What should I take to a Food Swap?
Anything that you have home grown, home baked, preserved, brewed, foraged or reared. We’ve seen batches of buns, loaves of bread, sushi, cakes, granola, vinegars, cordials, dips, a variety of fresh produce from rhubarb to apples, spuds to bunches of sage and of course, jams and chutneys. There’s always a wonderful array of seasonal fresh produce, preserves and baked goods.
How many people usually attend?
We’ve found that swaps can work well with as few as 10 people but most of our swaps have between 15 and 25 swappers.
Who goes to Food Swaps?
Food Swaps are open to anyone with an interest in producing their own food. Food Swapping has a broad appeal and amongst our swappers are allotment holders, young families, students, foragers, bakers, chicken keepers, beekeepers – with experience levels ranging from expert to novice. All are welcomed.
What about health & safety?
Clearly, there are no guarantees with food standards at a food swap. No-one’s kitchen is likely to be certified nut-free or have Food Standards Agency guarantees of cleanliness. But this is a community activity based on trust and judgement. Participants pre-register for a Food Swap and as such the swap operates as a private event. In registering, food swappers agree to a set of very simple terms and conditions which include the acknowledgement that the food being swapped has not been prepared in commercial kitchens subject to Food Standard Agency certification.
Food Swap values?
We’re often asked what a particular item is worth at a Food Swap and the answer is there aren’t any hard and fast rules. It’s useful to think of your produce in terms of packaged swappable units – for example it would be easier for everyone if you brought say five pre-packed bags of six cookies, rather than thirty loose cookies to share out on the day. Have a think about some standard sized items – a loaf of bread for example, or a jar of jam. Swapping tends to be one for one – so imagine swapping whatever you’re bringing for a jar of jam or a loaf, work out what you think would be fair – then package up accordingly!
I’m thinking of setting up a Food Swap how do I find a venue?
You need to find somewhere that’s happy to host your events for free – somewhere that can be relatively private for a couple of hours, where teas and coffees can be served, and that has plenty of table space for people to lay out their produce. We use cafes in York and Ormskirk, a Community Centre cafe in Altrincham, an art gallery in Stoke, and barns in Brampton and Henley. In all cases we’ve been lucky to find venues that are extremely supportive of us – and this means we can keep the swaps free to attend, which we think is important.