Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Food traders and fruit foragers

I'm a big fan of Do-it-Yourself. I probably got this from my dad, who built a TV and a solar hot water heating system during my childhood from Heath Kits. It makes sense that I also followed in his footsteps with a garden, though mine is about a twentieth the size his used to be. I learned from my parents recently that my mom used to sell their produce on the side of the road to make money during the summers, and that they did a brisk business in strawberries and tomatoes. But not everyone wants to sell stuff on the side of the road, so the question arises: what do you do with your extra produce? Because friends, the harvest may be manageable now, but wait a month or two.

I read an article today in the New York Times on this very subject. Coincidentally, one of the sites mentioned in the article, Veggie Trader, was also just forwarded to me by my friend Truffles. Sign up on the site with extra produce and trade with someone who has something that you want in exchange. This works until everyone has too many tomatoes... The article also featured some other efforts like Neighborhood Fruit, where you can see which trees are dropping fruit in the public domain.

The interesting thing about food-trading social networking is that the groups that spring up around food trading often donate portions of their bounty to local food banks. Right on. I don't think our food bank accepts fresh produce though. So perhaps you can just go back to selling your produce on the side of the road and donate part of your proceeds.


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