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Bartering for education


Are you interested in taking a class on piñata making? Vegan cooking on a budget? Perhaps DIY dog nail clipping? Are you interested in a grassroots education that requires no money, and is easily accessible for all residents and students in HRM?

If so, Trade School Halifax will begin to offer their annual series of weekly workshops across the city, starting in November.

Trade School is a bartering-style education that originated in New York which has grown to 45 trade schools across the globe, and that number is continuing to grow.

Instead of using money as a method of payment, participants show their gratitude by exchanging a gift that the teacher requests. The gifts range from material items such as an ingredient, toilet paper and potted plants to a simple hug or joke.

“It helps the participants to not just be a consumer, but to have a symbol of appreciation,” said Marietta Wildt, who took over the Trade School after founder Tamsyn Loat moved away last year.

Those who are passionate about a certain skill have the opportunity to become a teacher with Trade School. Skills can range from beginner to advanced, and teachers can use their experience as résumé boosters.

“We need teachers,” Wildt said.“We really want more teachers, and also we specifically want teachers and participants from everywhere, like students – that’s good, but we want people to tell their families about it.”

Trade School even offers Free School, a free four day summer school in Tatamagouche, N.S. Participants have the opportunity to camp and attend a variety of workshops, ranging from Introduction to Herbalism, Star Gazing to Cultivating Hope in Difficult Times. Free school happens annually and is on its eleventh year.

For more information on attending a workshop, volunteering or becoming a teacher with Trade School Halifax, you can contact Marietta Wildt at


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