Several years ago, my brother Oliver, gave me a book called Grown & Gathered by Matt and Lentil (I know) which was a bullseye of a Christmas present.
Their own little summary was better than anything I can think up on the spot right now, so it’s comprised of “recipes and practical guides to grow, cook, preserve, trade and live well,” which is exactly the kind of flummig (Swedish word for mung-bean or hippie-dippie) stuff I love. “Traditional living made modern.”
(The following photo is not related to this book whatsoever and, in fact, nor are any of the other photos I’ve included here. I just like dotting my blog posts with images. They also show a bit of the range of stuff I like catching on camera.)
Chapter five was probably the one that most piqued my interest. “Trade. Because the longest lasting happiness happens when we share.”
They grew lots of flowers, had strong feelings about the issues capitalism imparted on the flower industry, and decided to trade their own for anything and everything people were willing to give them in exchange.
“We started trading to talk about all these things. Just the simple act of leaving money out begins a much-needed conversation and it’s created a real community of interest,” they write in a blog post.
“‘How does it work,’ you ask? For a posie of flowers – you can trade anything you like, whatever you think a posie is worth to you. For a large amount, we chat about the trade.
“We have been traded all kinds of things from preserves, tea, handmade soap, recipes, cakes, magazines, cases of beer, weaving lessons, concert tickets and photos.”
Just over a year ago, our family was lucky enough to get to move into the outer inner city of Gothenburg, Sweden, in a suburb called Annedal. We’re a stone’s throw from almost anything you might conceivably want to throw a stone at.
Walking around our neighbourhood, camera inevitably swinging from my shoulder, it’s hard not to salivate at the thought of the beautiful photos I could take of flowers, chocolates, jewellery, knitware, bread, pasta, ceramics, soap, and on and on I could go. So much of it handmade, all of it beautiful.
I started thinking about chapter five again. What if I traded photography for whatever it is people want to trade with me? Photography is expensive (and with good reason) but what if I could make professional images accessible to my local small businesses without the stress of financial interaction while getting to know the people who live and work in my backyard?
From Grown and Gathered:
“When everyone is sharing their abundances, it’s just natural that you give generously. With money, we have found it to be the opposite – you’re always trying to hold on to as much as you can.”
I’ve talked excitedly about my idea with a handful of businesses all over Gothenburg, but I’m yet to launch the project. Consider this post the first step.
If you’re reading this and thinking, “Wow, that would be fun! She seems like a cool person!” then yes, I am, and I’d love to hear from you!
A few little notes for the curious, taken and paraphrased from the aforementioned book of hippie-dippie stuff I love:
- Quality trade needs open communication and sharing what you have in abundance. You never know what might make someone do a happy dance, even if it feels mundane to you.
- You know a trade has been successful when everyone is happy. This goes back to honesty and communication.
Who knows where this will go. After almost eight years as a pretend Swede, this country still has the capacity to confuse, surprise (and disappoint) me, but I’ve got a good feeling about this one.
And terribly keen to extend this to Australia from January to April 2023!
Hit me up!