The primary goal of LETS Grow Free is to enable local communities to become self-reliant by trading goods and services outside the failing banking system.
The secondary goal of LETS Grow Free is to create resourceful community groups that are alive with friendship and good will and where vulnerable members can receive the assistance they need. "I help you, you help another and somebody else helps me."
Is this a barter system?
LETS Grow Free is about trading goods and services without dollars and where trades are recorded on a ledger. It is similar to barter but operates way better than barter and grows community spirit in ways that barter never could!
A straight barter trade requires a double coincidence of wants between two people where as LETS Grow Free is a “community exchange” which takes the pressure off a single person to repay the favour as any person in the entire exchange can repay the favour!
What is the history of LETS?
LETS stands for Local Energy Trading System and first began in Canada in 1983 as a solution to financial hardship when a town on the west coast of Canada was "out of money."
The Canadian initiative quickly gathered interest from around the world. In 1987 several Australians from Maleny QLD, travelled to Canada to receive training and guidance in the trading system and soon after that LETS in Australia was born. LETS has now been operating in Australia for almost forty years. Today there are numerous LETS groups including Hunter LETS, BrisLETS, Byron Shire Community Exchange, Melbourne LETS, Maleny LETS, Perth LETS and more.
How is LETS Grow Free different to other LETS groups?
LETS Grow Free is similar to other LETS groups but there are two major differences;
1. We are Australia wide and geographical location is not a criterion for joining us
2. LETS Grow Free is a "special interest" LETS group and functions as both a trading platform as well as a support group and network to assist communities in their financial, social and emotional recovery post covid-19.
LETS Grow Free provides a platform where community members can make their needs known to the community and the community can respond by providing goods and services without a dollar costing.
LETS Grow Free has a "Community Chest" which is used to fund Wellbeing and Self-Sufficiency programs to assist members in recovering from the pandemic years and to prepare for what may be difficult times ahead.
How does your organisation help me to grow free of financial dependence?
LETS Grow Free supports you to live well despite financial hardship!
- LETS Grow Free can save you money by lessening your dependency upon it!
- LETS Grow Free has a philosophy of "pay it forward" where our members can use their interest free overdraft to pay for all manner of goods and services. This is not viewed as a "debt" and instead is viewed as a future commitment to contribute goods and services back to the community
- We are developing a Business Support Package to assist businesses to recover financial losses due to lock downs by growing their clientele through our platforms. We offer our businesses promotional advertising on social media and through our newsletter and zoom calls
- We aim to assist our members by providing low cost health and wellbeing products. We have a growing number of LETS Grow Free naturopaths who guide us towards products to purchase in bulk and we then sell these on at low prices for our members at our market/trade days
- We have many health professionals on our trading platform who can be accessed through trade rather than with dollars. This encourages our members to manage their health and wellbeing as the usual barrier of finance is neutralised
- To assist our members in their quest for good health we created a Wellbeing channel on telegram where comprehensive information is filed under categories including Nutrition, Mental Health and Detoxification
How much does it cost to join?
LOW COST - $20 yearly membership fee plus 10 trade units towards our Community Chest
Where does the money go?
LETS Grow Free is a registered not for profit organisation. All staff, administrators and committee members offer their time as volunteers and do not receive financial gain for their service.
Membership fees are used to pay for general costs that apply Australia wide including;
Public and Product Liability Insurance for all of our members
- Trading platform fees
- Zoom, Canva and protonmail accounts
- Advertising and promotions
Other costs at a local level are multiple but may include:
- Market day costs such as venue hire, equipment hire
- Printing of fliers and brochures
- Coffee Urns
Fees are kept to a minimum and in addition, LETS Grow Free aims for members to recover their $20 membership fee very quickly through participating in our heavily discounted Bulk Buy Foods options and/or our discounted Wellbeing products.
What our existing members appreciate about LETS Grow Free
- The overdraft of 500 trade units which allows new members to start trading immediately. This overdraft is interest free
- That the membership number is all that is required to trade with other LETS members. No need to carry any "currency" on one's person
- That apart from trade, LETS Grow Free focuses on two other major supports for it's members, these being Self-Sufficiency and Wellbeing. Community Chest trade points are used to employ experts in these fields to run workshops, zooms and to organise cost effective bulk buys of foods, equipment, books and health products.
- That LETS Grow Free is establishing a BnB directory where members can take a holiday and stay in homes and pay through trade
- That LETS Grow Free is entirely community focused and exists due to good-hearted volunteers who understand the challenges faced by members in recovering from the pandemic years