In August 2012 I went to an organic foods distribution company to get a case of overripe tomatoes to make sauce. While there I noticed heaps of baling straps. These single-use straps are found around nearly every box shipped across the globe. Binding box to box, paper to paper, and everything to pallets. Annie Moss, the company’s owner, was having trouble finding a recycler. I gave myself the task of figuring out how to reuse them. After watching countless youtube videos on basket making methods from around the world, and cutting up my fingers, I managed to develop a basic weaving technique. I brought my basket to Annie and made her a proposition – I would make her a basket each week from her trash, and she would let me have as much ‘seconds’ as I want. ‘Seconds’, in their terms, meant fruits and vegetables that are a little too old or misshapen to resell to stores. Annie agreed. I got so much food each week that I played vegetable Santa for several friends and families on a regular basis. In turn, Annie distributed the baskets to her family, workers, and favorite farmers and vendors.
Annie was the start of my experiment with bartering, leading to many others.