More and more, communities are working together to create opportunities for pooling knowledge, sharing skills, and increasing each others’ access to useful resources. A few examples in Western MA include repair cafes, time trading, swaps, skill-sharing, and lending initiatives. In creating systems and channels through which to access shared information and materials, communities are building resilient foundations upon which to grow and to learn.
Commonly known as collaborative consumption, such shared economy practices work to shift emphasis from ownership of goods and knowledge to access to them, a shift that would decrease the number of resources each individual would need to participate in a sustainable way of life.
During the spring, when families are looking towards their backyard gardens and plots, gardening tools are on everyone’s mind. Maybe your 20-year-old wheelbarrow now has a broken handle, or you’re needing a spade but have an extra shovel and unused saw. Whatever the case may be, now is an excellent time to tap into a preexisting tool lending library in your neighborhood (i.e., Northfield Tool Lending Library). If one does not exist, consider spearheading the creation of a small-scale tool sharing initiative with friends and families. By starting with folks closest to you, and expanding out with a few interested neighbors, families may quickly discover that not only do they need fewer tools on hand but that they are also seeding and growing meaningful community connections!
Get inspired by seeing what other communities have created in this TEDx Talk, and read more about How to Start a Neighborhood Tool Share.