a successful exchange with the group. She explained that she yearned to go on a backpacking trip, but did not have the proper gear, so decided to reach out to the group. 

Upon hearing back, she “was able to borrow gear, through the Buy Nothing group, and then return it, which is really nice because winter backpacking gear is really expensive,” said MacKay-Tisbert.

Almost every day, new profiles are requesting to join, and existing members offering gifts that no longer serve a purpose for them. 

Categories: Society & Culture

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