If you are creating a new group, welcome! If you are choosing the neighborhoods for a sprouting group, welcome! The idea behind Buy Nothing community footprints is very similar in these two situations but there are differences we’ll highlight.
When choosing each new gift economy’s footprint for your new or sprouting community, we urge you to check out the different websites that you can use to further understand the area. These sources are listed in the Determining Group Footprints
document and will help you gather information about race, demographics, population, and other factors like social vulnerability (see links at the bottom of this section for more information about this term)
. Following our mission, we hope that your community footprint will be as inclusive as possible and will result in a diverse gifting community for the group.
We’ve found that Buy Nothing communities that serve an area with a population between 10,000 – 35,000 people, who have easy transportation routes to reach each other, tend to grow many meaningful connections between participants. 10,000 works well for areas where the majority of people have reliable internet access, speak the same language, and have time and desire to join a Buy Nothing group. 35,000 works well for areas where a significant percentage of the population lacks reliable internet access, speaks a second (or third) primary language at home, or has other barriers to full participation in an online group. Some people set up Buy Nothing groups to serve an entire city, and the participants in these much larger groups tend not to make as many personal connections and spend much of their time traveling long distances to pick up gifts.
We’ve found that groups with as diverse a population as possible are the healthiest, so we encourage you to choose the most inclusive boundaries to best serve your neighborhood/town, and to avoid the isolation of any marginalized communities. There are many ways that people approach Buy Nothing community building, based on their community's history, current issues, and lived experiences. Some communities have thriving populations of historically marginalized people who may want to preserve and nourish their identity with a Buy Nothing group that focuses their sharing within their own neighborhood(s). Some Buy Nothing groups in North America that include racially and economically diverse participants may experience “White Flight,”
as white people seek to join neighboring or overlapping Buy Nothing groups where they are in the majority. Similarly, Buy Nothing groups that include participants who are struggling economically may experience Economic Flight, as these people seek to join nearby Buy Nothing groups that include economically wealthier neighborhoods. We encourage you to work with your community to create a Buy Nothing group identity that recognizes and serves your community's people, history, and future.
There are many human impulses that can either strengthen or weaken neighborhood resilience, diversity, and the connections between people. We hope you and your Buy Nothing community will strive to build a thriving gift economy that includes all of your neighbors, as you all define your own community identity in ways that are meaningful and constructive. Buy Nothing Project resources and documents allow each community to decide for itself what footprint will best serve its needs and desires as it balances many factors.Links