Newly thrifty Americans go foraging

Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:46am EDT
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By Rebekah Kebede

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Miranda Walton's old Ford pickup was collecting dust on her ranch in Austin, Texas, so she decided to trade it in for something she needed -- goats.

Walton, 38, will get milk for her three sons, a tax break for using her land for raising livestock and someone will get a sturdy truck.

There's no cash involved, making Walton one of a growing number of Americans who are looking outside the traditional economy to confront the recession.

People are turning to bartering, foraging and trash salvaging.

"The most important underlying concept here is that Americans of all classes are now willing to accept the viability of a secondary market," said Paco Underhill, chief executive of the New York-based retail consultancy Envirosell and author of "Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping."

Walton used the online classifieds site to list her ad seeking to swap the truck for goats.

"We went through a really big expense at the beginning of this year, so money is a little tight," she said.

Nationwide data is not collected on these practices, but anecdotal evidence indicates they are growing.   Continued...

<p>A "Freegan" holds a bag of food found while hunting through trash at markets along Third Avenue in New York March 18, 2009. REUTERS/Eric Thayer</p>