How to Set Up a Food Swap

Leftover Cooking

Cooking outdoors and trying new refreshing and healthy recipes is a great way to start off the summer. You probably are using the bounty of produce but perhaps making the same old things. Bring some refreshing excitement to your kitchen with a food swap! Bring your leftovers and get new and different foods in return, what could possibly be better? 

* How it works: A food swap is like a cross between a silent auction and a community marketplace. Participants bring in their homemade goods, which are in turn used as currency to exchange and barter for other items. In the end, you leave with different kinds of baked goods, pickled foods and other tasty delights.

* The benefits: No matter how good and delicious your peanut butter-milk chocolate chip cookies are, you can still have an excess of them. Being able to bring them in and trade them for other foods (particularly those you wouldn't have necessarily made yourself!) is a great benefit of the food swap.

* Ideas: Keep in mind that the more you bring, the more you can take home with you. So stock up on your homemade kombucha or your other favorite homemade treats for bartering. And don't feel obligated trading with someone if you don't want their item. Treat this like a regular market and buy the things you would ordinarily buy or even try. You can also "shop" for others as most of the items in a food swap make for great gifts.

* Where to go: Everywhere from Brooklyn to Austin and Portland to Minneapolis have established food swaps. Search for one that is already reputable or set a new one up with your friends. It's a great way to get involved with your community and to try new things!

Have you participated in a food swap?