St. Croix Valley Food Swap
A couple months ago I read an article in Taproot Magazine about the Portland Preservation Society. The goal of the society is to provide a forum for swapping homemade food — in their case, mostly canned goods. They meet monthly; usually in people’s homes, in each other’s gardens, and even sometimes at local businesses to talk food, food preservation, support each other’s efforts in living sustainably and go home with a variety of things that they probably wouldn’t have made themselves.
In short, it made me want to move to Portland and join.
And since I actually like Minnesota winters and have a community and little piece of land that I am extremely grateful to call home, it seemed like the next best thing to moving across the country to swap homemade food was the start a local group.
Enter the St. Croix Valley Food Swap.
The plan in my mind is to gather a loose collective of St. Croix Valley (eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin along the St. Croix River area) food/sustainable living enthusiasts to meet monthly to swap homemade goods — though participation is certainly open to anyone who wants to join, regardless of geographical area. So, if you live in Portland and want to travel to Minnesota to swap, you are most welcome.
Like the Portland group, I see no need for bartering or bidding on items, nor for a cover charge to attend. They’ve encouraged participants to bring up to five items to share at each meeting: sounds like a good model to follow. Some examples of what people might bring to trade are….. jams, jellies, marmalades, chutneys, relishes, pickles, pestos, spreads, sauces, extracts, beverages, infused alcohols, any variety of preserved fruits and vegetables, flavored salts, granolas, breads, eggs, goat soaps, hand knit wash cloths, and more in every style and color. Seasonal fresh produce from your garden? Fabulous. A great soup you made too much of? Awesome. Beeswax candles? Certainly. Honey from your hives? Wonderful. Pre-packaged treats from the grocery deli? Not so much.
The goal here is to promote and share the energy that builds from making things ourselves mostly from the abundance that can be found in the local community. I would guess most people will end up bringing food items, but there are so many other things one can make by hand that it seems limiting to call this a food swap. But I suppose St. Croix Valley food swap it will be until someone thinks of a better name. But back to the guidelines: At the meetings, participants can choose one item at a time to take home until all the items are distributed, and each participant gets as many items as he or she brought to share. Good conversations will be had, ideas will be shared, knowledge will grow and new friendships will come into being.
Sounds pretty good, right? I thought so. I hope it works. So far I’ve got a few interested folks in my immediate area, and the next step is going to be meeting with a few of them to hash out some more details and figure out how to spread the word. Visit the group’s inaugural Facebook Page to join or learn more! And hey, maybe start one of your own if you don’t live in Portland, the St. Croix Valley or somewhere else that has an up and running food swap group.
“Every aspect of our lives is, in a sense, a vote for the kind of world we want to live in.”
― Frances Moore Lappé