Getting inspired by a Gratiferia in a small mountain village, South of France
While I was driving with my sister through the Alpes Maritimes (South-East of France, north from Cannes) on Sunday 8th of May, we arrived in a small village called Saint Cézaire sur Siagne. As we were strolling in the streets, sounds of music and voices attracted us to the main square around an old lime tree. People were chatting, clothes, shoes, books, plants etc were all displayed on the ground and children had their faces painted. Is it the village school gathering I thought? You are funny an elder man replied, today is not the school festival but a Gratiferia, everything here, you can have it for free and he gave me some kumquats, a kind of citrus that I did not know could grow here in south of France. Behind him, some leftovers of soup in a big pot showed me they had organized a meal also made from donated vegetables. I continued my tour around the place and found a pair of leather sandals that fit my feet perfectly. Summer is coming soon!
So, what is a Gratiferia?
Gratiferia is a spanish neologism from gratis (free) and feria (market, fair). The concept was born in 2010 in Buenos Aires by Ariel Bosio who was tired of moving his stuff from place to place, so started to offer it to his network of friends, first in private and then towards the public. It then became more and more popular and spread over the town and outside.
It is an invitation to get away of unnecessary things and give them a second life, who knows who it could be useful for? Gratiferias are not only about material things, you can also bring your creativity, art, music...
Organizing a Gratiferia
It is quite simple, you just need to have a place (preference public), a date and to communicate about it some weeks before using your networks, organizations... Gratiferia is a public event, open to everybody and without entry fees. You can bring your gifts material or unmaterial to give them without any expectation of getting something in return. Material things should be in a proper state. Each person is then responsible to clean his place and take things back if they have not found a new person. No barter, simply giving.
You can also check a similar concept called the Really really free market.
Johanna for ecobasa.org