The mile high swappers: homemade food sharing Essay

Swapping food, either casually among neighbors or in an organized group, is reviving a barter-and-trade system for food that went away with the introduction of the modern grocery store, when Americans stopped worrying about growing, trading or stocking up on enough food to make it through the year. As everyone grew accustomed to shopping for prepackaged foods made in factories, we lost the art of acquiring things to eat from people we know. But recently more people are growing, making and preserving foods, drinks, and goods that they once bought from a store and are rediscovering the benefits of trading goods locally, building community. Swaps are a wonderful opportunity to meet others who are interested in gardening, food preservation, beekeeping, and other sustainable, DIY activities. It's like trick-or-treating for adults. There are some of these swap groups right here in Colorado. The Mile High Swappers meet in Denver/Boulder and Fort Collins once a month. No money is exchanged, just think of it as a DIY potluck party! Participants bring at least 3-5 items to swap, but they don't all have to be the same thing. Other groups in the state are in Colorado Springs with two versions the Pikes Peak Community Cupboard and Bear Roots Urban Homesteading. The Pueblo version is Homestyle Swap Meet. These free community events support local agriculture and encourage turning your backyard into a working mini farm of sorts to create “swapable” items. Every community should have one of these locavore haunts! I now know where to take my pickles, jams, fruits and herbs!! If you'd like to find a food swap in your area, check out the fabulous Food Swap Network!!! Example of items to bring for bartering: •Fresh produce, fruit, sprouts, and herbs from your garden. •Backyard/Farm fresh eggs, cheese, baked goods, savory snacks, honey •Preserved, pickled, fermented items, vegetarian soups, stocks •Homemade condiments, dips, spreads, and toppings •Handmade soaps, lip balms, lotions, and other beauty products •Crochet/knitted items, handmade jewelry, handmade cards, etc •Useful garden tools, household and camping/backpacking items •Homemade flavored salts, spice blends, seasonings •Seeds, seedlings, compost, soil •Homemade soda pop, fruit juices, drink mixes

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