By Joey Marie Soto
On May 22 a group of us got together to organize the first West Side Produce Exchange. The location of the site was right here in Venice, at the home of Carly Eiseman.
The idea was borrowed from the Hillside Produce Cooperative which holds a free neighborhood monthly exchange of all the fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers that its members grow in their yards and don’t want or won’t use themselves. “Then no food is wasted and we all get a variety of fresh local produce to eat for free,” says Hynden Walch, who organized their co-op.
“My garden time had a greater purpose. I was harvesting to participate in this great event. So I picked collard greens, Swiss chard, kale, some parsley and some oranges. Loaded it up on my bike and traveled the super close distance of two blocks away and dropped off my contribution. Then, as if angels were in charge, a box was delivered to me! Got home from work with a box of veggies waiting at my doorstep.”
Meanwhile, back in Venice, Catherine Vargas participated by sharing her surplus of beets. She is excited to help in person this weekend at the Hillside Exchange so she can learn from the pros. “Happy with the first event in the Westside Exchange. I am excited to watch this grow. We had 9 participants and next month we hope to have more.”
Naomi Curland the woman in charge of organizing the day felt really good about how it all worked out. “We had TONS of delicious fresh organic produce. By 1:30, each bag was filled to the brim with Meyer lemons, oranges, beets, chard, collards, kale, salad greens, arugula, celery, rosemary, tarragon, basil, parsley, and garlic chives. What a bounty! A huge thank you to our bagging volunteers Steve and Sylvia, and to our wonderful host Carly.”
So the second or third Saturday of every month we will be hosting this exchange at different homes in the West Side. Do you have veggies or a fruit tree? Why not get involved? It is true that money is tight and community is more important than ever. This is one option to off set the need to travel to the market, spend money and use fossil fuels to get your veggies on.
Contact Naomi at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in sharing your surplus.