As I come into another season of our Community Supported Agriculture program (otherwise known as CSA) I couldn’t help but think about how this simple concept has allowed me to grow not only my business but also my confidence in approaching others to share in what I call a win win situation or bartering. I have something you want and you have something I want; let’s exchange.
My first encounter with bartering happened twenty years ago when my beloved dog Jack was hit by an oncoming vehicle. He was only 1 1/2 years old. The impact did not kill him, but did break his hip in three different places. The local vets did not have the means to repair him and sent me to another veterinary hospital that was owned and run by a father/son team.
I dropped him off that evening and was told to come back the following day to discuss options. In the meantime, they would keep him sedated for pain relief. Upon my return the following day, I was given an itemized bill for the procedure that would put his hip back together, but not sure if it would allow him to walk normally. It was, as you can imagine, quite extensive. I calmly asked to speak to the vet in charge.
He was a tall strapping young man. He had never done anything as extensive as this, but said he would love to have the opportunity to have a try at it. My response was short and sweet. I love my dog, he is a farm dog. I am willing to offer this education at no cost in saving him. However, in order for this to happen here is my proposal. “You look like you eat meat”, and mentioned Nezinscot Farm. He was very familiar with the farm, so when I mentioned that in order for this to happen we would have to trade food for his services, he quickly agreed. The only thing I would have to pay was for the materials.
When introducing Jack to others after his return home, we would follow with “he’s our two cow dog” and would share the story of how it took that many cows to pay for him. Well worth the barter. He was able to walk and run, and lived to be 15 years old.
It is important that we all look at what we value and what value we have and not be afraid to approach others about the idea of barter. Trading time for value is one of the key ways that some of the tasks are able to be completed on the farm. Whether you are fortunate enough to be able to pay for anything or not, most everyone has something to offer. The worse that could happen is they might say no, the best thing, as was my case, they say yes