austin time exchange network blog

  • Mapping the Movement of Sharing

    (EVENTS of the recent and near Past / Present / Future + Lots of Links.)

    The recent MAP Jam happened outdoors on one of the most beautiful fall days that we’ve had this year so far.  ATEN participated along with people in over 50 cities world-wide — mapping the many “Sharing Resources” in our area - from credit unions, public parks, and community gardens, to co-ops, thrift shops and co-working spaces – onto an interactive Google map.

    Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 10.59.22 PM

    But it’s not done!  You can help finish the map by adding resources that you know about and we missed, and/or editing the descriptions of the resources to explain what’s awesome about them.  In addition to resources that have a physical address that can be mapped, we included online-only resources in the list.  You can too by simply creating a point anywhere on the Austin map and linking to the resource. (click on the map image->)

    During the course of the map jam, which was held at October’s Austin Sustainable Swap, ATEN got two new members and learned about some other exciting projects.  From Ellen F. we learned about CommonSpark, a collective of commons activators who are working on a global atlas of different kinds of commons and threats, as well as keeping track of activism going on to reclaim the commons around the world.  We also found out that Margarita, who hosts the Swaps each month, has a back-burner project called the Community Support Volunteers Network, which is a website created to help people come together to accomplish big volunteer projects together, no matter where they are.  (Bookmark

    Last but not least in this barrage of commons- and sharing-themed links, you must check out the site of Shareable, the organization which initiated the MAP JAM. They have a vast library of accessible, helpful how-to articles for transforming our society.  I found their article about how to reinvent the potluck very inspiring!

    pumpkin-8-225x300If you are eager to connect with people who are involved in the permaculture/Transition movement and alternative building practices, you might want to make plans to join a Work Day at Pumpkin’s Garden on one of these upcoming Saturdays (weather willing, through Dec. 7th).  Pumpkin’s Garden is in the Decker Lake area (East Austin) and the work days run from 9 until 1:30.  Projects include gardening, compost bin creation, trail creation, and carpentry. You can get Exchange Shares for your labor, and even get oriented to ATEN if you have not already done so!  Contact Karen at 817-7two1-0249 if weather is dubious or you need directions.

    The next fun and exciting thing that is going to happen is Cooperation Texas’s Co-op Fair, this Saturday, Oct. 26th: “In honor of Co-op Month, Cooperation Texas is hosting a Co-op Fair… at 5604 Manor” from noon to 5pm. There will be music, local co-op beer and a silent auction of goods and services offered by local co-ops such as Dahlia Green Cleaning Services, Red Rabbit Cooperative Bakery, and Wheatsville Food Co-op (among others).

    ATEN orientations for new members are now every Sunday at MonkeyWrench Books at 2pm!  If going East is easier for you, come catch us at the next Austin Sustainable Swap at 1:30.

    Next Social/Networking Event: Creating Commerce Circle at the Terrazas Library - 1105 E Cesar Chavez St  Austin, TX 78702 – on Friday Nov. 8th, 3:30-5:00.

    Come if you are doing something that you want others to know about!  Geared towards small business owners, but grassroots organizers, non-profit campaigners, artists and educators are all welcome.  Be prepared to speak about your business/service/project for about 5 minutes, and to learn about other members of your community as well.

    posted 6 months ago

  • Upcoming Networking Opportunities

    September holds several opportunities for Time Exchangers to meet and make plans together.

    Do you have your own business, non-profit campaign, or creative project?  JOIN US Saturday, September 14th at 10:30am for a Creating Commerce circle at the North Village Branch of the Austin Public Library. This is a great chance to speak in a supportive group for up to 5 minutes about what you do or are passionate about, and learn what other members are up to as well.  We are very excited to get these networking meetings going on a regular basis to help encourage connection-making within our community!  Plan to spend about an hour at this event, and do invite friends to come along.

    If you’re not really a morning person and would rather share food with new friends, then save this date for our next POTLUCK: Saturday, September 28th, 5-7pm. It will be held at the home of member Steven Jenner.  R.S.V.P. to stevenjenner AT gmail DOT com and he will send you the address.  Please bring some food or beverage to share if you can.

    And, if you still need to get to an orientation, we will see you back at the Austin Sustainable Swap this month, as they resume at Hot Mama’s Cafe on East 6th St.  Orientation is at 1:30pm on Saturday, September 21st, and lasts about half an hour.

    posted 7 months ago

  • Making Things Happen

    JOIN US Saturday, August 24th at 10:30am for a Creating Commerce circle at the Twin Oaks Branch of the Austin Public Library (meeting room #1).  Do you have your own business, non-profit campaign, or creative project?  This is a great chance to speak in a supportive group for up to 5 minutes about what you do or are passionate about, and learn what other members are up to as well!   We are very excited to get these networking meetings going on a regular basis to help encourage connection-making within our community.  Plan to spend about an hour and a half at this event, and do invite friends to come along!

    Also on the theme of making things happen is this positive story about how ATEN helped one member repay a friends’ kindness…

    __      __      __      __      __      __      __      __      __      __

    Hello Y’all! I’m Jennifer Jarding and I am part of Austin Time Exchange Network.  I generally use the hours I accrue to spoil myself a bit.  Recently I had an idea which turned into a plan that worked out well for everyone involved.

    My story goes like this: I have a friend that is a small business owner who I do work for quite often.  This man has gone above and beyond both as a friend and an employer. When he and I met I did not have a vehicle.  He had an older fixer-upper that he had offered to a few other folks at a very reasonable price.  No one else was interested except me.  I asked him if he would be willing to let me work the hours that would equal what he wanted for the car. He agreed and I basically bartered for an awesome little car.  I almost have it paid off but I wanted to do something extra to show my appreciation after all, he took a chance on me when he didn’t have too.

    There is a loft area in his shop that needed a staircase.  I had drawn up a rough idea of stairs with storage underneath. — Let’s be clear here, a carpenter I am not.  The staircase idea floated around for awhile until BOING!  That part of my brain where the light bulb is started flashing!  What if I used some of my ATEN hours to have someone design and build these stairs?  Then my friend would only have to pay for the supplies.  

    Fortunately I knew just the person to contact: Amanda Jones, AKA Handy Mandy ATX.  We discussed the idea, I showed her my plan, she came up with a much better plan, and then she got started.

    The staircase is amazing. It far exceeded expectations. My friend is thrilled, and Amanda’s work will get more exposure, hopefully leading to more paying gigs in the future.

    Everyone lived happily ever after… Yay, ATEN!  


    from l to r: Jennifer, Amanda, and Scott sitting on the closet/staircase.

    posted 8 months ago

  • Upcoming Dates and a Story about Wasps

    As we tumble into this hottest month of the year, August, ATEN offers a couple of exciting events held in a nice, air-conditioned building: the Twin Oaks Branch of the Austin Public Library.  If you want to become a member, come on out on Saturday, August 3rd at 10:30am for an orientation in Meeting Room 1, led by Jennifer.   If you are already a member and want to meet others to set up exchanges, we have Meeting Room 1 again on Saturday, August 24th at 10:30am for a Creating Commerce circle.  This is a chance to speak in front of a supportive group for up to 5 minutes about what you do or are passionate about, and network with other members, too.  We are very excited to get these business-oriented meetings going on a regular basis!

    On Sunday, August 11th, Soma Vida is having a painting and organizing workday from 11am until 4pm.  If you are a member of ATEN, you can volunteer to help and get credit for your time; just r.s.v.p. to  Then at 4, there will be another orientation opportunity (at Soma Vida) for anyone curious about joining our time-banking community.   Show up promptly and you’ll get all your questions answered!

    And now, for something refreshing and different: the first in hopefully many guest posts on this blog, this one by ATEN member Oakwalker.  His bio follows the story.  Enjoy!

    A Story of Wasps and Resolution

    by Oakwalker 

    As an adept shamanic practitioner, one who experiences life on the planet as a continuous sharing of the life in everything that is created, finding myself apparently at odds with any species is a huge bell-weather of imbalance. It disturbs me to think that I am not in harmony with the elemental forces of nature, or at least more out of balance than usual. (It’s a process.) So when, back in May, we moved into our new, slightly smaller apartment it seemed a no-brainer to me to let the red wasps on the patio have the upper part of it, everything above my head, if they would let me have the bottom, which they didn’t seem too interested in.

    This was a very anxious time for us. Laid off from my corporate job at the end of April, then downsizing by May 1st, then getting married on May 11th, we were really pushed to the limit. I did not have “remove wasps” anywhere on my lists of things to do.

    Wasps are generally one of those critters that it would be best to leave alone. The stings they give when they are feeling threatened are very painful. That is reason enough for most people, but there are other good reasons that are often under-appreciated. Most species are generally very friendly to humans -those that are not thrashing the air, anyway- and they eat all kinds of bugs that you really don’t want in your garden. They are actually protective in both an environmental and a spiritual way, in the sense that their very presence repels your ‘enemies’ too. Red wasps, however, have a reputation for being a bit nasty and territorial, and I was relying on my “pure heart” to avoid any problems.

    Until that night that I stepped out into the patio in the dark and pinned one’s wing to the ground. I howled and limped and felt that I had “paid my dues” to the wasp agreement. After all, I would have stung her too, given the tools, if she were standing on me. She died, I healed and I thought all was fine until one of them did a sneak attack on my hand during the afternoon break. This time, I swelled to the size of a small melon for five days, indicating that there is a progressive allergy around this and making it very dangerous for me to get stung again.

    I do not use inorganic chemicals anymore. The solution would have to be organic. We found that soapy water, if it’s very strong, will drop them to the ground and smother them. We toyed with different essential oils to help repel them. But I still didn’t feel safe out there. I know that the Universe Loves Me. I know that no harm will come to me, because I am part of an Eternal Wholeness. But I don’t want to die of a bee sting. I want to ascend an invisible staircase, or go out defending a friend. I don’t want my last words to be “OUCH, what was that?” I don’t want my epitaph to read “The big things couldn’t get him.” or “Here lies Oakwalker, but for a swat he’d be with us today.”

    With persistence and diligent nest removal -get them at the stem stage- their intrusions became less frequent. This was an improvement, because I had a lot of seedlings on the patio that needed attention. The patio is where I go to smoke and meditate on just how I am going to replace that honkin’ great income, or downsize even more, or both. I have been starting my healing practice on a full time basis now, and I need some way of telling people that I am so much more available. The Austin Time Exchange Network is a key part of my strategy for this. It is more than a great idea for exhanging goods and services. It is a network, and the buzz that gets generated along the network will radiate into the community at large with the message that money is not the only way to get what you need. I’m a believer. Yet I’ve found this start-up process to be overwhelming at times, and progress has been slow. It seems as if I’m being guided in one direction, then another, as if I’m trying to paint in a circle one ray at a time. Commitments were becoming difficult to fulfill, as the prep work required was being left to the last minute.

    This morning, meditating on the patio about just this very subject, I had the breakthrough that I needed. It finally dawned on me that I was confusing the objective again. My Angel, caressing me with a warm, peaceful knowing in my heart, reminded me that it is about the Healing. Anyone can see that there is a lot of healing that needs to be done. A LOT. I sat up and announced “Well, here I am! Going Pro, now that things are weird enough!” Then I was seeing. I could see the future as if all of these possible lives went out as tubes all around me. As I finally made this firm declaration, a total commitment, then those tubes seemed to shift and run through my space as well, before going out into their own futures, a rest stop along the way. My guides and angels were flooding me with their own special brand of “It’s about time you put some heart into it!” messages that skittered along my skin like happy rain in a hot skillet.

    I opened my eyes, and beheld the one of the most beautiful insects that I have ever seen. Irridescent blue from head to tail, it flew to me and really gave me a good look. It landed and let me look at it closer. It was one of those enchanted moments. What was this gorgeous symbol that Mother had sent? What did it mean?

    Well, this wasp, the Cuckoo Wasp, lays its eggs in other wasp nests. It is a natural predator to the red wasp’s larvae. This wasp, named after crazy, is the balancing force of Nature that I’ve needed to keep the red wasps down. This secretive little critter was my visible message from my loving Universe that I can be at peace, that I will be provided for, and that it’s OK to sit on my patio again. I just LOVE this life.

    Oakwalker is a Pachakuti Mesa Tradition Teacher and Shamanic Healing specialist. He is an initiated sound healer, Crystal Skull Meditation initiator, a certified clinical herbalist and a former engineer.  On the ATE Network he offers classes in Shamanic, Herbal and Sustainability studies.

    Inline image 1

    posted 9 months ago

  • Where to find ATEN this summer

    Second Sundays at Soma Vida are back for July and August!  We meet for new member orientation at 4pm on those two Sundays (7/14 & 8/11), plus work parties will be ongoing from 11am-4pm on those days to freshen up the paint in two of Soma Vida’s rooms.  They are offering Hours to helpers who commit to a 1/2 (2.5 hours) or full (5 hours) shift. (r.s.v.p. to


    In August, we will add on a new South Austin venue for monthly orientations, AND a monthly Creating Commerce gathering that will meet at alternating North, Central and South venues.  Creating Commerce circles are fun networking events for new AND current members to get together and share what they do and are passionate about… 5 minutes each around the circle (kind of like Show and Tell, but for grown-ups).  And, get your recipes handy, because August is also time for our Quarterly Potluck.

    And here are some picture from our last, the May Musical Potluck:

    mmp-1 mmp=2mmp-3Yum.

    posted 10 months ago

  • Revitalized!

    HUGE THANKS go out to all the presenters, participants, helpers, organizers, and host(esse)s who made 2013′s EXCHANGE FAIR @ LEARNING MAN a success!  It was a beautiful day, with many new members, people learning new skills, facts and ways of thinking, delicious raw foods, and lots of members geting to meet each other for the first time offline.  We are filled with inspiration and ideas for the next time!

    Coming up…

    On May 18th, Cliff will be out at the Sustainable Swap, to orient you at 1:30 if you want to get started.

    On May 19th, an all-community potluck will be held at Krishna’s South Austin home from noon to 2:30, with a musical theme!  Bring some food to share for lunch, and an instrument or song or two.  615 Clifford Dr. Atx 78745 — R.S.V.P.s (to welcome.  :-)

    posted 12 months ago

  • Exchange Fair @ Learning Man – Today!

    ~A Knowledge-Share Festivity Event for the Greater Austin Community~

    Saturday, May 4th, 2013, 11am-4:30pm

    Soma Vida Work-Life Center : 1210 Rosewood Ave.

    Help us celebrate the Learning Man ideals of sustainability, cooperation, and passion, and expand your artistry and skills with free lectures and workshops from members of the Austin Time Exchange Network.

    This immersive community event is a unique opportunity to learn more about your favorite subjects, and the “cost” is mere Hours (for example, a one-hour presentation “costs” you one Hour of service/assistance, which can be volunteered to any member of the Network (300+ members and growing!) at any point in time.

    Choose from amazing topics such as: Bicycle Road Skills 101, Intro to Mariachi Appreciation, Creating a Personal Vision, Design Psychology, Natural Homebuilding Techniques, Swedish Massage, and MANY more!!

    We will be holding ongoing orientations, too, so if you aren’t already a member, you may join at the event.  If you haven’t attended orientation, be sure to arrive at least 45 minutes in advance of the first class you want to take.

    In addition, there will be life-affirming nutrients for sale by Roxie’s Rawkin Recipes (everything $5)!

    Check out the full line-up of presentations here

    and Pre-register (until 8:30am) to reserve a space in the class(es) of your choice by emailing

    We hope to see you there!

    P.S.  You may also be interested in the rest of the LEARNING MAN Events that are happening May 3rd, 5th, and 6th


    posted about 1 year ago

  • EXCHANGE FAIR @ Learning Man Coming SOON!

    Imagine a day of free workshops, classes and presentations, all contained within one building and offered by fellow Time Exchangers…

    Well, we’re going to make it happen on May 4th at Soma Vida!

    Soma Vida will host our first ever Learning Man Exchange Fair.

    Soma Vida will host our first ever Learning Man Exchange Fair.

    With a speed-orientation available at registration and extra computers available, participants will be able to redeem ATEN Hours for tutelage in the subjects of their choice, all taught by “qualified experts” in their fields. (this is subjective, but we think your own opinion of yourself is worth something…)

    Some of the subjects already being covered include: Creating a Personal Vision, Being a Change Agent, Understanding your Non-human Companions, Feng Shui, and Spiritual Healing.

    What could YOU contribute to our smorgasbord of smarts?

    • Do you know how to make tinctures, ferments, home-made cleaning supplies, or beauty products?
    • Are you a professional with Saturdays off and a passion for sharing your experiences and expertise?
    • Holistic health, yoga, tai chi?
    • Know from experience about starting a co-op, using wordpress for websites, editing photos in Photoshop?
    • Have you traveled afar and brought back unique stories?
    • Know some tips for being a great babysitter?
    • Play an instrument and can show us how, too?

    If you have a desire to teach, we want to see you there!  You will get Hours for your presentation + preparation time, plus access to all other class sessions.

    Email a proposal for your presentation/workshop/class to by April 14th.  Include a brief description of your presentation and your history with the subject, as well as an amount of time that your presentation will take (15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour)

    This EXCHANGE FAIR / KNOWLEDGE-SHARE is happening in tandem with Austin’s Learning Man 2013, which will include events on May 3rd and 5th as well.

    /   -   /   -   /   -   /

    If you want to get oriented to ATEN before the event (and earn a one-hour “stimulus” credit), you can come out to the Austin Sustainable Swap on Saturday, April 20th and catch our 1:30pm orientation.

    posted about 1 year ago

  • Come Meet Time Exchangers at a Swap, Potluck, or Orientation

    Continuing our partnership with the awesome Austin Sustainable Swap, we will be returning to Hot Mama’s Cafe on Saturday, March 16th and giving an orientation at 1:30.  SXSW madness will be in full effect, so party atmosphere may prevail as we network on the sidewalk and swap… We shall see!  In the meantime, please check out their website.

    In late March, rustle up some grub and bring it to the Austin Time Exchange Network’s potluck!  Time and place t.b.d. (will be updated very soon).

    If you need an early April orientation, we’ve got you covered there: First Sunday, 12:30pm, Vuka Coop.


    At our last potluck, in February at Steven Jenner’s home, we enjoyed plentiful food and conversations with friendly Exchangers, both fresh and seasoned.


    posted about 1 year ago

  • Add Your Story Here…

    Next Orientation:

    **Sunday, Mar. 3rd; 12:30pm; @ Vuka Coop – 411 Monroe St. 78704

    Attend an orientation and join the ranks of happy members such as these who are giving and receiving help in our network

    dick-teaching  “We teach 4 Citizen Gardener Courses each spring and each fall. We have 8 hours of hands-on instruction outdoors building and planting and learning. To make this flow smoothly and seem easy, a great deal of prep and gathering of materials is necessary – probably 10 – 20 hours. It’s a tough, extra-curricular job to get all of this done in the week before the class – along with regular work, home life, etc.. One can be exhausted and almost cranky by the 1st class day.

    This past class, it dawned on me to use ATEN to help me out. [Elton/ATEN] came to my rescue. We did the heavy stuff together – 12 bags of soil, 8 bags of wood chips; building the bulky raised-beds. I spent 10 of my ATEN hours, did the work in less than half the usual time, and had a good, social time doing it. Gone was the drudgery of late night and isolated activity.

    Thanks, ATEN. You are awesome. I’m going to ask your help in several other areas about which I’ve been procrastinating.”  – Dick Pierce


    “I really appreciate how versatile ATEN is!  I’ve used it for everything from tutoring to building design and know I will continue to rely on it more for all the interesting things I want to know more about/be able to do, but am just not ready for DIY quite yet.  Thanks for being here!”
    – Leta

    posted about 1 year ago

Mission Statement

The Austin Time Exchange Network (ATEN) provides a complementary currency that enables members to build community through the exchange of services.

Board Members

The Austin Time Exchange Network Board members work to keep ATEN’s mission focused. You can build groups or make exchanges for a variety of purposes, but if you feel you need any support, please feel free to reach out to one of us, or email the entire board at

  • Sheila is a working mom of two and 15 year resident of Austin. Her interests include gardening/farming, and child development and sewing. She runs several businesses that keep her busy including Urban Explorer Camp and Sheilasewing. Sheila believes that everyone should get what they need regardless of the amount of legal US currency they have or don’t have.

    Sheila Gordy
    Community Outreach

  • Amanda Jones has been in Austin since 2005, striving to manifest artistic impulses and engage communities with creativity. She joined ATEN in the summer of 2009. Prior to putting down roots in Austin, Amanda studied Arts and Social Change at Hampshire College (Massachusetts) and briefly in South Africa.

    Amanda Jones
    Community Outreach

  • Rich is a software developer who works with many nonprofit and community groups in the interests of empowering them through technology. He is one of the co-founders and current Board President of Lights. Camera. Help. He is also on the Board of EFF-Austin and is webmaster for Cine Las Americas. His current causes include promoting open source software, creative commons and computer security. @drapetomaniac

    Rich Vázquez

Past Contributors

Karen Gifford graduated in 2001 with a BA from the Friends World Program of Long Island University after studying the cohesiveness within Permaculture communities in Argentina and Cuba for her senior thesis project. She has devoted her time since college to endeavors focused on sustainable development, cultural preservation, and community economics and moved to Austin in her home state of Texas with the intention of founding the Austin Time Exchange in 2006. To learn more about the start of ATEN, please view this footage from this 2006 newscast with Austin's NBC affiliate on KXAN.

In Practice

Typically, exchanges within ATEN can include nearly any skill or trade: computer or office assistance, minor home repair, painting, cooking, running errands, yoga classes, massage, tutoring, yard services, moving help, haircutting, housecleaning, language translating, etc. any service that one would generally pay for in the day to day.

When an Austin Time Exchange member offers a trade or skill to another member, the individual providing the service earns Exchange Shares, the unit of credit exchanged within the Austin Time Exchange. Each time a member performs one hour of work, regardless of the type of skill offered, one Exchange Share is earned by that person. A member will be given one Exchange Share for every hour of service performed for another in the network, whether they are providing acupuncture, gardening, house painting, tutoring, piano teaching, or any other service. Each member's hour of service is seen as being of equal value.

There is no physical trading of Exchange Shares. Rather, an online account keeps track of the Exchange Shares earned and spent between members. The member receiving a service from another member is the entity responsible for recording or paying through using the online system. Exchange Shares can be saved indefinitely or spent on any service that another member of the ATEN community has to offer.

Steps to Membership

Attend an orientation

While exchanges are now coordinated more easily through the use of the internet, there is still a great need in Time Exchanging to maintain contact with the Austin Time Exchange community and the coordinator of the Time Exchange to foster new connections and maintain accountability. Attending an orientation session is a requirement before you can be accepted as a member. This ensures that all members have a shared understanding of Time Exchange. Check the calendar on the right side of the homepage for details on the time and place of the next orientation.

Become a part of the on-line Time Exchange

Once you attend an orientation meeting with a coordinator, you will be granted access to the online system so that you can develop your profile.

**NOTE: If you SIGN UP & create a profile before attending an orientation, you will be added to ATEN's mailing list. Within a month or less, you will receive a newsletter with a reminder about the next orientation date. You will not be able to SIGN IN until after attending an orientation.

Begin exchanging services

To get started exchanging, you can do several things. Create a posting asking for a service you would like to receive or respond to another members request. Post an offer for a service you would like to provide. Or, browse through member profiles until you find someone you would like to exchange with.

Attend Time Exchanging potlucks and events

Part of the mission of the Time Exchange is to build community, as friends, neighbors, and acquaintances will come together to form the core of the Time Exchange. Through one-on-one exchanges as well as Time Exchange gatherings, the Time Exchange creates constant opportunities to rebuild community. Often there is a potluck held @ 5pm on the Second Sunday after the orientation at SomaVida (after orientation), but be sure to check the calendar for the most up-to-date information.