Let's Make a Deal: Swapping Chocolate for a Bed
In these crazy credit crunch times, bartering and swapping have become more and more popular as a way to exchange goods for services without laying out any cash. There is food swapping at markets (you take my zuccini and I'll take your chutney) and now in Lewes they have printed their own money--the Lewes pound--and will be using it as currency in 30 shops in the small town in East Sussex. When you shop in supermarkets 80% of the money leaves the local economy. When you shop locally you are strengthening the whole community.
But Petra Barran has taken the bartering philosophy to the extreme. She has been travelling around Britain in a former ice cream truck called Choc Star and offering homemade chocolate desserts in return for an evening meal and a place to sleep at night.
Inspired by a love of travel and a daring sense of adventure, she refined her chocolate dessert making skills and hit the road. She sells her home-made goodies at fairs and markets. Along the way she looks for her hosts via friends, and her blog and acquaintances. Many of the people she met exchanged their experiences with her. For example, one man took her foraging in the woods for food. Another took her "skip diving" to find discarded foods from supermarkets.
In her blog she outlines where she stayed and what she ate each night and she photographed the meals that she was offered. It is a fascinating tour of Great Britain; everywhere from a castle to a farmhouse and food ranging from simple to gourmet.
As she said "People were misty-eyed at the idea of me travelling around in a chocmobile and were welcoming...Perhaps I see the world through rose-tinted glasses, but I discovered a nation of smiling dreamers". :: Choc Star Via :: GuardianMore on Swapping for Services:: Food Swapping:: Lewes Pounds