The Time Trade Circle is not just a tool, not even just a community, but a movement.
by Molly Wexler-Romig
It’s a Sunday afternoon at the First Church in Jamaica Plain, and there is a festive spirit in the hall. Tables arranged in an arc are overflowing with tantalizing wares, from green cleaning products and colorful yarn to a delicious ricotta cake and fermenting vegetables! People mill about, conversing excitedly and exploring the tables, serenaded by live music from the People’s Party. Despite appearances, however, this is not a market, and none of these wares are for sale. This is the Time Trade Circle Faire, where JP-based traders in this Boston-area time bank are demonstrating their service offerings, from gardening lessons to help buying insurance. Time bank members deposit and withdraw hours by offering and receiving services such as cooking, music, and language lessons, help around the house and garden, and technical assistance.
The Faire was a wonderful opportunity for members already taking advantage of the TTC to share with others why they love it so much. I was personally struck by how each trader’s face lit up when describing what they could teach and give back to their community; the time bank values each person and what they have to offer, even if the traditional market economy would not. Traders gathered as a group who support each other, not as competitors, and they did not advertise, they invited. Over 100 visitors crowded the hall and enjoyed connecting with the time bankers who represented just a fraction of the myriad of unique crafters, teachers, learners, experts, and compassionate helpers involved in the Time Trade Circle.
The Time Trade Circle is not just a tool, not even just a community, but a movement. It moves us away from seeing ourselves as purely individuals driven by the constant desire for more, and away from impersonal exchanges where money stands in for value. It moves us towards connecting to others through the giving and receiving of ourselves. It’s a movement where the exchange is of value in and of itself. The Faire was a great success because it demonstrated what the TTC is all about in a tangible way–and it was fun!
This Faire was a collaboration by the Time Trade Circle and Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition (JP NET). JP NET is taking initiative to expand time bank participation in this neighborhood and create a strong and vibrant node of the TTC here. If you are interested in being a part of this transformation, learning more about the Circle, or joining this amazing community, please keep your eye out for future Faires, events, and orientations by following the TTC at www.timetradecircle.org and JP New Economy Transition at jptransition.org.