Jul 23, 2009

Community: Building Local Food Communities

(my neighbor's lemon tree)

Recently I've been introduced to a couple organizations that are helping to build local food communities by connecting neighbors with excess produce. I love reading about these kinds of groups and the individuals that get them started. I feel like a student with much to learn. One of my goals is to learn more about food communities such as these around the world in hopes of both being a part of them and possibly one day starting one.

These two organizations help organize an exchange of excess produce by using the internet to connect the front and backyards of neighbors. By creating a network of people who have excess produce in their yard or garden that can be traded for the excess from someone else, the community grows.

VeggieTrader - your place to trade, buy, or sell local homegrown produce. On this site you can sign up and then type in your zip code to find other's offering produce in your area. And if you have goods to offer you can post those here as well. It is not strictly barter as you might buy from or sell to others but it connects you to more local resources for food.

ForageOakland - a local resource for the Oakland area, however there are links to foraging organizations in other parts of California, Oregon, Canada, and the UK. This organization creates a barter system, for example: I might use some of your excess figs now and bring you some of my oranges later.

I've lived in my neighborhood for about a year now and as the seasons have changed I've been lucky enough to be offered lemons, apples, berries, and lavender from different neighbors abundance. Each time I'm astonished and my heart warms at the thought that even in this urban maze there is room to be so neighborly.

If you have an individual or organization in your area creating local food communities I'd love to hear about them.

See you tomorrow with a new recipe.

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