Gift economy in Anchorage gives members a new sense of community

 A bag of clothes ready to be given away in the North Anchorage Buy Nothing group.
A bag of clothes ready to be given away in the North Anchorage Buy Nothing group. (KTUU)
Published: Sep. 6, 2019 at 7:01 PM AKDT
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A "gift economy" in Anchorage is giving residents a new sense of community.

Instead of giving unneeded or unwanted items to a store, you pass them down to a neighbor who needs them.

Allow Courtney Munson to explain: “I give a lot from my garden," she said. "I give a lot of produce. I've given away tons of kids' things, passed on a lot of clothing and toys."

With the gift economy, the community is giving back to her, too.

“I've met a lot of really fantastic gardeners who have given me plants for my garden," she said.

However, the best thing she's gotten isn’t something you can see - it;s the kindness shared between community members.

“People have these things, they go through these things,” Munson said. “They need them for a while, then they don't need them anymore, and it feels really good to pass that on directly to a neighbor."

It's all part of the Buy Nothing Project, for which Munson is a regional volunteer.

“We call it a hyper-local gift economy, and so it's about people who live close to you," Munson said. “It's about getting the things we need from our neighbors, learning to ask."

The project is a collection of Facebook groups. Members can post if they need something, have something to give, or just want to say thanks.

“That's when you can tell the group is really healthy, when you're seeing constant gratitude posts," Munson said.

She said, too, that cycle of giving is infectious.

“You just give generously, and then to see people's reaction to that, and then to see it spread, and to see other people giving generously," she said. “It’s pretty phenomenal actually, it’s changed my life.”

If you’re interested in joining a local Buy Nothing group, you can visit its

and click “join group.” Then, answer the questions, and you’ll be set to give.

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