Monroe’s Sharing Garden — The Giving is Growing (252)


“We’re enjoying the abundance and the feeling of richness and generosity along with everybody else,” say Sharing Gardens coordinators Chris Burns and Llyn Peabody.

During this five-year experiment in the giving economy, the garden has tripled in size. Sharegivers (volunteers) of all ages work in the gardens. They share the bounteous harvest with food bank recipients, churches, gleaners and others in their community. No money is exchanged. Materials and labor, and even use of the property, are freely given and showing up in abundance.

Llyn and Chris are now living rent-free in a house owned by a volunteer. Observing that “giving keeps coming around full circle,” they offer advice for stepping into the giving economy in our lives today, starting small and simply. Episode 252. []

Watch videoAudio | iTunes | Janaia’s journal: The Giving is Growing at Monroe’s Sharing Garden


  1. I found this video greatly interesting — especially as it embodies much from my own philosophy and principles. I offer my comments in hopes a reader may some value for his or her own situation (please forgive any typos, odd usages, etc.):

    Skinny Branches: I voluntarily live on those “skinny branches” referred to by guest Llyn Peabody and appreciate firsthand the focus on not “spending a penny” to get materials and things accomplished. Part of my experience comes from being part of many startup businesses where partners contribute expertise and other resources rather than drawing paychecks. One of the most powerful resources a partner can contribute is their community — or “network.”

    “Not charging for food:” This reminds me of the dialog set forth in the book Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, wherein he explains our cultural paradigm since humanity’s focus on agriculture, with emphasis on “locking up the food” to get people to work, tracking hours as Chris Burns explains in the video above (and amassing wealth).

    Sharing economy: I wholeheartedly agree with sharing (compared to each having his or her own), especially in not drawing down resources unneccessarily. We are a wealthy society, but our social engineering has dictated we each have our own in order to drive higher revenues and profits, leading to obsolescence (physical, technological, functional — new iphone version, anyone?). And much of our capital is invested in underutilized assets (take a look at all cars mostly idly sitting and taking up space).

    Giving and Social Capital: I mentioned business startups where partners contribute capital through expertise and networks. (Don’t many of us want to know those who know the people who can get powerful things done with a nod of the head or a single word?) Yet on a personal/community level, giving builds up your “social capital.” To be the one to whom everyone turns is in itself a validation of your value to the community — and is evidence of de facto leadership. In business, one’s social capital is as important or even more so compared to “how-to” knowledge. I believe we also need to emphasize this on a personal/community level. (Giving is not limited to material and time and expertise. The “gray-hair” elders who’ve deeply reflected on life contribute invaluable wisdom.)

    Community: Let me mention something I haven’t read or seen on PeakMoment TV or other English-language peak resource websites: strong resilience through family and community. I’m half Caucasian, half Korean and grew up in Hawaii, where the sense of community is nearly all-encompassing and is an invisible ground on which everyone stands. My girlfriend is Cantonese from Canton province. Her household has three generations (her, her children and their spouses, and their children). Her mother is also here (fourth generation). In separate multigenerational households are her brothers, cousins, nephews, and nieces. Everyone makes sure everyone is taken care of. They don’t ever lack for the basics, since risks are spread across many more people. And nobody needs the huge salaried job in order to provide. Her friends in the Cantonese community here also practice this. In short, it’s what we ourselves had decades before our lifestyles required higher incomes from two adults and the outsourcing of child care, development, and education solely to institutions. Contrast this to our current Western or American model of nuclear families and atomized living and you can see the difference.

    Checking out of the money economy / Free Book: Being a businessman yet having done much checking out this myself, I suggest that readers interested in pursuing this proceed step by step. Much of it involves challenges to your identity and expanding your comfort levels. And that’s an ongoing psychological/emotional challenge, an “inside” job. I offer free my PDF book Hidden Opportunities, which examines how to change your perceptions in order to get what you want rather than always answering the how-do-I-get-or-accomplish-it question with : it takes money. (To receive: Click my name above, go to the website, and use the Contact Me form and I’ll email it to you) Read half online free to preview if you want:

  2. We thank you, Janaia and Robyn for doing such a beautiful job with the video. We welcome viewers to come learn more about the Sharing Gardens and the new, exciting developments since filming at – Llyn and Chris

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