Really, Really Free Market Transforms Vacant Lot

Grand Rapids’ first “Really, Really Free Market” was an astonishing success with over one-hundred people transforming a vacant lot into a community gathering space where everything–from food to shoes–was free.


On Sunday, well over one-hundred people stopped by Grand Rapids’ first “Really, Really Free Market.” The ‘Free Market–basically a garage sale or swap meet where everything is free–had a festival-like air with people playing music, sharing items they don’t need, and even sharing skills (for example, bike repair and guitar lessons). The event was an astounding success, as it attracted a broad array of people and turned an otherwise vacant parking lot at the corner of Wealthy and Fuller into a vibrant center of community. While not always an indicator of success, the event did make the cover of The Grand Rapids Press.

The ‘Free Market was facilitated by The Bloom Collective, although really, the Bloom Collective did not do much other than pick a date and do some fairly minimal amounts of advertising. The idea spread pretty quickly by word of mouth and happened very organically. Nobody planned for music, nobody directed people at the event, and there were no organizers calling the shots – everything worked well without hierarchy. To disperse the work in the future, flyers could be posted online so that people could distribute them more widely, as the more diverse folks that come out, the better the event is for the community.

Some possible venues to plan another market online include Facebook and

Additionally, people can contact The Bloom Collective for information – or even better — set a date and time for the next ‘Free Market, create a flyer, and start promoting it.

Author: mediamouse

Grand Rapids independent media //