What to do with the extra green beans that can never be eaten... Food swapping: we all do it informally, passing on extra vegetables, sometimes in return for a jar of homemade jam or chutney. But in England, it's becoming much more organized. There are good reasons; with the poor economy affecting everyone, it is an easy way to get a little bit extra for free. For example, take it to the pub. One pub has a sign up on the wall saying "If you breed, grow, shoot or steal anything you feel may be at home on our menu, ask at the bar. Let's do a deal." So far, pints of beer have been swapped for potatoes, mackerel and a kilo of fresh fruit.
In London they have been holding 'The Great Food Swap" for the past few years. People brought a wide range of produce that they had made, grown, picked or found and poked around for something to trade for it. The event was a surprising success and was repeated in the winter. At that one eager participants traded mince pies, oyster mushrooms, home made yoghurts and home made bread. It was organised by "Growing Communities", a social enterprise group which was ahead of its time. They began buying up sites in a poor area of north London in 1997 for organic allotments. They were the initiators of the first box scheme in the city, selling fresh vegetables from 25 organic farmers. They then started an organic farmers' market in the area. It has spawned some local industry--a little ice cream company that gets its organic eggs and milk from farmers at the market and sells the dessert from a special blue and yellow bicycle, hence its name: the Irish Ice-cream Peddling Company. :: Growing Communities Via :: Guardian
More on Markets and Social Enterprise Groups
:: Social Entrepreneurs Mean Business
:: Farmers' Market in Brooklyn
:: Victory Gardens