Food Swaps, Garden Workshops and GOOD's Good Deed Ops

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Planting seeds for community with GOOD magazine's first local event. Photos by R. Cruger

Baker Ben traded his olive-red pepper bread for Lizanne's lemongrass-mint syrup who exchanged her nasturtium-carrot top pesto for freshly picked rosemary. The next table quickly filled with books, pillows and clothes, as part of the Community Sharing Center in the middle of the warehouse space. Local artisans displayed handmade goods and homemade goodies, and local Time Banks signed up new members. This bustling scene marked GOOD magazine's successful launch in LA of its first local effort (written up in Treehugger recently) with seeds planted for gardens and a growing community. Here's a look at the event plus how to participate in 1000 Cranes for Japan.

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Hmm. Food Swap display with pesto, rosemary, bread, chocolates, lemongrass-mint syrup.

The swap and share section was one of the hot areas at GOOD's expansive bazaar and happening. Emily Ho just started her LA Food Swap effort as a way to diversify her cupboards. At her last event she offered homemade beet pasta. Today she was eyeing the honey jars. Her table quickly filled with foraged and homemade treats. I wish I'd brought a persimmon-nut loaf with fruit from the tree in my yard.

Neighborhood Time Banks are a great way to create community by exchanging assets -- swapping pet care for yard work, home repair for tutoring, haircuts for web design. Neighbor Goods also offers savings by sharing resources with neighbors by borrowing a bike and lending a lawnmower. I'm a big fan of these organizations and was excited to discover one in my neighborhood to join. They provide valuable services for others and yourself, and create real social change. Mine also has fruit harvesting, so I'll offer my surplus crop of persimmons.

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Janie's handmade fleecey toy fruit.

Artisans surrounded the Sharing Center, with displays of Hellfire Pepper Jelly, Mothercluck's Candied Kumquats, Stella Neptune's recycled cashmere appliqué kits in the shape of moths and band-aids, and Janie's fleecey fruit toys in the shape of mushrooms, oranges and pears.

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Autumn Rooney's upcycled bottlecap earrings.

In the courtyard, The Ecology Center helped participants planted herb gardens and shared tips on composting. I picked up a perfect suggestion from the LA branch of Guerilla Gardening for all those empty Trader Joe's Fair Trade Organic coffee cans: punch holes in the bottom, fill them with soil and stick in a seedling. This global outfit plants neglected areas, under cover of night usually. The LA group uses succulents which work best in the desert climate without the need for water. Get in touch if you want to tend a patch of land or be join the bigger organization in your town.

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Reuse and recycle items for planters suggested by LA Guerilla Gardening.

Workshops included sessions with Open Neighborhoods on community free-wifi, Public Matters on feeding teens healthy food, Rethink LA on going car-less. Also, besides setting up urban hives, Backwards Beekeepers come to homes with bee nests to rescue them and move them into a hive.

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The Craft and Folk Art Museum showed how to make origami cranes. The project 1000 Cranes for Japan follows the tradition of folding one thousand origami cranes to grant a wish to someone. It's up to 943, last count. Shouldn't there be thousands?

Today GOOD was off to CicLAvia the car-free initiative in LA, like efforts in San Francisco, New York City, Miami, Seattle, and European cities, making Sundays bike and pedestrian friendly.

That's just an inspiring taste of GOOD's local ideas at work for the community.

More on car-free streets:
Taking Back the Streets: TreeHugger Tips For Car Free Day
Car-free "Play Street" in Queens is a Great Idea! (Video) :
6 Cities That Could Easily Be Car "Lite" or Car Free
World Car Free Day

Food Swaps, Garden Workshops and GOOD's Good Deed Ops
Baker Ben traded his olive-red pepper bread for Lizanne's lemongrass-mint syrup who exchanged her nasturtium-carrot top pesto for freshly picked rosemary. The next

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