28. February 2020 Mariana Scholzová

The Meadows Share

When I moved to Edinburgh, I went to Ikea and bought a lot of new things. I needed to settle into my new flat. And so, I bought new dishes, table lamp, plant pots and framed pictures to hang on the wall. It cost a lot of money, most of it was of poor quality and lots of it broke after a couple months of use. I complained to my friends who have lived in Edinburgh for a couple years, and they recommended for me to check out a Facebook group called The Meadows Share. I haven’t heard of it before, but since I couldn’t read very well in the evenings as my table lamp was giving up on me, I decided to join.

The group is named after a big park in the city centre called The Meadows. There are approximately thirty thousand members, and the group is based on principals of sharing, saving money and the environment. Because the city is full of students and foreigners only passing through, a lot of people live here temporarily. In order to avoid throwing away (or buying) relatively new and fully functional things, some people started this communal project. People can post on the group and offer things they no longer need or want, and someone else can pick it up. For free. Nothing gets sold through this group. A lot of students find furniture and other important things they couldn’t otherwise afford through this group. All sorts of things get exchanged or given away on this group – furniture, plants, food that is about to expire or not going to be eaten because someone is going on holiday, tools, tickets to events or even whole rooms to be rented out.

I, myself, became an active member of the group. Finally, I have a new desk lamp and can read comfortably. I would exaggerate only slightly if I said that about half of our flat is full of things we got from people on the group. Since we don’t have a lot of things to trade or exchange, I usually give away sourdough starter, kombucha scoby or water kefir grains (all of which are becoming more and more popular recently). Just the other week, a lady brought me a beautiful large plant that she doesn’t have time to care for, in exchange of a jar of sourdough starter. She promised to tell me how her bread turned out. And few months ago, a guy picked up a box of kitchen equipment that was left behind in our flat by previous tenants.

I tried to search for similar groups in Prague. I found some, but they didn’t seem to have the same spirit. A lot of people were giving up things that belonged mostly in trash, not meant to be reused or to help others out. Even though a lot of them were based on the idea of sharing, people still expected monetary compensation. Maybe it doesn’t say anything about Prague or Czech people, but rather about the dynamic of the specific groups. I think that every city of community could benefit from such group that is designed to help people out and to save us all from unnecessary consumerism.

 

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