How to distribute money in Karrot

Since we got our funding from nlnet agreed (NLnet funding application successful!) and there is some need to distribute money within Karrot project :money_mouth_face: , it’s a good time to create a concept for how this should work.

Firstly, a brief history! :blue_book:

Moneyfree ideological background

Karrot emerged from and which both had a lot of moneyfree (or gift economy) ideology:

Communities make and share a commons, and the value they generate can be captured to fuel a variety of economic enterprises. On an everyday level, the “free goods” that commons provide their users can alleviate financial pressures, freeing up time and energy for other pursuits (Huron, 2015). This approach to commoning resonates with the “money-free” ideology of, which has its roots in the desire of its co-founder Raphael Fellmer to live well without money (Fellmer, 2014).

Source: Sharing food and risk in Berlin’s urban food commons - ScienceDirect
Raphael Fellmers moneyfree book: Buch „Glücklich ohne Geld!“ – Raphael Fellmer

A lot of discussions happened about the role of money in society, projects, and our own lives over those years. Too much to explain now. But in all of the connected projects (karrot, kanthaus, foodsharing, … and sirplus (what Raphael went on to do), and maybe others) money does play a role, but (mostly) with a more conscious approach, and perhaps coming from a default of moneyfree, and only adding it when useful.

Foodsharing has this concept → (in German). Some people in/around Kanthaus are involved in “shared economy” groups/networks (pooling finances). Many models…!

Money in Karrot so far…

In karrot, our first money was some funding from Gothenburg a few years ago (approx 8kEUR?), we delivered the work that was required as part of it, but held the money (in a personal bank account) to be distributed using other mechanisms than wage labour.

We also set up karrot's profile - Liberapay - but didn’t really promote it, and only get a tiny amount from there.

For a while we held monthly money calls where we asked people what their needs were for that month, and distributed some money for that purpose. That was 120EUR/month/person for a while, for a few of us. The calls stopped at some point, I can’t actually remember why. I think not as a conscious decision.

Most of the money is still in the account! We are frugal with money, but significantly because all the contributors are not relying on money from karrot to fulfil their basic needs of life. (This also means that people that need to spend all their working time earning money cannot contribute).

On a pragmatic level, we have shared access to the personal bank account for a few people.

We also have received donations from some groups, voluntarily:

  • 30EUR/month from Essen für Alle
  • a few hundred (I’d have to check) from Luxembourg

We had a couple of discussions that touch on money over the years too:

… but these didn’t go anywhere.

Thoughts for a new model

Now we have (at least) 2 situations that prompt a renewed interested in opening the money question:

  • we have nlnet funding
  • I would have to consider doing other work for income soon (which would likely mean less time to work on karrot)

We actually already chatted quite a bit about it, but didn’t come to a clear conclusion for a model, the rough outline was to define 3 categories people can be in:

  • committed contributor, on some kind of “basic income” amount
  • occasional contributor, on some kind of hourly-based solidarity wage
  • volunteer contributors, who don’t wish to receive money for whatever reason

We have tended to prefer discussion-based methods for deciding things, as opposed to strict formulas, where we can customize the arrangements for the specifics at hand.

I have been pondering about 3 ways of thinking about value/compensation (none of them limited to being about money):

  • “what we need” → needs based, food, housing, travel, … etc.
  • “what we do” → time based, how much we put in in terms of hours (or responsibility?)
  • “what we make” → output based, how much value we are creating

My sense from our discussions is that we are mostly focused on needs based, but can be some combination of all 3 of those, might depend on individual people.

We also have some organizational questions to answer, which space do we need to hold those discussions, and from where do we obtain consent to make decisions?

As we are quite informally/fluidly organised, we don’t really have an existing mechanism to create such spaces, so might trigger us to consider some element of formalization for that purpose.


Here’s the summary of the discussion we had about this topic in our last weekly meeting. For anyone interested in this topic and in contributing to Karrot, we’re continuing the discussion on our next meeting on Tuesday and you’re welcome to join!

Let’s consider some pros and cons with setting an hourly-based wage contra a negotiated one, in which a contributor would have to participate in a call with the team and agree the amount…


  • clear agreement
  • no embarrassment in making people express an amount to how much they think their time is worth


  • difficulty in accounting or estimating the amount of hours worked
  • more contractual and less personal relation between the team and the contributor, not adjusting to each other’s needs.

I think we could strike some kind of balance between the hourly-based and negotiated approach. We could start by setting a recommended solidarity rate for compensation and still leave it open for negotiation. We could even set a range, for example, a minimum of 10/hour and maximum of 20 (no currency used here cause it’s an example only).

As for the other two levels of contribution, committed and volunteer, it seems fine to me and if I understood it correctly nobody had any objection on those.


After a series of group meetings (general call) and chats (synchronous and asynchronous) around money and how we distribute money in Karrot and since Karrot recently received some support from NLnet, we (Vasilis, Bruno, Nathalie, Nick) came up with a proposal/agreement as it follows:

Money distribution in Karrot

The Karrot project receives money through funding and donations. We want to redistribute this money to people that already are or want to get involved.

We work within a culture of intrinsic motivation, so we aim for money not being the main motivator for contributing to Karrot as a project. However, we recognize that people need to make a living and have different degrees of privileges and needs, so we would like to support them to spend less time doing work they don’t enjoy. Karrot’s support to contributors will happen within the project’s financial capacities.

All agreements are made together in a “money circle”. We discuss and decide an agreement for each contributor individually. Everyone who joins the weekly meetings, uses Karrot, and additionally everyone who wishes to contribute or to receive money for contributing to the project is invited to the “money circle”.

The “money circle” needs to be announced beforehand. For practical reasons it usually takes place after the weekly meeting, which is shortened then.

The following serves as a guideline for decision making:

3 categories of contribution

  • committed contributor → receives money monthly on a “basic income” level
  • occasional contributor → flexible time and amount, reference is 15€/h
  • volunteer contributor → don’t wish to receive money for whatever reason

Questions that might be explored during “money circle” discussions

  • “what we need” → needs based, food, housing, travel
  • “what we do” → time based, how much we put in in terms of hours or responsibility
  • “what we offer” → output based, how much value we are sharing
  • “what surrounds us” → country we live in, privileges we hold, wealth we have access to

the above was written during Karrot’s community casual calls of April and May 2022 by Bruno, Nathalie, Vasilis and Nick

‘money distribution proposal and agreement’ will be reviewed in 6 months from now on Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Everyone is welcome to join the future money calls and share their views accordingly. First to come on 2022-05-10T11:00:00Z in Jitsi Meet right after our General call which this time will be a bit shorter