Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Finally, a home for all that zucchini

Organize a neighborhood produce swap and enjoy a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs.

By Donna_Freedman Sep 24, 2010 11:37AM
Angela, who blogs at My Year Without Spending, recently traded a batch of peanut butter cookies for the following items: a couple of avocados, burning sage, a butternut squash, zapote, some saba bananas, cherry and heirloom tomatoes, a strawberry guava, banana bread, some figs and bunches of fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, chives and bay leaves).

Kind of like spinning straw into gold. And this sort of thing goes on all the time thanks to the Hillside Produce Cooperative, a group of neighbors in northeast Los Angeles.

In a post called "Delicious and nutritious free food," Angela outlined several reasons to love this idea:
  • The produce is super-fresh. (Let's hear it for locavores!)
  • The program eliminates waste, especially in an area where trees drip fruit faster than people can eat it.
  • It builds community.
  • Even if you have no place to garden, you can still participate by contributing baked goods.
Sure, some of us live in areas where the growing season is effectively over. But once you've put your garden to bed for the winter, why not start organizing your own neighborhood swap? Click on Hillside's link above for tips on how to do it.
You may even wind up with bonus food: When Angela exclaimed over the fresh figs, the tree owner told her to come over and take as many as she wanted before the squirrels got them.

Think of the health benefits. Think of getting to know your neighbors. Think how varied your menu will be next spring and summer.

That is, unless everyone mostly plants zucchini.

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