A Gift Economy: Generosity on HSCO

How many of you work hard to make a living, but still give of your own time, money and resources to help those who might need it? How many of you gift your neighbours excess produce to make them smile or to save them money with no expectation of return? How many of you have given a gift and felt that warm inner glow inside that comes when we act from a intention of kindness and generosity?

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If I know folk, many of you! I refuse to buy into the narrative that everyone is looking after themselves. I see generosity all around me. I choose to focus on that, rather than stinginess and meanness. We become, after all, what we think – and we create our world from seeds of intention.

Speaking of seeds, I recieved a gift from @sagescrub in the post this week. I’d noticed that some of his seeds were offered for FREE. Huh? Isn’t it a marketplace – you know, the kind where people make money from their ethical and sustainable goods? Why free? Well – as Homesteaders Co-op explains on their website:

Because we are operating different than other marketplaces that prioritize profit over people. We are putting people in front of profit. A marketplace that wants to squeeze as much profit as possible out of their vendors and their customers would never encourage gifts unless they were sure it would mean more money for them.

Did you know that some vendors offer gifts on Homesteader’s Co-Op? @quochy, for example, offers a free e-book on setting up a worm compost bin. Check that out here.

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You can also find seeds that @sagescrub offers. I was quite lucky because he went that little bit further and threw in some bonus seeds for me. Sadly, it’s the southern hemisphere, and I have to wait for Spring! But those herbal seeds are going to make a difference in my life. You see, by planting more herbs and food plants, I am able to gain a little more food and home medicine sovereignty. It’s going to be more easy on my pocket so I can spend more at Homesteaders Co-Op. AND I can collect the seeds from them and pay them forward to someone else. A world of flowers, food and herbs? What could go wrong?

Homesteaders Co-Op offers a hybrid gift economy:

Hybrid because our vendors need to make money for the hard work to create their products and offer their services and I don’t want to take that away or devalue it. Unfortunately most of us cannot envision ourselves living in a world where all exchanges are gifted because we are so entrenched in a culture that demands money to operate. But I do hope that we can explore together what benefits come to us not as individuals, but as a community, when we operate in a gift economy. How might this inform the future that we want to build for ourselves and our children?

When you click on the ‘Gifts’ section (this is kept separate so as not to distract from the main vendor’s products – remember, HSCO was designed to help small ethical vendors make a living!) and click on the gift, it comes up with a box just like this:

This allows us to think about the value of the gift in terms of it’s value outside a more common fiat or steem economy. What is our relationship to this product? How might it improve our lives? It also stops that gimme gimme gimme, because it’s free – allowing vendors to decide whether the person is genuine or just grabbing an opportunity. As the site explains, vendors should have the right to gift to who they want. They should be able to make a living, as well as have the opportunity to be generous when and if they choose.

The nice thing about this too is that it helps build community relationships, and that’s pretty lovely – both on the blockchain, and in the wider community of non-steem users.

Because that’s really what Homesteaders Co-Op is about – putting people over profit.

Do you take part in a gift economy?

How important is the value of generosity in your life?

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