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Detroiters utilize the gift economy to get by

Site of a farmer's market held on Oakland Avenue Urban Farm's property

While Detroit's greater downtown area has seen fantastic growth the last few years, much of the city still struggles. One way low income Detroiters survive is by making use of the gift economy, according to an article in Bloomberg News.

"When the city didn't have the capacity to provide, alternative systems were created," says Erik Howard, co-founder of the Southwest Detroit youth-development organization Young Nation, in the article penned by Model D contributor Valerie Vande Panne.

The article describes a potluck barbecue where attendees exchanged and gifted items, and which eventually morphed into the Free Market of Detroit.

Detroiters also exchange skills. "Jane Slaughter, who's on the time bank's volunteer-run steering committee, offers writing and fruit-drying services; in exchange, she's gotten rides to the airport, shiatsu bodywork, and a garbage disposal installed," writes Vande Panne.

The gift economy has other benefits as well. By lifting each other up, communities are strengthened.

Click here to read the full article. 
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