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Organizing a Food Swap for Your Community

By: Inter Valley Health Plan





Organizing a food swap for your community can be a hugely beneficial event that's fun, easy to manage, and effective for engaging others in a locally-fueled barter economy. By organizing a food swap for your town or social group, the joys of everyone's creations can be amply shared in a public forum, increasing the potential of the whole. Participation in a "no-money" event is inherently inviting and encourages creativity for all members.

The basis of a food swap is that everyone must first create something of value. This includes a diverse range, from garden produce to baked cookies to sausage links to homebrew lager to much more. The only requisite at most food swaps is that everything must have been homemade or homegrown, though many also include foraged wild items such as mushrooms. It is an accepted fact that nothing in attendance will have been prepared in an inspected commercial kitchen. Additionally, some swap events have focuses other than foods, such as handmade gifts, arts & crafts, or even skill trading (i.e. bartering an hour of web design for an hour of yard work).

Putting together the event requires simply picking a time and a date, as well as securing a location, before inviting folk from your local community to bring their wares and begin trading. The space should be warm and inviting but also large enough to accommodate. Some personal homes can meet these requirements, but a local business or community space, such as a library, may provide a superior option.

Partnering with small businesses in your area can be hugely beneficial for other reasons, as well. If you reach out, it is possible to find a local company that is willing to bring their actual products for bartering in the exchange. Of course, in some situations, this may go against the overall goal of exclusively homemade, but some small businesses are so small, their products actually are made in the home. What's more, this can create hype for the event and show the public that they can utilize the barter system with more than just friends and family.

Once the actual food swap begins, there is a pretty common three-part method of conducting business. Firstly, everyone sets up their items for trading in the appropriate area and puts out a list for others to make offers upon. Secondly, participants wander about, mingling and writing specific offers to trade on other's lists. Lastly, after reviewing the lists, actual barter begins until everyone is as content as possible the event comes to a close.

It's always a good practice to make small donations to those that help us. If a small business or other entity has been exceedingly crucial for the success of your food swap event, whether in providing the space, raising awareness, or helping organize the entire process, consider collecting a small offering of homemade goods from every attendee to give as thanks. This goodie-bag can add up quick at larger events, providing a lovely reward for someone's good effort.

Article From Inter Valley Health Plan

 





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