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Des Moines Really Really Free Market

The Really Really Free Market (RRFM) is a temporary market that is based on gifting. Typically offering goods and services, groups around the world tend to hold RRFM events in public spaces like parks. Locations in Des Moines have included the public parks of Nollen Plaza, Drake Park, and Stewart Square.

Participants can receive gifts without judgment at a recent RRFM.
Participants can receive gifts without judgment at a recent RRFM.Des Moines Really Really Free Market
Participating in a gift economy is normal at the Really Really Free Market
Participating in a gift economy is normal at the Really Really Free MarketDes Moines Really Really Free Market

Although other markets have been held in the past, the current group organizing the market in Des Moines has been holding regular RRFM’s since 2012, when monthly markets were held outdoors during pleasant weather. This year, 2013, has seen markets open every other month. The next Des Moines RRFM will be Sept. 28 at Stewart Square, located at E. 14th and Grand Ave., from 10 a.m. until noon. The event will most likely be the last one of the season.

RRFM gathers a diverse group of people. There may be 230 people in attendance as in May 2012, or there may be 42 people as in July 2013. Organizer Adam’s favorite event was held in May 2012. In an email, he wrote, “In addition to lots of great stuff that people were giving away musicians and other artists performed for free, a licensed massage therapist offered free massages, and a belly dancer was even teaching groups how to belly dance. Food Not Bombs fed almost everyone there, too [at the May 2012 event].”

“They are all pretty similar and all good times. There's beauty in each event,” stated Angie, another event organizer.

Sharing resources and caring for each other seem to be basic goals for RRFM community. Adam said that he likes that “every RRFM is a momentary glimpse into what the world could look like – everyone provides what they can, everyone takes what they need, and everyone is taken care of – no need for hierarchy, authority, control, or money.”

The event is open to all people, whether they planned to attend or not. Angie says, “There's no prejudice. Everyone is there with no discrimination.”

Local organizer Misti agrees, “I like the spirit of the RRFM. Every person comes with good intentions. It is a fairly radical idea that the majority of the community can get behind aside from political alignment.”

The best way to get info about the RRFM is to participate. Interested folks can also visit the group’s Facebook page. It’s not updated much between events, but the group’s wall seems to have flurries of posts right before and after market days.