The Kindness Exchange or Gift Economy


sewing patterns on a usb for a box of biscuits

honey and eggs for a photo session

a study table for lunch and bread

seedlings for cake

lawn maintenance for bread

a wet suit for mini cakes

photo session for babysitting

This is a small snap shot of things that have come and gone in the last two months. No money has changed hands, no promises have been made, and importantly no expectations have been shattered. Welcome to the Gift Economy, or as I like to think of it…a Kindness Exchange.

It’s not trading and it’s not bartering. It’s giving someone something for the sake of kindness and not expecting a thing back.

Although you do give something back in some way shape or form. It might not be directly back to the same person, and instead it might be passed on in turn.

Still with me?

Last year, I gave away on our local trading system, a bedroom dresser. It was free, the only hitch was the person had to come and get it. They did happily, and handed me a lovely bottle of wine.


Fast forward, and again on our local trading system. I organise to pick up some free garden supplies, before doing so I go past the local bottle shop and pick up an organic bottle wine to say a little thank you. Not needed, not expected, but done all the same.

Our society frequently tells us that we need to be earning money in order to live whole lives. Our digital devices tell us to buy, our advertising tells us to sell and at the very least we should be trading. And while I’m also a big advocate of a good trade, this kindness exchange, I’m loving even more.

No expectations and no promises, just simple kindness passed on to someone else. Remembering it doesn’t always have to go back to the same person, it can simply be passed to someone else. A family member, a friend, or a complete stranger.

Surely, there can never be too much kindness?


How about you? Do you use the Kindness Exchange or Gift Economy?









21 thoughts on “The Kindness Exchange or Gift Economy

  1. I think that is so lovely! What a nice thing to be able to do and yes I think we should all take a leaf from that book!
    I gave away a nice horse to some people who were having a hard time a year ago and it was the best feeling ever. I love getting photos of their achievements at horse sports and gymkhanas on him.


  2. I love this Brydie, it makes the world a better place. We have been known to trade lamb (meat) for the use of a coffee van, olive oil for olive picking labour, fresh vegetables for homemade sauce and bread and eggs for all sorts of things over the years. Sometimes the actual trade of a physical thing goes one way, but the kindness always comes back 🙂


  3. Hello lovely lady,

    Oh this was a beautiful Sunday read. I love the kindness economy, love, love, love.

    I’ve had a weekend of kind gestures, so many back and forth.

    I did photograph a street gig this weekend, just because it was so good and it evolved in front of me. Dancing on the streets, young and old. After the performance I took a card to email the busking musician the photos, he gave me a cd.

    My favourite was right after reading your post I saw a mum taking a photo of her littlies with a stunning beach background, I offered to snap her with the kiddies and I walked away from that one with a big cheesy grin. Felt so good, she was so happy. Gestures needn’t be grand, smiles, kind words, acknowledging the people on the streets who are so often ignored.

    Yep, kindness, that’s the economy I want to trade in.

    F x


    • And you do it so well Fran. I’m really excited to see what doors open up for you and your crew in far off lands. Adventures and opportunities that’s for sure but the connections that you’ll experience, because of that kindness you carry with you so often…that’s pretty darn exciting. x


  4. We were given a wood stove child safety fence and in exchange we gave home brew. Firewood is one that we offer and of course baked goods and I give away all the children’s clothes and toys. I must say I am a bit disappointed on the things that are posted to sell sell on our local FB community page. I’d rather think that some could be given away or even better the kindness exchange. Such as today when I was given a ‘pay it forward coffee’ when both my cards were declined.


    • Zena declined cards are no fun at all, but a pay it forward coffee is a wonderful thing.
      I think with things like the FB page people simply forget that there are other options than just selling. So much of the world revolves around money, if more people were exposed to other ways, then maybe there would be more generous outcomes.


  5. Yes, it means so much more than that darn old money economy thing. You are trading something that is almost intrinsic …. the good thought that goes with the item often lasts longer than the object and goes on to grow in the next kindness exchange. A couple of weeks ago a friend came for coffee and brought 3 packets of seeds she grew herself , a home made slice , finger puppets for the farm stay and a crocheted dishcloth…gifts from the heart ….. those gifts are out there being used, eaten all up …but that moment where the lovely lady came bearing gifts from the heart stays with me and reminded me how I could make someone else feel one day.
    A lovely post Brydie and perhaps a gift in itself in the kindness economy.


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