How to Start a Crop Swap

Backyard gardeners and urban homesteaders are coming together to share excess produce in increasingly popular local meet-ups known as crop swaps, where neighbors exchange, say, beets and greens for apples and squash. Some crop swaps include trades for honey, eggs, flowers, and preserved or prepared foods, too.

These barters may begin online or at a local park or community space, no money changes hands, and everyone can go home with different fruits, vegetables, or herbs to eat. While the actual cash-free transactions can take place in mere minutes, in some cases, people linger long after the produce exchanges have taken place to visit with new friends, hang out with old pals, and pick up some pointers on cooking the goodies they scored, explained Carole Bennett-Simmons of Transition Berkeley, which runs two crop swaps in the Northern California town.

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