Last Sunday (October 4th, 2014) was the 4th annual Powell River Food Swap. For those of you who have never heard of a Food Swap, you can get the full details via the Food Swap Network, but in few words, a food swap is an opportunity to "trade your homemade, homegrown, and foraged creations with other participants [and] diversify your pantry while meeting your friends and neighbours!"
Not having grown very many things myself this year (and having already eaten most of my foraged goods), I had the industrious idea of brewing a kombucha army to swap for whatever goodies might come my way. I loaded up 12 SCOBYs in a Rubbermaid bin, along with a potluck item to share (some pu-ehr tea kombucha) and headed down the street to Sycamore Commons.
I set up my booth, not really knowing what to expect. I even made sure to take out an interactive SCOBY for people to poke and play with, while I stood around my booth ready to answer any kombucha-related questions.
Truth be told, I felt like a chump. Who would want to trade a wobbly, fermenting "Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast" for anything you could eat directly? After all, people had everything from pumpkins to salsas, to sweets, herbs, seeds, vinegars, fruit, fish, pickles, mushrooms, peppers and nuts...
... but by the end of the Food Swap, I had partnered many-a swapper with their own kombucha SCOBY, sharing much gratitude and engaging in hilarious conversations. At last, the ethos of the Food Swap had become obvious to me: what we have in abundance diminishes in perceived value; by trading our overflow within our community, we diversify our pantry and multiply our wealth.
In the end, I went home with smoked salmon, canned plums, jelly, blueberry syrup, tomatillos, an onion, oregano, bay leaves, zucchini, new friends, and a heart full of gratitude <3
Needless to say, I look forward to the next Food Swap. Many thanks to everyone that participated and helped make this possible, especially organizer Amanda Yurich.
Yours in pantry-glee joy,
This blog post is also available at Pulp Coast Press