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Food Swap builds connections over food

The GRap Food Swappers have reunited to resurrect their food exchange event, and seeks to build community among local food fans in Grand Rapids.
Food Swap in Chicago

Food Swap in Chicago /Wendy Hammond

Underwriting support from:

GR Food Swap and Author Booksigning

Tuesday, September 15, 6 PM

Schuler Books & Music 
2660 28th Street Southeast 
Grand Rapids, MI 49512

Registration is required

Food Swap in Chicago

Food Swap in Chicago /Wendy Hammond

Earlier this year I went to a food blog conference in Chicago called "Eat, Write, Retreat." As part of the conference we participated in a food swap and learned tips for hosting one in our own community. 

This experience reminded me that there used to be a food swap in Grand Rapids that happened quite regularly thanks to the organizing of the GRap Food Swappers. Lisa M. Rose, the founder, has been working on promoting her latest book Midwest Foraging, but agrees that our community benefits from holding food swaps. The GRap Food Swappers are continuing the tradition next week Tuesday. 

The first Food Swap of 2015 is taking place on Tuesday, September 15, at 6 p.m. at Schuler Books. It will be immediately followed by an author talk and book signing by Lisa M. Rose. Registration is required to participate in the Food Swap portion. The public is also welcome to come and observe the swap, then stay for the author presentation.

What's a food swap? Quite simply, it's a place where people can swap homemade or home grown items such as jam, eggs, baked goods and the like. It's a great way to get rid of things you canned way too much of and try new things.

“A food swap is a recurring event where members of a community share homemade, homegrown or foraged foods with each other," according to the Food Swap Network. "Swaps allow direct trades to take place between attendees, e.g., a loaf of bread for a jar of pickles or a half-dozen backyard eggs. Swap events often include a potluck as an immediate food-sharing (and sometimes item-sampling) component. These events are a delicious way to diversify the homemade foods in your own pantry while getting to know members of your local food community.”

Plus, it’s just a whole lot of fun.

It’s really interesting to see what people have made, whether it’s a family recipe that’s been passed down for generations or something new like paleo muffins. Swappers fill out a sheet listing ingredients, allergens and whether it’s vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free. They agree to use the highest standards of safety and cleanliness in food preparation. During the swap time, negotiations are made and everything is bartered. No cash changes hands.

This revival of the food swaps in Grand Rapids on September 15 will be just the start of what we hope once again becomes an ongoing tradition. Future swaps are in the works, and I hope to provide a place for people who love to can, bake, and create to share their knowledge and edibles. Suggestions for educational topics or locations are welcome. Stay updated by following the GR Food Swap Facebook page.

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