Buy Nothing Project Brings Communities Closer Together

HandsAbout two years ago, I decided I wanted a simpler life so I opted to explore minimalism. This post isn’t about minimalism specifically rather how a desire to live simply led me to the Buy Nothing Project.

I was looking for new opportunities to give and to connect with others, and during that process, I discovered The Buy Nothing Project, an experimental hyper-local gift economy founded by Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller on Bainbridge Island, Washington in 2013. In less than 18 months, the organization has grown to 350 groups, 80,000 members, nine countries and 450 volunteer group administrators. To date, there are 10 groups in Michigan.

BNP promotes, “Give where you live.” Our hyper-local communities focus on people first, stuff second.  We’re about connection, service and commitment to a greater good. Two examples of how BNP communities support one another include the Kirkland, Washington group that organized and provided all services and items needed for a young woman’s wedding; and the Darrington, Washington group that responded to the OSO landslide tragedy in early 2013 with 10 tons of food and supplies to victims within 24 hours of the disaster.

I hope you check out the website, and view the inspiring video on YouTube. I formed a group in my community because there wasn’t one. In less than a month, we have 150 members and growing. If you’re in the Farmington area, consider joining us neighbor. If you’re interested in joining a group in your area, or forming one yourself, check the website,, for a listing of groups.

The holidays are coming. This year, my wish is to connect with my neighbors and the community at-large. I want to support, interact and give freely. My BNP mantra: buy nothing, be more.

Photo credit: Penn State

LaTonya Baldwin is a health and fitness enthusiast and works for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. 


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