3rd Place market eliminates waste


Lovey Cooper

Every Wednesday afternoon, the Sustainable Development Student Alliance hosts a free market at 3rd Place. Here, they create what they call a “cashless exchange system” by taking unwanted stuff, and providing a platform for others to browse said stuff for free, to help localize economies and reduce waste.

“Basically what I yell at people is ‘bring the stuff you don’t want, we’ll trade you for the stuff we have,’” said Taylor Pitt, sophomore appropriate technology major and event organizer. She and others in SDSA enlisted the help of friends from the Living Green Residential Learning Community, in creating a stockpile of initial items to start the exchange when it opened April 1. 3rd-place-5-web

At first the fare was more focused on clothing, but now has expanded to include items like curtain rods, VHS tapes and a cake, to name some more notable donated pieces.

“It’s crazy the number of people who will take one thing and then come back the next day with a grocery bag of clothes once they actually look at their closet,” Pitt said.

The event used to occur each semester on Appalachian State University’s Sanford mall, but the change of venue represents a shift towards a more permanent enterprise.

“We’re trying to work around capitalism and make this sort of thing more accessible for everyone – there’s all this stuff in the world that everyone has, but do we need to keep making more?” said Peri Newman, junior city planning major and club member.

Newman hopes to create a system in Boone in which goods and services can be exchanged more easily – those who need something should be able to trade what they have, she said. She recently met someone in attendance at one of the free market dates who works at Hob Knob farm and offered to give her vegetable scraps for her to feed her rabbit, who will in turn provide manure for Hob Knob’s vegetable garden.

People are much happier to see the exchange happen, especially when they have a personal connection to the items they are getting rid of, Newman said.

“A lot of the nicer, more desirable things are traded very quickly – one person puts it down, another person picks it up,” Pitt said.

The SDSA club mainly exists to facilitate student projects like river cleanups or their clean energy campaign with the UNC system, and most of it is interest driven, not related to members’ majors.

The two organizers hope to continue this practice weekly throughout their time at Appalachian, with a shift to the weekend over the summer, and use it as a springboard to pursue similar community efforts after graduation.

“I’m a city planning major, so I think about it in terms of communities, but any place that has room for a farmers market has room for something like this,” Newman said.

The Free Market takes place every Wednesday from noon to 3 p.m. at The 3rd Place. All items are welcome, but they are especially in need of men’s clothing.

The SDSA is planning a march to the chancellor’s house on April 22 in favor of clean energy for all UNC system schools.

Story: Lovey Cooper, Senior A&E Reporter