Really Really Free Market comes to Ventura

By Chris O'Neal 10/31/2013

Leave your wallet at home this Sunday in Ventura when the first Really Really Free Market comes to Plaza Park downtown.

The market, based on the framework that literally everything is free, has taken root across the nation from where it began in Florida and North Carolina in 2003, after a series of protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Since then, the event has taken root as a method by which to counteract capitalism by offering a community-driven economy.

Several different vendors will follow a take-what-you-need approach without the need to barter or trade. If items remain after the event has ended, they will be donated or “upcycled,” a process by which to convert items otherwise intended for the landfill into usable products.

“We feel like there is a lot of support for community building and want to start creating an alternative economy,” said co-organizer Ally Gialketsis of the Ventura Cooperative. “People who have not been doing so well in this economy can share with their community and not have to worry about money.”

A major aspect of the movement across the country has been the focus on volunteering and community organization, which will be taken full advantage of by the involvement of area high school students, who, along with the Ventura Co-Op, are the hosts of the event.

Ben Leanos, senior at Ventura High School alongside Gialketsis, says his involvement comes from a desire to change the way people understand and interact with each other.

“I really got involved because of the political aspects, which gives us an alternative to capitalism,” said Leanos.

Along with Leanos are three of his peers and a group of seniors from Buena High School.

“I think it will boost our community’s spirit and make people see that there are alternatives to what we see as an ‘every man for himself’ world,” said Leanos. “We don’t need to live like that; we can live together without having to harm each other.”

Both Leanos and Gialketsis hope that it becomes an annual event in Ventura.

“This is the first time I’ve done anything like this,” said Leanos. “We want to do it annually; we hope to do another next year.”

The event is co-sponsored by the Ventura Cooperative, Restore Ventura, The Refill Shoppe, Green Art People and Rock for a Cause.

The Really Really Free Market will take place at Plaza Park, Ventura. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/GW2Cd1.

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