By Kelly McCartney

January 15, 2014

In Monroe, Oregon, the Sharing Garden started and managed by Chris Burns and Llyn Peabody is the gift that keeps on giving. Over the past few years, the garden’s bounty has tripled thanks to the support and hard work of “Sharegivers” (aka volunteers) who donate various materials and actual labor three mornings a week.

And, in true Sharing Garden fashion, the harvest is distributed not only to the volunteers, but also to the food bank next door, as well as churches and other community members in need… all for free, as part of what Burns calls “nature’s economy.” He points out that, “None of the other lifeforms on the planet use money or currency of any kind. There’s a symbiotic relationship, an interdepency. So we’re trying to model that in the garden so that people understand they can give freely without having to account for their giving, and knowing they will receive what they need.”

With the Sharing Garden, Burns and Peabody have established a circle of sharing in their community. As a result, the couple now enjoys free housing in a 1930s farmhouse owned by a volunteer. The garden, itself, also enjoys rent-free status on its two-thirds of an acre site. The total experience lands them smack-dab in the middle of the sharing economy, and they excitedly encourage others to join them by taking some baby steps.

Burns explains, “You can look for opportunities to give anonymously. And they happen every day. Just going by somebody in the shopping mall and giving them a nice smile… And you don’t have to get credit for that. It’s this whole idea of giving to get — getting credit for your giving, getting recognized for your giving. You start there. The garden is way down the road.” Check out the video below about The Sharing Garden courtesy of Peak Moment TV: