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Timebanks are being created all across the U.S. so that people can help members of their community in whatever way they can, and get help in return, though probably not from the person they helped. Hours spent helping are banked, and all skills are treated the same.

Timebanks are a bit subversive that way, treating driving neighbors to doctor appointments the same as preparing their taxes or fixing their plumbing. Most subversive of all is that no payment is involved. All that, and you get to know your neighbors, too. It’s bartering, with the help of the Internet.

I joined the timebank in my town about a year ago, offering the garden-consulting services that I used to charge $80/hour for. Now when people ask for my help I tell them it’s free, but only through the timebank. My offer is listed in the “garden/yard” category with offers like the following:

  • I can help plant flowers, shrubs and trees. Just planted 200 trees with 35 volunteers in one morning.
  • I’m glad to pull ’em up – and to learn about what you’re growing!
  • Lifetime organic gardener. Let’s make it beautiful.
  • Will weed (& mulch) small areas.
  • I can rake, weed beds, do general cleanup, planting under supervision.
  • Willing to weed, mulch and plant. Really enjoy native plant gardens that attract wildlife.
  • I will weed your ornamental or food gardens. Good knowledge of weed recognition and handling.
  • I am available to help other people weed their gardens. We can work together or I can do it on my own.
  • Gardening for wildlife, water conservation and nature is my specialty.

And from someone offering compost help: “Started composting before it was fashionable. Was featured on First Edition tv show in the 1980’s.”

Garden/yard help is one of many categories of offers, shown above with the number of offers in each. All this from our 90 active members.

So far, my garden-coaching has gotten me some home cooking, especially delicious soups, plus a bunch of banked hours available for me to “spend” for things I need – like some minor home repairs I can think of.

It took months of research and testing of online timebanking programs before our organizers chose hOurworld, and it’s working well for us. The home page for our group is butt ugly but who cares?

Anyone else have a way to barter gardening skills and know-how for other services?

Posted by

Susan Harris
on February 20, 2015 at 9:48 am, in the category What’s Happening.