Thrifty Tip #7: Get to Know Your Neighbours

Getting to know our neighbours and local community is a valuable step in the path to greater thriftiness.

By knowing our neighbours we can establish an old-fashioned bartering network.  We may take care of each other's pets and mail whilst on holiday, or share tools and gardening skills, or baby-sit each other's children.  Most importantly of all, neighbours can become life-long friends.

Wider community networks can be important too.   On Sunday I attended the monthly Essential Edibles Urban Orchard at a local park.  A group of us gathered together to swap home-grown produce and to share ideas for sustainable living.  This month I brought home bok choy, marinated eggplant, a range of chillies, oranges, apples, Jerusalem artichokes and capsicums - all grown in local back yards.

I even used the group to brainstorm ideas for my 30 Days of Thrifty Tips series, and they provided some terrific input.  (Thanks guys!)

I recently signed up for a new initiative of Sustainable Communities SA, called Our Urban Village.  This group will work on:
  • identifying local green spaces to use for recreation, community gatherings and even some public gardening such as planting fruit and nut trees, a herb garden or suitable vegetable growing in consultation with Council
  • identifying the places at which we can gather for community events
  • identify local commercial businesses in  the area that support sustainability practices
  • identify local professional businesses in the area that support sustainability  practices
  • identify local tradespeople in the area who we can call on  who support sustainability practices
  • put people in touch who would like to swap skills, tools and produce
  • assist people with surplus fruit at harvest time
  • find ways to improve sustainable transport practices in our area
Whilst our first aim in joining community networks should be to contribute rather than to benefit, active participation in our local communities can certainly enable us to bypass the money economy, develop new skills, and harness group wisdom in a way that can definitely lead to greater thriftiness.

This post is part of my series, Thirty Days of Thrifty Tips.

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