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Barter for Smarts at Trade School

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I’m sure you woke up several mornings in college and thought, “Man, I wish I could pay for this in bushels of corn or jars of marbles.” And then when you graduated, you’re probably dissapointed every month when Sallie Mae refuses your offer of a dozen homemade cupcakes instead of your monthly payment. For a few short months, your bartering education dream can come true. Just go to Trade School, and you can pay for classes in arrowheads, lists of sandwich ingredients and books of poetry.

Trade school sounds like something more likely to happen in Olympia, Wash. or Portland, but it’s in Soho. Instead of offering trade classes like welding, their course catalog offers The Philosophy of Plumbing 101, Basic Cartooning, WordPress Portfolios for Artists, Forestry, 19th Century Handsewing, etc. The teachers are all volunteers from the community who are professors, scientists, 10 year olds, artists and other people who are knowledgeable what what they teach. Rather than paying in actual currency, you pay your trade school teacher with an item from their list of practical (paper, pens), intangible (help learning Italian, restaurant recommendations) and random (anything aqua colored, flashlights) items. Each course is a one time, hour and a half session, so it’s perfect for broke-asses with limited attention spans. (And if you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can volunteer to teach a class and get strangers to bring you plastic ants, notebook paper and a taxidermy squirrel in exchange for your expertise). Make sure you register ahead of time, classes are filling up fast.

photo from

Trade School
32 Prince Street at Mott Street [Soho, Manhattan]
Runs from February 2 to April 17
For complete list of classes, go here

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Kiley E - Ragamuffin Researcher

Kiley E - Ragamuffin Researcher

After years of denial, Kiley has finally admitted to baring a striking resemblance to Velma from Scooby Doo. Instead of traveling in a van hunting ghosts, she prefers wandering on foot in search of tacos, cheap beer, and fake birds. Growing up in Portland, Kiley enjoyed the balance of urban and green spaces. Then she spent her four years at Ithaca College, and found herself craving more sprawling asphalt in her life. So she moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where most of the buildings look like they're about to collapse. Kiley's favorite activities include: getting lost, crafting, sewing, biking, and geeking out at museums. Her love of taxidermy probably makes her a terrible vegetarian, but she doesn't care.