Really Really Free Markets have been around for decades, but have just begun to make an appearance locally. As defined by Sharable, “A Really Really Free Market is a community gathering where participants give away usable items, skills, food, entertainment, games and many others things that a community can come together and share.”
These markets are Salt Lake Community Mutual Aid has hosted Really Really Free Markets in SLC since 2021 but has only been adopted by communities in Utah county since August 2022. The most recent Really Really Free Market was held at Kiwanis Park in Provo on November 6.
The chill weather did not deter people from bringing boxes and bags filled with preloved items. The tables under the pavilion quickly filled with clothing, books, movies, household goods, and even original artwork by local artists. Hot chocolate and homemade vegan chili were brought and shared freely among participants, creating a warm atmosphere in which people conversed and wandered between tables. Parents and their children came from the nearby playground to look through the items and walked away with free toys and puzzles.
Hailey Sermersheim, a Provo local who appreciated the Really Really Free Market but was unable to attend every market, helped to begin organizing Really Really Free Markets locally with her partner. “It’s kind of a weird story. My partner wanted to make a discord channel that wasn’t flooded with a bunch of random tiny topics. He created an anarchy discord,” Sermersheim explains how they began.“It was kind of a joke, kind of serious. We gathered a bunch of like-minded people. We really enjoy the Really Free Markets that happen in Salt Lake, and so we wanted to replicate that somewhere a little closer to where we live. So we aren’t having to travel all the time and so people who are closer to our own community can kind of have that benefit.”
Simone Anderson, a UVU student and one of the organizers of the event, said, “Really Really Free Markets are intentionally non-hierarchical, there’s not supposed to be one figurehead that runs it all. This was a bunch of friends who were like ‘Let’s do this, it seems cool.’ We saw that Salt Lake Mutual Aid did this and we wanted to try it down here and we went from there,” Anderson said., “[Really Really Free Markets] teach the community non-hierarchical item exchange, it teaches sustainability and builds community in general. We all make friends and talk to new people. It’s a good experience.”
The next Really Really Free Market will take place on November 29 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at UVU in the Science Building Atrium. People are encouraged to bring gently used possessions to share with other attendees but are asked to not bring any ‘rubbish’. People who bring items to share are expected to take any items not taken by others home at the end of the event.