In an Aug. 3 New York Times article by A.C. Shilton, Front Porch Forum got a shout out as a platform that people successfully use to barter. When folks have too much zucchini but really need to borrow a hedge trimmer, FPF shines as a way for neighbors to help each other access what they need. Check out the excerpt from the article below:
“Bartering hasn’t been this widespread since its days at the elementary-school lunch table. Front Porch Forum, a hyperlocal social network in Vermont and parts of New York that has long been a hub of bartering, has seen an 83 percent increase in new-member sign-ups this year over the same period last year, said Michael Wood-Lewis, who co-founded the site with his wife, Valerie, as a neighborhood listserv back in 2000. While Front Porch Forum is a way for neighbors to connect on a range of things, recently, appeals for swapping eggs for rhubarb or chicken wire for day lily bulbs have increased, Mr. Wood-Lewis said.”
Read the full article on the modern barter economy here.
With many of us finding more time on our hands, what better opportunity to reflect on ourselves and how we fit into the fabric of our communities? Keep reading to take in a beautiful reflection on the past, giving items a second life, and giving and receiving as part of a close-knit community. We are so grateful to witness these kinds of exchanges on Front Porch Forum!
“I don’t know why it does, since I have known it since moving to Vermont, but I am nevertheless continually surprised by the kindness, thoughtfulness and genuine humanity of our small community of people here. I grew up in South Africa as a privileged white person in the days of the Apartheid regime. But I worked for many years before leaving, as a teacher in the indigenous community that surrounded my home. And from them I learned (amongst other things) how to make something out of very little and always reuse anything that could have another life somehow.
And so, over the years I have developed a passion of my own for finding a use for things that someone else no longer has a use for.
Each time I have posted here, looking for something that might replace going out and buying another new “whatever”, I have received such wonderful responses and I want people to know how heartwarming and reassuring this has been. Particularly now in these times of such uncertainty and personal insecurity.
So thank you to those of you who have been so forthcoming, not just with physical objects, but with ideas, suggestions and perspectives that have all been so helpful. I will probably continue to post here when I think I might need something for our new garden or chicken project.
And of course I am constantly reading the posts of other people’s searches, to see if I could be on the other end, and find a home for something I no longer need.
My wife says that this is a part of me deeply engrained and unlikely to change, something regarding leopards and spots. I think I agree with her.“ • Allen in Ferrisburgh, Vt.
Do you have an observation or reflection to share with your neighbors? Do you have something to give away or that you’re seeking for a project? Post about it on FPF!
If you are ever feeling lonely in one of Vermont’s rural nooks or bustling towns, a post on FPF might just do the trick!
“If you are ever feeling lonely, just post on FPF for crutches. You’ll get lots of emails and you can roam thru the valley visiting and picking them up. And a week later you get to visit again to return them. Thank you all for the offers.” • Ken F., Warren, Vt.
There are countless examples of neighbors helping neighbors on Front Porch Forum! See some recent examples of FPF members in need of specific items, resulting in a huge helping response from their neighbors!
“July 11, 2019: Hey Forum Fam!!!! Need a twin size or full size matress please!!! Just found a room to move into but looking for a bed. Low on cash since most my money will be toward the room. Let me know if y’all have any leads. Thanks!!!
July 13, 2019: The response to the mattress situation was astronomically great!!! I think the Forum is the best thing I’ve come across as far as people helping their community!!!” • David H., Montpelier, Vt.
“A few weeks ago, I posted an announcement about a baby boy who belongs to a young homeless couple that are “tenting” in Stowe. I asked for donations of baby items. The response was nothing short of amazing. This little boy who was born on May 3rd, he received so much love from members of our community. Diapers, formula, clothing, a stroller and so much more. Stowe Barber Shop is where he often hangs out. A rocking chair even made its way here and people waiting for haircuts will rock him and hold him. I just want everyone who contributed to know what a BLESSING you ARE!” • Regina C., Stowe, Vt.
Need some help finding an item or working on a project? In the spirit of sharing? Keep up with your local FPF!
Front Porch Forum members turn to their neighbors to find what they need, in a matter of minutes.
“WOW! I love the FPF Community! I received, almost before I finished my query, so many recommendations for local knife sharpening. Thank you all so much for your input and suggestions – who needs Craig’s list!” • Arrianna in Morrisville
“FPF is such an asset, Craigslist is great for certain things, however, FPF BLOWS CL away when it comes to really cool, random items for sale, for free or wanted to borrow and the fact that it’s SO local.” • Steven in Shelburne
From the obscure to the everyday, it’s likely a Front Porch Forum member can help!
Front Porch Forum members are thankful for the generosity of others.
“Thank you all for your kind and prompt reply to our request for a wheelchair to borrow. This community is the best!” • Melanie and Dave in Waitsfield
“I want to thank everyone for the emails offering crutches! The generosity of our community is so amazing.” • Carly in Montpelier
“So many responses to my search for crutches, it is beyond belief! Many thanks to all of my neighbors who offered and the reassurance of how wonderful FPF is!” • Carol in Williston
“I just wanted to thank all of the people who reached out to me offering to lend a pair of crutches! I didn’t get a chance to thank everyone individually but thanks to such a wonderful community, I am all set!” • Katharine in Hinesburg
Need assistance? Ask your neighbors for help on Front Porch Forum.
As we prepare for unusually hot temperatures this weekend, neighbors look out for each other on Front Porch Forum.
“A BIG THANK YOU to everyone that responded to my post seeking an AC unit. We are all set now for the heatwave! Our neighbors are so cool! Thank you for taking the time to help a neighbor!” • April in Shelburne
“It looks like Vermont might hit 100 degrees this weekend! To keep cool, turn off lights, TVs, entertainment systems and computers. They use energy and add heat to your home. Also, use cooler morning or evening hours for tasks that produce heat or moisture (like dishwashing, baking, laundry, or showering). For more ways to save visit www.efficiencyvermont.com. Stay safe this weekend, drink lots of water, and if all else failsthat’s what creemees are for!” • Matt, Senior Customer Support Specialist, Efficiency Vermont
FPF member shares tips on how to stay nice and cool: “Put ice cubes and water in a small bucket — then soak a thin hand towel in the bucket — wring it out — then fold to make a 3 to 4 inch strip — place on back of neck — make sure to cover both arteries on the right and left side of your neck — cools you right away —- indoors or outdoors.” • Joe in Montpelier
“Thank you all, and, Front Porch Forum, for the ability to seek items, and the onslaught of people that responded!” • Dean in Rochester
“I am so happy that I post here before any where else cause it’s the community you live in that is always the most helpful.” • Heather in Grand Isle
“Thanks to everyone who responded so quickly with my search for Mason Jars and Glass Jugs for our wedding. I am once again overwhelmed at the outpouring of support in this community.” • Lisa in Fayston
“I was looking to borrow a Pole Saw and within ten minutes of my post my doorbell rang with my neighbor having a pole saw in his hand!” • Chris in So. Burlington
“It looks like we’ve found our hoop! What a great community this is!” • Jennifer in Middlebury
“Thanks to all who responded to our call for wood. FPF is a life saver and our friends & neighbors are beyond helpful.” • Cecile in Vergennes
“Several people responded to my search for bike wheels…I’m so stoked about this project and the community that so readily pitched in to help.” • Seth in Cambridge
“In regards to “˜Desperately Seeking Bed’, thank you to all that responded to my plea! It’s really nice knowing that I have moved to such a great place with amazing people!” • Erica in Stowe