Sunday, April 26, 2009

The First Really Really Free Market in Melbourne and Palm Bay, Florida

Actually, the first in Melbourne and Palm Bay but, at this time, the only RRFM in Florida. And it was rousing success beyond any concept I think any of us had.

People started arriving just before one pm. Parking was a little difficult due to the Art Fest being at the same time a block over. But the new Cuban restaurant, El Ambia Cubano, (950 E. Melbourne Ave, 321-327-8389) was happy to help by holding a bit of parking for us. They also were happy to help with a dolly and manpower as well as with (vegetarians, skip to the next paragraph) an amazing whole pig BBQ'd under coals as well as fresh squeezed cane juice. These folks compost and recycle even though such services are not present for businesses. If you can, go there.

By half past one, it was hopping. There were steady waves inflow and outflow until a bit after three. Then it slowed and, by four, there was nearly nothing left. Some took the little left home to bring next time. Some took what was left to charity.

We had folks from many different areas of the county and even city officials (Michele Paccione, City Commissioner, with me, at the left). Police kept the traffic moving and it was smooth as glass. Amazing.

Framed art, kitchenware, babyfood, clothing, books, hardware, furniture, computer supplies and other electronics. Movies, CDs, computer games. All came and went.

I went there with four large bins of clothing, electronics, kitchenware, frames, per supplies and much more. I came home with almost none of it and with a meditation bench (who knew I'd find one of those) pants hangers (I had said that morning I needed to buy some) a Dilbert collection, a massage therapy text and a Pink Floyd T-shirt.

Some folks found exactly what they were looking for. Torch lamps. baby clothes.

We are making a difference and bringing people together at the same time. There was great interplay between the RRFM and Food not Bombs as well. All together, it was perfect.

Thanks to everyone who participated and to all those who helped get the word out. Same time next month folks. Last Sunday of the month, 1 to 4.

Craig Smith (center, in crosshatch shirt), me (blue shirt and dungarees), Shelly Baum (behind me, sitting, in purple shirt) and Matt Briand (far left, in hat, looking down).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

RRFM in the "News"

Yes, I used the quotation marks on purpose so I don't want to see this on any quotation mark fail blog. If you have ever read Florida Today, you know it qualifies as news the way street hot dogs qualify as kosher.

But here it is anyway, as printed, with misspelled names and other mistakes intact.

Here's a really free market

Everything in a local monthly event is offered without cost

Adam Tritt knew he was on the right track when the person on the stool next to him at Mainstreet Pub asked him if he had heard about that great new free market coming up in Melbourne.

Not only had Tritt heard about, he was the one organizing it.

"When someone sitting next to you at a bar tells you it's a great idea, you know it's catching on," said Tritt, who operates The Wellness Center in Palm Bay.

Tritt is at the helm of the Really, Really Free Market of Melbourne and Palm Bay, an event intent on proving wrong the old adage that "nothing in life is free."

In fact, everything at the monthly market will be free.

Like participants at a potluck supper, everyone brings something and leaves satisfied -- or at least that's the goal. There's no money exchanged or even bartering.

"It basically targets everyone, from people who need stuff to people who want to trade stuff or just give stuff," said Shelley Daum, Tritt's colleague at the Wellness Center who will provide clothing patchwork at the market. "It's for everyone."

The Really, Really Free Market movement began in Miami and Raleigh, N.C., in 2004, and has spread throughout the United States. From San Francisco to Dayton, Ohio, to Minneapolis, Minn., and Washington, D.C., participants share both goods and services during the informal get-togethers.

The idea of giving stuff away is not new. has for years been sharing free stuff online, including at public events in Brevard County starting more than four years ago. The Web site lists Melbourne, Cocoa-Meritt Island and Titusville as having Freecycle groups.

"Free stores," places where patrons can select from the free "stock," are common in the Netherlands and Germany, and some U.S. colleges run versions of these shops. In some New England towns, unwanted items with life still left in them are placed at swap-sheds near local landfills, where anyone can take them.

Even the Big Apple of capitalism, New York, hosted a free store of sorts in, of all places, the Financial District. New York's temporary "Free Store" on Nassau Street was conceived as a participatory art experience and ran for a limited time before closing last month.