Would you believe we have enjoyed one whole year of food swapping? The Earth has made one full orbit around the Sun and we are now back to winter again when we first started. How did we begin?
It started off with coffee grounds. I thought my garden would like to savour some coffee that I can’t (due to severe withdrawal symptoms). And where did I get the opportunity to regularly collect some for my garden? It was thanks to Transition Towns Maroondah (TTM). I got onto their mailing list after visiting their stall at Maroondah Festival and that was after I heard about it from a teacher in school. So after collecting coffee grounds regularly for a while, it was time to expand my horizons 🙂
Every year, I have so many blood plums, figs, oranges, lemons and loquats that I have to get family and friends to bring their buckets and pick their own. And still there was enough to preserve. Then I heard about food swapping from a friend/client who was fortunate to get our excess fruits! So I started looking for a swap to go to. The closest was in Forest Hill (Whitehorse Urban Harvest Swap). We were waiting to visit the swap when we had a free Saturday which coincided with the swap day…we never got to visit…
…And I jumped at the opportunity to put my hand up when TTM was looking for someone to initiate a food swap locally, among their list of many exciting ways to live sustainably. After one meeting with 4 other enthusiastic home gardeners, we were on our way. Many of the things we discussed were on this A Food Swap for Transition Town Maroondah that was documented at a TTM meeting more than a year earlier.
We didn’t really look at this document anymore once we kicked off our first swap. Now that I’m sharing it here, I must say that all the reasons for a having a food swap is so true. I’ve made many friends and learnt a lot. I’ve started growing veges again after giving up due to losing battle with pests. I’m more adventurous and try to grow new things and a larger variety. And to think that the main reason I wanted to swap food was so that my excess produce don’t go to waste. While that’s a very good reason, I’ve discovered that the food swap is much more than that.
What about the 2nd question of obstacles/barriers/limitations? Surprisingly, we’ve never really encountered having low variety and lemons have been in demand! The weather has been kind to us and we are fortunate to have a good location in the school. There are obstacles that we will hopefully overcome as we face each one. I’m grateful that the group has been so supportive. Thank you!
And so, what needs to happen to bring about a food swap? Just Do It! (Not an endorsement for Nike, LOL!)
This has been a long post. I hope that this will inspire and encourage others who are dipping their toes into sustainable living to do something similar. You can start your own food swap too. Or join us if you’re in the vicinity. You can also contact me if you would like to know more about our experiences with the food swap.
Lastly, come and celebrate with us at the next swap. It will be our 1st anniversary! And we are now a local group under Permaculture Melbourne (yay!). While planning is still in progress, we can at least sniff yummy food! You’re more than welcome to bring something to share. See you there!