My have we grown! At this date, early December, 2020, groups using the Buy Nothing name and resources are closing in on about 5,000, with 10,000 volunteers running them. Many of the Buy Nothing groups were started years ago following the original Buy Nothing Project protocol, in which members of the founding team did the busy work of creating new groups, adding original documents/files and images, etc. It was not our intention to play a leadership role in each of the groups, we were simply here to set things up and provide up-to-date documents.
Over the past 7 years, we’ve learned a lot about how to foster and support the development of local Buy Nothing gift economy groups, and we’ve made several important changes to our protocols. Among the things we’ve learned is that local Buy Nothing groups need to be locally managed, led by local volunteers who give their time and energy in service to their real-life neighbors and community. In order to realize this, we are actively removing ourselves from each and every group, handing full responsibility and control over to the current local leadership team.
Thanks to the labor and guidance of the Equity Team, each Buy Nothing Project group has access to the Equity Team’s Community Agreement that provides a framework for discussions that will help fulfill the Project’s mission to build inclusive, equitable gift economies in which each and every person from the community is welcomed and recognized as equal in humanity and importance to the whole. It is the expectation of the Buy Nothing Project founders that each Buy Nothing group will embrace this Community Agreement and welcome discussions about any or all of the ways in which people are marginalized within their groups, and about ways to create a more inclusive and equitable Buy Nothing gift economy culture.
Gift economies have been part of our global cultures since the earliest days of humanity. We have a long way still to go in pursuit of equity and full inclusion, and all of us on the founding team of the Buy Nothing Project hope your group will choose to carry on as part of the Buy Nothing Project network, bringing this mission to life for your own community.