WHAT IS THE IDEA BEHIND IT?
Simply put, a Town Square. The good old TOWN SQUARE approach, or as I introduced in ANCOP, “the spill of the wagon wheel”, whatever you call it, the principle is the same a central place to exchange goods, services and information.
People came together, in the old days, at the town square, either daily or less frequently. In the town where I grew up, we had a market once a year where farmers would buy and sell cattle. Families would meet, and people would exchange stories and gossip I see the Trade Shack having the same function, well, without the gossip :-).
We at the Trade Shack want to replicate that secure, no-trolls and good old fashion communication style. We could not find a platform that allowed for non-political and unbiased communication. Many are either:
- Based upon a political foundation
- Based upon a religious foundation
- Focused on law and constitution changing direction
- Introducing a new layer of payment or cryptocurrency
- Using social media like Facebook as their communication and trading platform
- Not Australian based, paying overseas companies and sharing resources with unknown actors
Why not build one? So we did. Welcome to the Trade Shack.
Trade Shack is the conduit
The Trade Shack is the conduit between online and real-world postcode communities.
We provide secure tools to build online communities and group members by postcode, to connect offline. The goal is to remove the reliance on the internet and its social media platforms that are not social at all. Sure online social media platforms have their place, but NOT when you want to become self-sufficient.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Trade Shack Postcode Communities is a method that brings together residents of a particular postcode and promotes community engagement, boosts the local economy and fosters self-sufficiency. The concept behind Trade Shack Postcode Communities is simple yet powerful. By connecting residents who share a common postcode, we create a shared sense of identity, belonging, purpose and vision of what is best for the Postcode Community. This, in turn, can lead to a stronger and more vibrant community that benefits everyone all its members.
So how does it work?
The first step is for YOU to sign up for the local Trade Shack Postcode Community. You can do that by visiting our membership levels page and picking a level that suits what you want to do. Once signed up, you can access various resources and tools to help them connect with their neighbours and get involved in local initiatives. That is already on the sitButBUT it does not work without YOU. You are the key and driver to make it work. If nobody signs up, participates in discussions or reaches out to new and future members, nothing will work.
Your community hub
One of the key features of Trade Shack Postcode Communities is the Community Hub. Being a central online platform where residents can share information, organise events, post notices and engage with other community members. It is a space for you and your members to come together, share ideas and work towards common goals.
The postcode community is the starting place. You know that members in there are safe to talk to. It does not stop there. You can expand your network by requesting “friend status” this is a two-way approval process for connecting and allowing further offline communication if that is agreed upon.
Just remember it starts with you. You are in control.
BRINGING IT TOGETHER
Another important feature of Trade Shack is the Business Directory approach to finding anything in your community. This lists all the local growers, food sales by local backyard growers, local businesses, local exchange and local seed swaps, all within the postcode, making it easy to find and support local initiatives. By shopping locally and supporting small businesses, the platform helps to boost the local economy and create job opportunities but above all shortening of the supply chain.
Trade Shack also provides a range of tools and resources to help you to connect and organise local initiatives. These include an events calendar, a noticeboard, and a community chat feature. Through these tools, you can get to know one another, share information and work together to create a stronger and more self-sufficient community. All on a secure and locally owned platform.
In addition to these features, Trade Shack also provides a range of support services to help residents with specific needs. For example, there is a directory of local services and organisations that can assist with everything from healthcare and education to how to grow veggies. This makes it easy for residents to access the support they need within their local area, as long as you provide the details. Remember it is about you, this can only work if you participate actively.
Overall, Trade Shack Postcode Communities is a powerful tool for building stronger, more self-sufficient communities. By providing a platform for residents to connect, share information and work together towards common goals, the platform helps to create a more cohesive and engaged community that benefits everyone. Whether promoting local businesses, organising community events, or supporting vulnerable residents, Trade Shack Postcode Communities is a valuable resource for anyone looking to make a positive difference in their local area.
WHY USE POSTCODES
As previously mentioned, it is all about location, location. Postcodes are used to set the geographical area. It is the geographical footprint in which the members are living. We looked at using Town and City names but found it not suitable. Hence we use postcodes to create Postcode Communities. It provides an understood and defined footprint.
Because we set a geographical area, we assume that the travel distances are short people can easily set a place and time to meet in the real world. This opens the opportunity to get together to start:
All it needs is to make contact with people in your local area and start talking.
WHAT DO THEY OFFER
This is briefly discussed on the community page, and we mentioned some above. Let’s go into a bit more detail. Let’s take the Moreton Bay community as an example.
The Moreton Bay community currently has initiatives like REKO, Edible Exchange and online chats. All are set up and maintained by local community members who live in the postcode area.
Each postcode community will get their private postcode community page, we set this up manually with the idea that you can find all the information in one place quickly, securely and privately. Your private community page is accessible only by members approved to be in your postcode community. Nobody else can see the information. When someone adds a classified listing or a business, they can opt for how and where it is displayed, on the site, only for the state or the postcode community.
What is on each private page?
- Postcode information, here you find the invite link to Telegram, information about your postcode as what towns are included an some other important links.
- Homestead sales are classifieds listing food, ideally food. You can list other items, but ideally, we focus on food.
- Local Growers, businesses or individuals that grow food locally on a commercial basis. We list the ones in your local postcode area but you can also search Australia-wide and based on the distance where you are. This is handy for grey nomads who are travelling.
- Local Seeds, trade share and exchange local seeds. Do you have seeds that you want to share within your postcode community then this is where you can do that. Local seeds are generally climatised and as such, are excellent to use to grow your next crop.
- Local Exchange, when you set up a local edible exchange and want your postcode community to know, you can list that here. Each local exchange is added manually with the requested security settings. For example, you might want to keep the location of your local exchange known among your local postcode community members only. Instead of advertising it globally, this is to keep “strangers” away from your local sharing produced. See our post “Privacy and edible exchanges“, showing mistakes made in the past.
- Community Announcements, basically this is the postcode-specific discussion forum. Only accessible by postcode community members.
THE PRIVACY PART OF IT
Sharing, caring and discussing are always tricky. We get it. It is one of the reasons why we charge a small entry fee if you like. We have segmented the access/privacy into the following groups:
- General stuff for everybody to see. No membership is required.
- Trade Shack members only, information discussions for all members to see and participate in. Typical comments to posts.
- Groups are like-minded communities like growers, teachers and homesteaders. You get the idea. You can request or get invited into these groups. They are independent of postcode or where you live.
- Postcode Communities are specific to Postcodes, such as the4521 or 4520 communities. Only members with that postcode have access to the community. For instance, Samford Community (Samford Valley Community of Light) only has people who live in Samford. Others can only see that discussion if invited.
- Initiatives Community, a good example are the Edible Exchanges. Take, for instance, Dayboro Edible Exchange. Only members with the postcode of Dayboro can access the Dayboro Edible Exchange information.
Administrators of the groups can invite members from outside the postcode area. It is up to the group and communities to ask. They have that freedom. It is a group, community and member decision.
As this project is growing we will go to several evolutions, constantly adding or changing functionality to make it suit the current landscape.
I have been involved in several projects, some succeeded, and some failed. Why it failed is beside the point and irrelevant to what we do here. I have to mention TAP in the past because of the approach of TAP Telegram Groups. I made the Postcode Communities database, introducing the term Postcode Communities and maps representing those Tap Telegram Groups. TAP, before I joined, had a smart Exec Member who decided to use Telegram to create islands of communication. Grouping members by postcodes or multiple clusters of postcodes prevented group dispersity. Members would be travelling hundreds of kilometres to meet in the real world. I have since left TAP due to its political direction, and my focus has always been on self-sufficiency and community sustainability, regardless of climate and political influences. It is sad to see knowledge gained go to waste. Back in 2019, I was part of an overseas project where I built a similar proof of concept as part of a survival and self-sufficiency network. So I will re-use the idea, and we will incorporate the methods and ideas into the Trade Shack Local Communities.