It’s Free!

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Who does one turn to in time of need? Our families, our friends, our religious or political leaders? Auroville is a village where community comes first. On the 26th of December AUP students took a visit to the Free Store in order to better conceptualize one of the many methods by which Auroville sustains itself. This store serves as a local market where Auroville residents can benefit from a range of commerce on a needs basis. One does not take more than is needed per individual or family. This concept of Free seems idealistic; however, in Auroville though you may Freely take it is generally expected that one must also Freely give. While 30% of the products range from local produce, the other 70% are imported to the village creating a challenge to remain 100% sustainable on local produce. However, beginning with nearly 100 volunteers, the Free store rapidly expanded to over 1,000 volunteers allowing for a higher range of intuition and support from local villagers.

In a world that seems to be tarnished by the self gain and violence, it seems rare that there have been no cases of stealing or robbery from the Free store, but how can one steal something that is Free? Perhaps when there are enough basic necessities in life to sustain everyone, the concept of stealing would seem inane. While concept of sustainability is still being defined, I feel that it should be a continuity of sustenance for a society. Sustainable development is a field that is constantly shifting based upon paradigm shifts or what seems to be important at the moment. It is not sufficient to say that sustainability provides enough in a society such as Auroville. On the other hand sustainability is a community effort that depends on all the strength from links in a continuous chain of effort.

-Ashley Boykin

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