By Kelby Cumpston
After one and a half years, the Really Really Free Market in West Bloomington has closed its doors. This was in concert with the closing of Moore Foods and Culture, ran by the best host we could have had: Dameon Moore. Through the time we occupied the rear of the 1004 W. Market St., we managed to open every 1st & 3rd Sunday and extra days each December. We have had the privilege of meeting so many fantastic people throughout the Bloomington-Normal community and beyond. We spent the last Sunday moving over 100 boxes (!) of remaining goods and donated them to a local non-profit. We also are currently storing the infrastructure of the RRFM such as tables, clothing racks, metal shelves, one Santa suit, and the iconic signage, for future use.
Starting in July 2011 by three good friends, the Really Really Free Market set out to provide a solution the growing collection of unused/unwanted- yet salvageable items within our community. The point was to create a space for the public to bring goods they no longer used or wanted and take goods that the needed or could use for other purposes. The simple concept of everything being free took time to catch on. One year later we were getting nearly a hundred people every market day. Throughout our time we were also able to partner with multiple institutions in the community, giving them an opportunity to reduce their waste by moving previously unmarketable goods to the free market.
The success should not be judged by the amount of goods circulated, but by the personal experience attained. Watching the gift economy in full swing is something that lacks from online free communities. There is nothing quite like being able to ask someone who just dropped off an electric tie rack: “Just what the **** is this thing?”. More importantly, the meant-to-be feeling of giving a “stranger” in your town clothes your child cannot fit in any more only to have them give you a new cutting board you’ve been in dire need of. The visual experience of the gift economy is the essence of the RRFM and one that cannot be attained much place else within today’s society.
Now for the good news: We are moving onward! The Really Really Free Market is holding our first Community Meeting Gathering, this coming Monday, February 11th at 5:30pm at 510 E. Washington st. Suite 205.
We need help from the community to make the RRFM better than ever!
Things to be discussed:
*NEW LOCATION IDEAS*
*Non-Profit Status Attainment
*Need for a Volunteer Coordination
*Fund raising Ideas/Goals
*Temporary Market Day Location Ideas
But most importantly….
*WHAT WE WANT THE REALLY REALLY FREE MARKET TO BE
So please join us as an individual or an organization and help make the RRFM better!