Lately I have been attending food swaps through a local group, Treasure Valley Real Foodies. It’s been such a real treat, and I have really enjoyed going to them every month. The concept is brilliant. It’s free, it builds your community and your connection with real food!
Here is what I got at my first swap!
Nut free lara bars, chocolate Bark, homemade real peanut butter, thyme tincture and Lard from pastured pigs.
I swapped these for homemade massage oils and vapor rubs.
Homemade BBQ sauce, beeswax, chutney, bath salts, calendula leaves, soaked crackers, rose water toner, superfood chocolate (not pictured because I ate it..LOL!) and a scoby for making kombucha.
Here’s how it basically works:
You get what you bring, so for instance, if you bring 5 items you walk away with 5 new items from the swap. Everybody benefits from these swaps, and no one leaves empty handed. The idea is to share homemade, homegrown, foraged food with your fellow “real foodies.” Participants simply trade things they’ve made, grew or found themselves – you trade your treasures for someone else’s treasures. It’s a way to diversity your pantry, and share your foodie talent with others while in return getting to partake of others. There are really no “rules” except everything must be home grown, or homemade, preferably with local whole ingredients whenever possible. Sometimes the people who host will do a light lunch or dinner before the swap. It all depends on what they want to do. It’s really just awesome all the way around.
So, when Guest arrive they are given a piece of paper and and a name tag. The piece of paper is where they write their name, their food item, and the main ingredients. They call this the “swap sheet”. They find a place on the “swap table” to display their goods to trade. If they have samples of their goods, they can set them up on a separate “tasting table” if they choose. In the beginning people mingle, chat, get to know each other, sample foods available for trading, and write their names beside food they are interested in trading for. Nobody is held to the list! Writing your name does not mean you will get it. Once official trading time is announced, it starts to get fun. Actually trading involves discussions, and exchanges happen when both parties agree with that trade.
Here were my offerings last time. coconut milk kefir, apple pie filling, canned pears with honey, homemade apple sauce and apple butter. FAQ:
*Do you have to bring only food items? No. You can bring homemade beauty items, oils, tinctures, handmade sewn items – really whatever you feel is worth trading.
*Does it have to take place always in someones house? No. You can do it outside if it’s nice, in a community hall, or church. Wherever you see fit or have permission to do so.
*Can you do different kind of food swaps? Yes. You can do a “healthy food only,” “Fit-Foodie,” “Meal/Dinner Swap.” Really just have fun with this idea.
*What if you can’t have the item that people want to swap you for? That’s fine. People have food allergies or are on specific diets so therefore, you can just find someone else to trade with according to your preference.
*What if you feel the items that are being traded are not equal value? People just decided for themselves what something was worth, and it was completely based on their own personal contexts. For instance, I make kefir regularly and it is something very simple and ordinary to me. At one of the swaps I went to, others who have never made their own kefir before were quizzing me on how I did it, and they saw a lot of value in it. I, on the other hand, would not have traded for kefir that someone else had made because it’s just not special to me – I make it all the time anyway, and why waste a trade for something that I already have? Value truly is subjective.
Here is are some great resources:
Food Swap Network Toolkit
SoundCloud about Food Swaps
Rules of Food Swapping
If your hosting, Check out this resource to help you with your first swap.
All pictures were taken by a participant who shared them on our fb page and she gave me permission to use them.