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Local Residents Barter for Food

Local Residents Barter for Food

I recently read this article in the East Bay Express about an organized food swap in the East Bay area, outside of San Francisco.  Local residents meet regularly to barter produce grown in their own gardens, eggs collected from their own backyard chickens, and prepared dishes cooked and baked in their own kitchens.  This is a wonderful practice for two reasons.

First, California is considering passing a cottage food law, which would allow food artisans to prepare non-hazardous products liked baked goods in their home kitchens and sell them to the public.  Many states already have such laws on the books.  As it is now, individuals trying to launch food businesses in California must rent commercial kitchen space – a cost that is often prohibitive for those just starting out.  This is detrimental to the local food movement and efforts to create food systems that provide healthier, more affordable, and more environmentally responsible alternatives to the corporate food system.  The success of organized food swaps demonstrates the fact that there is a demand for food grown and prepared in local communities and highlights the need for a cottage food law in California.  What is more, allowing individuals to launch food businesses from their own homes will provide many families with the opportunity to gain additional income, which is certainly important in the current economic climate.

Next, the food swaps are important because they demonstrate the salience of bartering. The media constantly tell us how young adults have it harder these days than their parents had it decades ago.  It is more difficult for Americans to achieve a comfortable lifestyle than it used to be, let alone financial security.  Many young adults are saddled with thousands – if not tens of thousands – of dollars of student loan debt.  In an economic climate that makes it more difficult to afford life’s basic comforts, it is important to remember that we do not always need to rely upon large corporations for our consumer goods.  Bartering and engaging in peer-to-peer transactions is a viable way to save money and circumvent the corporate system.



Read more: Community, Food, Life

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Sarah Cooke

Sarah Cooke is a writer living in California. She is interested in organic food and green living. Sarah holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, an M.A. in Humanities from NYU, and a B.A. in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University. She has written for a number of publications, and she studied Pastry Arts at the Institute for Culinary Education. Her interests include running, yoga, baking, and poetry. Read more on her blog.


+ add your own
5:15PM PDT on Sep 14, 2012

great idea to keep cost of healthy food down

10:28AM PDT on Aug 4, 2012

Great idea!

10:00AM PDT on Aug 4, 2012

thanks for sharing

8:24AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Sounds delightful, grow my own veggies and herbs on the balcony but just enough for me except catnip which supplies the cat that owns me with extra to spare for visiting cats as well, Meow!

6:19AM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

That's cool :) I'm growing herbs and veggies on my balcony... but I don't know of any such bartering program in Missouri.

7:42AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012


9:06AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012


8:25AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

Thank you

5:12PM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

Thanks for this great article.

8:29PM PDT on Apr 24, 2012

Great article, thanks for sharing good ideas!

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