Walking up Sierra Vista the other day, I was enjoying the sight of some of our fall-fruiting trees -- pomegranates, persimmons, walnuts -- and suddenly it hit me. There is a veritable supermarket up and down this street. Our neighborhood grows an astonishing variety of produce, from apples and oranges to guavas and loquats. If you are the owner of an overachieving mature fruit or nut tree, you know the drill: two weeks of more fruit (blackberries, lemons, oranges and plums in our case) than you can handle, and then it's over for the year. I'm wondering if there are families along this corridor who would be interested in forming a casual exchange where we all share and trade our extra garden crops. I'm calling this idea the Sierra Vista Produce Exchange. Some of the benefits would be:
- It's fun! As you all know, Sierra Vista's lack of sidewalks and steep slope make it a little tougher than it should be to meet one another out in the neighborhood. We moved here over two years ago and are still just learning who most of you are. The Exchange would offer regular opportunities for families to gather, have a cup of coffee, go "shopping" and build a stronger community.
- It's green! Eating locally doesn't get any more local than this. Our garden foods are mostly organic by default, with little or no chemical input, no risk of food borne illness, no growing in depleted factory-farm soils, and no shipping, so health benefits and nutrients are maximized and "carbon footprint" is minimized -- something we can all feel great about.
- It's economical! Farmer's market quality produce costs a bundle. Shave a little off your Whole Foods bill by trading some of the figs you don't have time to eat for some of the tomatoes and zucchini your neighbor doesn't have time to eat. Less waste for all concerned!
I'm envisioning twice-monthly "swap meets" where people meet to trade surplus garden items, less or more depending on interest and season. (We'd organize it to ensure that someone with an overflow of summer grapes could exchange it for winter grapefruits later on, etc) With enough interest, I'd create a website and/or print newsletter with relevant info (calendar, contact sheet, recipes, whatever!) and we could even include a couple of fun events such as a late-summer party (potluck, of course!) held at a central location. If you think you might be interested in this idea, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a note in the mailbox at 1154 Robles Court. Let me know where you live and what's overproducing at your house. If enough of us want to participate, I will be more than happy to organize it.
Hope to hear from lots of you!