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Food Swap


Food artisans at the Truckee Tahoe Food Swap

I just went to my first food swap on Sunday night and I’m super fired up about this idea. A food swap is where you make food and trade it with other people who made food. Instead of cash, you barter…a jar of salsa for a loaf of bread or half-dozen eggs for some granola. It is the ultimate recipe for community…take a group of people, add handcrafted foods, stir slowly, sprinkle laughter, ideas and inspiration. Let rise for two hours and take home a basket of assorted culinary creations. 

It’s the Christmas morning of grocery stores…It is a total surprise what you will find but everything is edible and stocks your shelves with an array of goodies. Some items are pantry staples like jam and pasta sauce and others, are items that you may have never otherwise bought like goat cheese marinated in rosemary infused olive oil or pumpkin hummus.

The way it works is…you bring enough of something to share. The more you bring, the more you get to take home! Once everyone has arrived, checked in and displayed their artisan foods, the trading begins. You mingle around the room sampling tastes and connecting with neighbors in a cultural exchange. It doesn’t get any more real or personal than that.

Building a local food system takes a long time but it starts with simple steps and a food swap is a great first start. They are easy to launch but be sure to follow a few critical guidelines to keep the health department at bay. Since most of the food will have not been prepared in a commercial kitchen, their is an inherent liability in how the food was handled. But as long as everyone is trusting that participants have used best practices, all you have to do is ensure attendees register in advance acknowledging the risk they are assuming and that they too have followed proper food safety in the kitchen.