So you've harvested more apples than you could possibly eat, but you really want a bunch of tomatoes to put up for the winter. Or all of a sudden you have oodles of cucumbers in your garden, but no peppers. Maybe you want to sell your garden surplus to other local folks, but don't have a way to get the word out. A new online community, Veggie Trader, could help you to make all of the local garden connections you need this summer.
"We believe Veggie Trader is all about community. It's about finding local food. It's about strengthening local economies. And it's about getting to know your neighbors."
What a great idea! The local food movement is growing by leaps and bounds, and connecting with other foodies and farmers in your area will help to build a more sustainable food system neighborhood by neighborhood. Locally grown food tends to be fresher, cheaper, and tastier than the produce that goes from the farm to a broker/packer to a distributor to a store and then finally (thousands of miles later) to your house.
"Using Veggie Trader is free and easy. It works like classified advertising. You post a listing describing the excess produce you have and what you'd like in return, and then you wait for a response... Or, if you're looking for local produce, you simply enter your zipcode and see what your neighbors have available. You can also post specific produce you’re looking for in our Wanted section and see which of your neighbors answers your request."
Veggie Trader is still kind of new, so it hasn't built up to a critical mass yet, but you can change that by signing up and telling all of your local gardeners about it, so your local network starts to grow. There are categories for veggies, fruits, nuts, herbs, seeds & plant starts, plus a listing page for produce wanted and another for other miscellaneous local items. You can also upload pictures of your produce if you wish, to give others a view of your goods. (Meat, dairy and eggs are not allowed to be listed due to food regulation and licensing requirements.)
If you belong to an organization such as a gardening club, a church, business, or neighborhood association, you can easily find the listings made by other members of your group if all of you tag your listings with the group name. If you belong to a charitable organization, there's a special category for posting your needs or listing surplus that you've produced.
Veggie Trader is an idea that I've heard many people discuss doing, but never pursue and develop, so I really think the concept will gain traction and be a powerful resource for both gardeners and foodies alike. Sign up for Veggie Trader today and start to grow your local food network!