What is Trade School LA? How does it work?

Trade School LA is volunteer-run community organization that offers classes to the public using barter instead of money. Our goal is to offer an accessible education resource that also builds trust & community connection within Los Angeles.

Step 1) Classes at Trade School LA are taught in exchange for barter items provided by students. For example, if you attend a class on knitting, the barter selections might look like this: a pack guitar strings; a paperback novel; a bag of local fruit; a bottle of your favorite wine; help with finding an apartment. Every class's barter will be different, as each instructor sets their own class's exchange.

Step 2) Students sign up for classes on our website, and, by signing up, they agree to bring or fulfill 1 of the listed barter items for that class's teacher.

Step 3) On the day of class, the teachers & students meet in a space that is made available by Trade School LA. Students give their barter item to the teacher, and the class begins! Trade School is a place to learn with other people who value mutual exchange and the sharing of knowledge & skills. We believe that everyone has something to offer.

What does it mean to "barter for knowledge"? Is Trade School Free?

Trade School is NOT free, and we try to stay away from that word. We celebrate the fact that bartering gives people an opportunity to explore ideas about value that are separate from money. We believe in the real value and power of non-monetary exchanges. 

“We believe in equal exchange and the power of group collaboration. Barter is not meant to portray ‘haggling’ – it’s about mutual aid, trusting strangers and sharing resources. It’s beginning to move away from money and not just say, it’s either money or free, because we want people to feel obligated to each other.” Caroline Woolard – Trade School NY

How do I sign up to take a class? 

Simply click on the title of the class you want to take at the bottom of our home page. Look at the teacher's barter list (which is listed under "Bring one of the following:") and decide what barter item you will bring or provide. Click the JOIN button, fill out the information and you're done! You'll receive a confirmation email, and a reminder email before class. 

What's the Trade School Cancellation Policy if I can't make it to the class I signed up for?

*Class Cancellation Policy* Please unregister using the link provided in your reminder email at least two days prior to class, or you may unregister by emailing us directly. Attendance is very important - teachers make preparations based on the number of students they expect, and other students could be on a wait list for your class. Please help us by following and understanding our cancellation policy if you are no longer able to attend.

*Day Of Class:* We understand that last-minute events pop up and schedules change, believe us. You must reach out to us, or you are considered a no-show. We ask that you contact your teacher via the contact information we will provide to you to at least offer the option for a one-on-one barter exchange.

*No-Shows:* Trade School is based on mutual respect. We love you, but you have to let us know if you are unable to attend. It can be by email, phone, text or balloon - just reach out to us! We're very understanding people. If we fail to hear from you, you're considered a 'no-show'. This may affect your ability to sign up for future classes.

Can you give me an example of a barter? 

Sure! Below are some real examples of classes & barters that have happened in Trade Schools all over the world.

Do Trade School Los Angeles classes happen all year-round? 

Currently, TSLA will offer classes in 1-month "sessions". Sign up for our email list so that you get notified when the next class schedule is posted. 

Where are Trade School Los Angeles classes held? 

TSLA does not have a dedicated building, but holds classes at a variety of locations throughout LA, including art collectives like HM157, businesses, public spaces and more. We are always looking for additional venues to hold classes. Please email us if you would like to host a class! 

What types of classes are taught at Trade School? 

Our class offerings depend on what that session's instructors would like to teach. Topics can range from music improvisation classes, to constitutional law; from how to start a website to writing workshops; from introduction to finance to hypnosis classes; from fitness classes to food gardening, and more. The possibilities of what classes you'll find at TSLA are truly endless. 

Where does Trade School LA get its teachers? 

We believe everyone has something to offer. Our instructors come to us and propose to teach a class about something that they're passionate about. They tell us about their background, what they'd like to share with students, and detail the items they are willing to barter. We review the proposal, and then ask teachers to review and agree to our Instructor Guidelines to ensure that the class will be aligned with the Trade School mission and principles of openness and integrity. Once this is complete, we schedule the teacher's class and open its enrollment on our website. 

I want to teach - what do I ask my students for? 

The terms of the barter are up to you. We ask our teachers to list at least 5 items that they would accept as an exchange with each student that signs up for their class. If you want to see what other teachers have asked for in the past, check out this list of 100 Items Previously Requested by Trade School Teachers! 

I didn’t receive a confirmation or reminder email about my class

Providing the correct contact information when registering is very important. If you did not receive a confirmation email after registering, you might have mistyped your email address. Please email us at TradeSchoolLA@gmail.com. If you didn’t receive your confirmation email, you will not be able to receive your reminder email.