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Portland’s Cash-Free Bartering: From Urban Farm Collectives to Coffee Perks

Discovering how the Oregon city’s citizens have embraced an alternative lifestyle of sharing

harley davidson portland oregon bartering

David Amsden on the Harley Davidson Roadster on the famous Hawthorne Bridge in Portland, Oregon.

Christopher Krieb

Portlanders have embraced a movement of cashless commerce – a new school take, in effect, on old-school bartering. It turns out, bartering is both a natural extension of Portland’s off-kilter ethos and, as the city has become more polished and pricier with the influx of tech companies a means of preserving it. It was that instinct that lead Kevin Fiske and Josh Fitz to create the PDX Barter Market, a seasonal get together where locals trade just about anything and everything.

“Artisanal bread for hypnotherapy – that sort of thing,” Fitz says with a laugh as he walks me through the art gallery where the market is held.

“It’s not that money is evil necessarily, but it’s a way to get things done if you’re not necessarily likable,” adds Fiske. “We’re trying to show a way to have fun without money.”

Here, a look at the people and places where the cash-free lifestyle has taken root.

harley davidson portland oregon bartering

Christopher Krieb

Food Swap Gals

Lindsay Strannigan (left), the Food Swap PDX coordinator, and Bethany Rydmark, one of the founders of Food Swap PDX and the Food Swap Network.