TOOLING AROUND: At an Oct. 21 community sharpening event at the Asheville Tool Library, participants learned to sharpen blades on implements ranging from kitchen knives to chainsaws. The tool library will celebrate its second anniversary this month. Photo by Travis Smith

Nicholas Letts brought the sharing economy to Asheville with tool library

While reducing the environmental impact of purchasing tools that member households may need only infrequently is a key goal for the Asheville Tool Library, the nonprofit has an even bigger vision. Founder Nicholas Letts says he hopes the library levels the economic playing field by reducing expenses and promoting collaboration.

Julie Osburne gathered her inspiration for ExchangeTree from her time spent traveling and busking around the U.S. and Canada. Photo courtesy of Julie Osburne.

Branching out: ExchangeTr­ee links people, needs in WNC

All over the country, collaborative economies are sprouting like dandelions. In the last few months, something uniquely Asheville has blossomed. And though ExchangeTree is still in its “training wheels” phase, the site (which, at this point, is operating only in Asheville and Boston) is fully operational. Rather than couch-to-couch traveling or currency-based exchanges, however, it works via barter.